She-Devils Couldn't Use the Samples That Got Them Signed So They Made Their Own
Published May 18, 2017On last year's self-released, self-titled debut EP, Montreal duo She-Devils fastidiously recreated the sounds of the '60s, building tracks with Kyle Jukka's warped palette of samples from the era, with Audrey Ann Boucher's vocals on top.
But after signing to Arbutus and Secretly Canadian for their debut album, the pair knew that a larger platform meant no more samples, or else run the risk of pricey clearance issues.
So, as is their wont, they decided to do it themselves. With minimal outside assistance, Jukka used a small army of instruments to build a series of new loops, which were then sent to Boucher. The resulting LP, She-Devils, is out May 19.
The change was "at first daunting, but it ended up being really cool," Jukka tells Exclaim! "It seems like an essential part of the growth of how we make music."
With pre-existing samples no longer a possibility, Jukka drew inspiration from fabled '60s pop producer Joe Meek. "[Meek] had this obsession with sound as this thing that transports you. He's really into outer space and space noises in the music, and this very unique vision of what a musical producer was. For that reason, he really stands out as a producer from that era."
After assembling the new loops, Jukka sent them to Boucher, who used them as a springboard to develop her lyrics. "Kyle gives me some samples and I'll put one on, let it repeat for a long time, and just let my instinct guide me. It happens as I'm singing," says Boucher. "I don't see it as poetry as much as just a raw expression of my feelings at the moment. Cathartic, usually."
Lyrically, it's clear that there was one topic Boucher needed to express: Love. "At the time, I was going through breakups and new love and uncertainty about romance. That was definitely really on my mind, and it was causing a lot of good and bad feelings that I just had to channel into music or else I don't know what would have happened to me," she says.
Rifling through decisive seduction, affection, indecision and heartache, She-Devils offers a nuanced portrayal on the mess of feelings that love, lust and romance bring, with no attempt to shoehorn in a concise narrative.
This, Boucher says, is a reflection on the nature of her feelings. "I think it was a pretty chaotic time," she says. "It feels like a lot of the time, everything happens at once instead of things taking time to develop, and sometimes you bury feelings and then they come out at random times. It's not exactly linear, either. I think I embraced the chaos of emotions."