Afew years ago, many people in the territory (and beyond) were introduced to one of the Yukon’s only Francophone bands: Soir de Semaine. Well known for their crazy theatrical performances, the band members — Alain DesRochers on bass and voice, Marie-Maude Allard on accordion, voice and flute, Cory Chouinard and Marc Paradis on percussion and Pascal St-Laurent on voice and guitar — painted their faces on stage like KISS. They played a lot of events and festivals, and got the crowds dancing.
One of the last times they played locally was at the Bunker in June 2009. Many people in Whitehorse remember the energy of this amazing performance.
Thankfully, Soir de Semaine is back with a fresh sound and a few new songs. On Oct. 8, the band will be back on stage for its CD release party and in mid-October, they will be back in studio to record their second (real) album after Toi du Monde.
“This break period was essential for every member of Soir de Semaine,” says Pascal St-Laurent, lead singer of the band. “It was the time to take some distance [from] the music we had been working on for two years. [For] four months, I totally stopped playing Soir de Semaine’s music, and it was beneficial. I never really had the time to analyze what we were doing because we were always busy from one show to another.”
Though it was time off for the band, each member got a lot of things done during this period. St-Laurent explored new kinds of music and Alain DesRochers, the bass player, did a solo album.
The members of the band also took advantage of this time to develop new skills: “I went to see other bands playing, I got new inspiration,” says St-Laurent. “This October, we’ll be back in studio for the recording of the next album and I’m really looking forward to experimenting with the lead guitar; I don’t really want to play guitar solos because it’s not my thing, but at least I want get better with a few techniques.
“For instance, I’ve been working a lot with ska, this is something I wanted to be better at. Marie-Maude developed some new skills with the accordion, Alain got new material; he has a lot of new compositions, and we’ll probably use a few for the October show.”
For the next album, the band will work on new rhythms, featuring Cory Chouinard and Marc Paradis: “I really know what I want to do with the percussion, but I don’t have the ability to do it myself,” says St-Laurent,”so I [made] special requests to Cory; he also composed a few songs of his own.”
We can expect to be surprised by their comeback on stage. Soir de Semaine will feature old songs never before performed for an audience, and also unfinished songs.
“I have compositions that I know I will never be able to get done for Oct. 8, but we’re going to play [them] anyway, we just want to see how it sounds,” St-Laurent says.
The music of Soir de Semaine is changing, but the lyrics stay French and, so far, St-Laurent feels there is no reason for the band to change.
“I feel deeply Francophone and I don’t feel like I should try to write lyrics in another language, whatever the language could be. But I don’t say I’ll never do it, because it would be a good challenge and we’re probably ready for it.”
Soir de Semaine are used to being good crowd entertainers, and they are looking to develop a new kind of mise en scène onstage.
“We have an idea, but it’s hard to say if it’s going to work right now: we still want to have face-painting and costumes, but we’re looking see if it’s possible to do an evolution of our style directly onstage,” says St-Laurent. “It’s going to be surprise for us and for you.”
Soir de Semaine’s CD release show is going to be a huge fundraising party. “We’re going to try different musical experiences at the event, and maybe this music is going to be part of the next album,” says St-Laurent. Catch them Friday, Oct. 8 at 10 p.m. at Foxy’s, $10 at the door. Pay another $10 to reserve a copy of the new album they’ll record at the end of October.