Since bursting onto the scene in 2007 with the release of Télé Télé, the Acadian, Montreal-based duo Gabriel Louis Bernard Malenfant and Jacques Alphonse Doucet of Radio Radio have continued to impress critics and fans alike with their signature blend of electro hip-hop – and they have the accolades to prove it, including the Independent Music Award for Rap/Hip Hop Album, short-listed for a Polaris Prize and a Félix for Hip-Hop Album of the Year. Georgie recently caught up with Malenfant to get the scoop on the upcoming release of Radio Radio’s first-ever English album and the motivation behind it.
G—Can you give us any details about the new album, like the title, release date, or direction?
Gabriel Malenfant—No title yet. We usually put out albums every two years in the spring, around March. This album is lined up to drop around the same time. In terms of direction, we let it flow as usual. The idea is to stay sensitive, open and inspired all the time so that once you start writing and get to the studio, you’ve got shit to say and a universe to share. We were pretty gung ho on doing this first English album so it just came out without forcing it. As usual, we like our stuff to be upbeat and to have many layers to dissect if need be, but overall to be something that feels good on the inside. All our albums live by the motto ”take heavier stuff lightly and lighter stuff much more seriously”.
G—Sonically, does this album have a different sound that your previous records?
GM—Our first four albums were made by one of the founders of the group Alexandre Bilodeau, a.k.a. Nom de Plume, a.k.a Arthur Comeau. He is no long working with us, so we decided to work with a couple of young producers from Montréal, which is buzzing with talent right now, with guys like Kaytranada. We’re working with Shash’u, who just signed with Fools Gold ¬¬– which is A-Trak’s, Brooklyn-based label. His sound is hard funk electro. We’re also working with J.u.D., who put out a great album last year called St.Flower – it had a spring in electro space type of vibe… a new-agey sound, which I like. And, overseeing the project as producer, is Alex McMahon, a hip cat with tons of experience working with artists in Quebec, like Ariane Moffatt and Alex Nevsky. We also collaborated with Champion on a track called ”I’m a ho”.
G—Your upcoming release will be your first English album release. What motivated your decision to release an English album?
GM—For us, it wasn’t very complicated. We’ve been in Eastern Canada, where we’ve lived, worked and dated (and frenched) English people. On top of that, we’re also raised on American culture, since we never really identified with Quebec culture and much of what was presented as French culture in the media. We associated more with Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and the Cosby Show than much of what was being showed on Radio Canada.
G—How do you think the Francophone fan base will feel about the new direction?
GM—I think it will be pretty casual. It’s something you see more and more I guess. Last year, Lisa Leblanc – a French-Acadian musician – became Quebec’s sweetheart with her hit ”Ma vie c’est de la marde”, and she just put out an English EP which was very well received. And Coeur de Pirate, a Quebec and French sensation, is also doing the same thing, so I don’t think this is anything new. There are always some insecure purists out there that will bad trip, but’s that okay – they were bad tripping before we got here anyway.
G—We recently interviewed French artist, Yelle, and talked about the possibility of her releasing an English record. She was very resistant to the idea even though it seems to be a struggle for Francophone artists to break through to English speaking audiences. Was it a hard decision to make or do you think it is the natural progression for the band?
GM—It was very natural for us. We’ve been hanging-out with English people for about 250 years. In Moncton, the Acadians there learn to speak English by proximity before going to kindergarten, so yes, very natural. It wasn’t forced for us. It just came out and it came out good.
G—Can you give us some final thoughts that sum up your upcoming record release and the band’s perspective on being a Canadian music group?
GM—We’re just super stoked to be putting it out and to be working with amazing talent from Montreal. We have new wind in our sails and it feels great. We can’t wait to tour it and the spread the love. And being in Canada, it’ll be great to connect with them on this. other level, but the lets face it – the groove is the main thing we’re serving and that we will keep sharing like we always do!
Named for the Toronto area they grew up in, The Beaches are a far cry from a placid day on the lake. Led by singer/bassist Jordan Miller—with her sister and guitarist Kylie Miller, guitarist/keyboardist Leandra Earl and drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel—the Canadian four-piece burst out of Toronto with their 2018 debut, Late Show, and have since built up an aura of dissident swagger. Taking home this year’s Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, the all-fem rock quartet is bringing grunge, gloss, and 70s glamour to a predominantly male genre. Georgie caught up with Leandra to talk about the band’s latest music video, taking charge of their music, and three simple ways to keep women in the industry. G—Did you grow up together in Toronto? LE—Yeah, I met the girls in high school. Jordan and Kylie are sisters, so they’ve known each other a bit longer, but they grew up with Eliza in Toronto’s Beaches area. G—What kind of music were you listening to at that time? LE—We grew up listening to all of the music our parents listened to. That definitely influenced us while writing our debut album since we drew from a lot of the 70’s music that our
Tyler Shaw is going through a renaissance. After exploding onto the scene and the charts in 2012 with his hit single “Kiss Goodnight” and a wildly successful debut album that followed, it’s hard to imagine what the Canadian pop singer could possibly need to reinvent. But after two years of writing and exploring, Shaw has taken the reigns on developing a new album and a new sound that’s better in tune with his growth as an artist. Just before the release of his new single “With You”, Georgie caught up with Shaw over the phone to talk about his upcoming album, mental health, and the feelings he’s harnessed into a musical renewal. G— What were some of the biggest differences for you between making the upcoming album and making Yesterday? TS—Yesterday was more so “I’m a new artist, I don’t really know what I want to do. This sounds cool on my voice, so does this.” With this album on the other hand, I know what I want. I know what melodies I want to go to and what I want to talk about. [Yesterday] came out in 2015, and ever since then, I mean, you go through life experiences
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while