On March 11, at the Old Fire Hall, the local francophone band Soir de Semaine will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of their very first gig.
“We played at Steve’s music store,” Marie-Maude Allard says. “The place was packed and all we had was two original songs and a few covers.”
Actually, Soir de Semaine started as a road trip. Pascal St-Laurent and Marie-Maude Allard moved to the Yukon just a few days apart in 2003. They hopped in a van to wander further north to Alaska, with an accordion and a guitar tagging along.
“We started jamming and playing covers of our favourite songs, just for fun,” Allard says.
Once back in Whitehorse, bass player Alain Desrochers started playing with them and they began writing their own songs.
Desrochers happened to record the group as they worked on one of Soir de Semaine’s very first songs, and St-Laurent made the most out of that garage recording by sending it to festivals. They ended up with four gigs lined up for the summer of 2004: Watson Lake, Farago, Atlin, and St-Jean Baptiste celebrations in Whitehorse.
“That’s when we realised we needed to write material,” Desrochers laughs. “We only had about two songs.”
And so they did, and things took off from there. They played as an acoustic trio for about a year before Corey Chouinard joined the band on percussions, and Marc Paradis on drums.
“Gigs just kept coming,” Allard says. “We were invited to play in Saskatchewan in 2005 and stepped into a studio for the first time in 2007 with Bob Hamilton and Jim Holland.
“Musically, we started out as acoustic folk, and we’ve evolved towards ska-reggae. The band’s musical influences vary from La Rue Kétanou, Tryo, and Jean Leloup, to Metallica and Tool.”
The mix of musical influences and languages are part of the success of Soir de Semaine, but Desrochers attributes it more to their stage presence.
“What really differentiates us is our energy on stage,” says Desrochers. “We don’t play very often, so when we do, we make an event out of it. When people come out to see Soir de Semaine, they don’t only come to see us, they also know it’ll be a community gathering and a great party.”
Soir de Semaine has put together a special show for their 10th anniversary. “There will be old songs, new songs, surprises and lots of dancing,” Allard says. The show is a Tuesday night because their very first recording was of a song called “Un Mardi Soir” and they’ve jammed every single Tuesday night for 10 years.
“Discipline is important to us,” Allard says. “As we started having kids, it would’ve been easy to start missing band practices, but we always made it a priority to get together and keep writing and playing.”
In no particular order, Soir de Semaine’s future projects include, recording an album for kids, playing naked on stage, and touring internationally.
“Back in 2006, we used to joke about how we needed to get ready to play at the 2010 Olympics,” Desrochers says. “And it happened. Now we joke about touring the world, but who knows?”
Soir de Semaine will play at The Old Fire Hall on Tuesday, March 11, at 7:30 p.m.