Montreal-based electronic duo Essaie pas is comprised of Marie Davidson and Pierre Guerineau. Both are respected musicians in their own right – Marie having released two acclaimed solo records, with Pierre being best known for production work on underground Canandian musicians such as Dirty Beaches and Femminelli.
Essaie pas was born on a hot summer night in 2010, releasing some ultra-limited singles which culminated in their debut LP, Nuit de noce (Teenage Menopause Records) in 2013. The mix of drawling guitars, français mumbles, and minimal electronics caught the ear of DFA Records, who booked the pair to open for Factory Floor on their first North American tour.
The origin story of Demain est une autre nuit begins when the band returned from their first European tour to find that their practice space and studio, La Brique, had fallen victim to the city’s rapid gentrification and closed permanently. Conflicts with their landlord had also left them without an apartment, leading them to return to Montreal in January without many prospects. They lucked into a temporary practice space during off-hours at the offices of Le Filles Electriques, an independent music fesitval promoter.
This space soon became Pierre’s new studio, and Marie’s new home. The many corridors of the building also provided a way for Marie to work out in the frigid Montreal winters, running “everywhere possible, listening to techno, acid, and italo disco, being mutually inspired by the space and the sounds.” About eight months later, Demain est une autre nuit (“tomorrow is another night”) was born.
“This environment influenced our music,” says Pierre, “The sounds are more clear and open, the production has more depth, on a full frequency range.” Their living conditions on tour were another major influence, “Staying at different people’s places around for world for a whole year accentuates the feeling of being a stranger wherever you go, but also creates a feeling of being part of an international community, opposed to a scene that exists only in one city.”
Their musical language is vibrant and varied – comparisons range from Film Soundtracks, Electronic Body Music, Disco, and Minimal Techno, with sensually-delivered lyrics exploring the themes of fantasies, obsessions, and the feeling of “The Void”. Marie explains, “The title was decided upon one morning when they went to bed.”
Pierre adds, “Night is a place of freedom, a place where fantasies and obsessions are not tied by moral constraints. It’s also a time where the feeling of loneliness is stronger and when emotions and memories arise, whether you are facing it or running away from it. I think the tension and sense of urgency on the record comes from that dichotomy.”
Facing The Music is an excellent demonstration of this dichotomy – its throbbing electronic percussion and sawmill synths racing towards a seemingly-inevitable climax, only to disintegrate in an instant. Similar in tone, Retox begins with an air-raid siren that explodes into electronic pulses and spiraling handclaps, with Pierre’s solemnly spoken vocals countering Marie’s sensual cadence.[vimeo 152355833 w=620&h=300]
The band’s first composition, Carcajou appears here for the third time in an entirely different incarnation – Marie’s vocals alternately yearn and taunt, diving into and out of layers of drum machines and analog synthesizers.
Closing track La Chute is the band at their most Angelo Badalamenti, with mournful organ and wheezing gasps giving way to what sounds like gentle applause, but in actuality is the last frames being fed through a film projector.
Essaie Pas will be supported by Normal Echo aka Dawid Szczesny, a Poland born artist who lives in Berlin. He already released albums on Milla Plateaux and Porter Records, and in 2015 his until now most accessible work Accidental Forever has been released by Mansions and Millions.
Presented by Digital in Berlin. Check out our Facebook page to win tickets.
Kometenmelodien w/ Essaie Pas + Normal Echo
Thursday, 19th May 2016 | 20:00 CET
Kantine am Berghain | Am Wriezener Bahnhof | 10243 Berlin/Friedrichshain