This Montreal-based art-pop duo is straight outta your retro fantasies.
By Randi Bergman
On first listen, it’s hard not to confuse the She-Devils with the soundtrack of a sixties surfer flick. On first look, they’re straight outta David Lynch (just watch their latest video for proof). The Montreal-based duo is a little yé-yé, a little psychedelic garage rock, and if we haven’t already made it clear: a combination of a lot of great things (which makes complete sense considering their sound is based solely on sampling). Audrey Ann Boucher and Kyle Jukka have been making music together since 2014, and have built a fan base the old fashioned way–through raucous live shows, rather than posting music online. Next month, they’ll finally release their self-titled debut album, She-Devils. Meanwhile, we caught up to talk all things that came before.
What roles do you two play when you come up with music… is one of you the taskmaster/leader, for example? Or is it totally organic?
Audrey: It’s a 4-step process usually: Kyle makes a simple loop, then gives it to me if I like it I’ll write a song with it and I show it to him and then he adds layers on top and finally we go over it together and remove or change some things. We complete each other’s work.
How did you make the choice to originally not release any music? And what changed that?
Audrey: It wasn’t a choice. I think it’s pretty natural for bands to perform their songs before putting music online. It’s very rewarding in my experience, to play in front of people first. You end up building something much more real.
You guys have a great aesthetic. How would you describe it? Do you put much thought into it?
Kyle: I use it to kind of guide my explorations. I’ll mess with sounds but ultimately want to be able to do my thing and come out with something that’s going to serve the vision of the band. At the same time I don’t want to think too hard about what the band’s aesthetic is cause I want it to be fun not try too hard to be anything. I like when artists have a strong identity but also when they can evade the process of becoming caricatures of themselves, stay slippery and hard to hold on to.
Audrey: For me it’s a conglomeration of everything I have ever been obsessed with–music, cartoons, movies, odors, colors, etc. I just absorb a lot and it stays with me a long time before I can let it out. I see my obsessions as part of my being and they end up bleeding into each other, into me. This process is extremely natural for me, I don’t put thought into it, I can only express this in hindsight.
We love the video for “Come” and how intentionally low budge yet retro it looks. What was the concept?
Audrey: We were actually broke and had no budget so it was intentional in that sense, not in the sense that we were trying to aestheticize poverty. We basically removed everything from my bedroom and filled it with all the coolest things we would find for dirt-cheap. We just like music videos and felt very compelled to make one ourselves.
What are you influences? Musical or otherwise…
Kyle: I love a lot of music that’s really about appreciation of sound. I like when I can just hear really far into something and just kind of let my senses absorb it, see its spirit, or use it to travel to new places in my mind. Hip Hop producers like Madlib, J Dilla, 9th Wonder and Pete Rock have had a huge influence on my creative attitudes. I love stuff like Antonio Carlos Jobim for its incredibly smooth and flowing rhythms and vivid landscape portraiture. I love Dettinger and Luomo for its unique perspective on sound and texture. I love the music of Bo Diddley because it’s cool as fuck. I love Lee Perry and King Tubby. I love a lot of U.K. bands like Spaceman 3 and My Bloody Valentine for turning the guitar into an impressionistic tool of infinite sensuality. The Smiths for their promise of beauty in the face of despair. And so so much more.
Audrey : With music I’m really into big personalities and big voices: Serge Gainsbourg, Brigitte Bardot, Jim Morrison, Elvis, Iggy Pop (to only name a few). I love a singer who only sings! I love clear vocals and clear, simple words. I also love T-Rex for their playful whimsy and imagination—music that makes me move to its vibrations.
With art and movies I love someone who can create a big universe that transcends the craft itself: John Waters, Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, Quentin Tarantino. It’s almost like they are their own planets, each with different fascinating environments. I really admire that in an artist.