IDIOTEQ brings together various examples of independent music art that we believe should have a place in history. From unique, sophisticated, technical craft, to more straight-forward works that all provide a unique insight into DIY scenes of all kinds. With introspective lyrics and ferocious sound, Canadian emoviolence / screamo act COMMUOVERE is finding unique ways to join our catalogue of featured artists and it is my pleasure to give you our latest interview, explaining all the details behind their band, approach to writing, non-music principles and the state of punk culture in Québec.
COMMUOVERE released their debut EP ‘To love, to touch, to lose, to tears.’ in May 2015. Their latest record, “Du besoin de disparaître de soi”, was revealed in February 2017. It battles with the idea of a paradoxical temptation to disappear, in order to be able to continue living. We touched on that subject in the following interview that reveals passionate souls keen to leave their mark in the world of extreme art.
COMMUOVERE were a part of the recent mega-project in memory of influential screamo act JEROMES DREAM, and are about to kick off their U.S. tour with THE ULTIMATE SCREAMO BAND. See the details of the trek below.
Hey guys! Thanks a lot for taking some time with us! It’s a pleasure! What’s up? How are you? How’s Canada doing this fine Spring?
Hey there! Thanks to you for this, we appreciate so much that you take the time to interview us!! We’re doing great, we’re slowly recovering from the winter here. It’s been very cold and gray outside, but I guess that seasonal depression is great for inspiration!
Ha, no doubt! Ok, so I believe we’re forced to start off with a boring, cliché warm up questions, so let’s get it over with ;) Who are you, where do you come from and what bands have you been in before COMMUOVERE?
Well, both J-C and Gabriel come from Quebec city itself, they were in LONELY ANIMALS, a 4-pieces screamo band that was sadly split a few years ago.. I (Marie) had never been in a band of the genre myself, I had only played in jazz bands and orchestras before. When I moved to Quebec and met those incredible human beings, I joined COMMUOVERE and our first jam session was a revelation. I met them about a year and a half after J-C and Gabriel released the first EP (Marie).
How did you get hooked on Italian? Why ‘COMMUOVERE’?
We wanted a name that was only one-word long, and that had a powerful meaning. The word itself has no direct translation in French or English, but we could say it’s the feeling you get when someone . That is also why our first release is called to love, to touch, to lose, to tears.
What’s the key to starting a band and not playing a live show in 2 years time? How come you remained inactive in the live performance field for such a long time? What’s the secret?
Back then, J-C and Gabriel had just gotten out of LONELY ANIMALS, and it was kind of a rough time. They decided to form COMMUOVERE in order to keep playing music, but not necessarily as something that could lead to live performances or such thing. After I joined them, we started writing together and I guess we just got along so much that we simply took the opportunity to take our music a step further. We never expected to get out of the basement that is our jam space, but now that it’s done we’re very excited with all of those new horizons opening to us!
How was that first gig?
Completely insane, but everything went perfectly. We were playing in the jam space of Vergogne with LA LUNA (Toronto). I think playing with such nice people pushed us to pursue live performances. It was very emotionally intense, too. There was plenty of tears and screams for everyone who was there I think.
Photo by Catherine Bélanger
Any plans to play more shows in the coming months?
Absolutely! We had a nice time on March 25 here in Quebec with SCAVENGERS (from NYC), ARGUMENT and FINAL BÂTON (both from Montreal). We’ll also be playing in Montreal on April 13 and in Toronto on April 15. We’d like to say thanks to La Luna for the whole venue in Toronto, we won’t be playing with them, sadly, but the lineup is so nice: FOXMOULDER, RESPIRE and FRAERA. We’re very excited to announce that we will also be touring in the USA in June, with THE ULTIMATE SCREAMO BAND from Montreal. A lot is yet to come!!
Are you a feminist band? Can we call you that?
Absolutely. We are also all vegan, and many other things, but mostly we’re a DIY band, for a more inclusive scene, as well as animal liberation.
Are there a lot of female musicians engaged in DIY music in Québec?
Not that much, but I would say that there are a few. However, we sincerely hope there will be more in the years to come.
Speaking of your local grounds, how would you describe your local independent music scene?
Well, there is an independent scene, but we could say that a strong majority of the people who are part of it are older. We hope that our involvement in the DIY ethics will help to bring millennials further in the independent scene. We’re in our way shaking the grounds of a mostly conservative city.
Photo by Blaire Norton
Any cool bands, labels, zines or venues you’d like to share while we’re at it?
Well first of all, Thanks to Vergogne and LA LUNA for this first show! The best shows I’ve ever been to in Quebec City were in small jam spaces or apartments, but there are also nice venues such as Le Sous-Sol du Cercle, le Scanner-Bistro, le Knock-Out (also a music store)… Here in Quebec there are two amazing people calling themselves ‘’Gaspacho’’ who help organizing events in the countercultural scene (They organized our first show). Vanessa from LA LUNA made our April 15th show at D-Beatstro possible, a nice vegan café-bistro of Toronto.
For labels, I guess we’ll start with Gabriel’s label called LE BLAST Records, which is a DIY cassettes label releasing bands that are in between the more typical “screamo” sound and the more aggressive sounding of what is nowadays called “emoviolence”. We’d also like to share a few great DIY labels that helped us out releasing our second release which is a 5-way split featuring bands from Mexico (TE LLORARÍA UN PUTO RÍO), USA (FEI LUNG), Serbia (EVA RAS) and Austria (UNABLE TO FULLY EMBRACE THIS HAPPINESS). So a special thanks goes to: Parking Lot Records (USA), The Burden of Reflecting Records (Austria), Confusion Specialist Records (Serbia), Adorno Records (UK), Her Tapes (Mexico) and God Athletics (Mexico). We might also get some help, for the physical release of our latest EP, from these great labels held by people that put so much dedication and passion in their work: Home Poet Records (USA), Adorno Records (UK), Emocat Records (Canada) and Persevera Producciones diy (Brazil).
There are so many beautiful people, venues, labels that it’s just impossible to mention everyone here!!
Photo by Catherine Bélanger
Alright, so finally, back to the band, let’s share some details on your new record, “The need to disappear” and talk about its lyrical content. What inspires you to pick up the pen instantly?
We mostly write about human emotions and feelings, so our lyrics are often very raw. We forge our lyrical contents out of the urge to write about an event, a person or a feeling that disturbed our thoughts. I (Marie) usually walk in the empty streets at the early hours of the morning when anxiety gets too arsh on me, and that helps organize my thoughts. I think for me ’’consommer l’absence’’ is really about the feeling of being alone in the deserted streets, trying to manage everything that’s going on in my brain.
As for myself (Gabriel), the whole idea behind this EP was to talk about the contemporary need that most of us have to deal with: the paradoxical need to disappear in order to be able to get through a difficult time; in order to keep living. The last song of the EP, “The temptation to exist” (which refer to a book written by Emil Cioran), was written while I was in Europe this summer; traveling and discovering the world alongside that incredible person that I might never see again. As for most of my lyrics (basically every song except “Consuming the absence” which was written by Marie), it can be seen as an “open window” on a fragment of my life, on memories and feelings oscillating in between dream and/or reality.
So, generally speaking, what messages are you trying to convey? What values do your lyrics reveal?
I believe we are mostly trying to understand the ways that life affects us. Maybe people will relate to what we write about, maybe not. It’s more about letting out something insidious. Sadly, we haven’t written any politically-involved content yet, but we believe that emotions and feelings can be a stance of some sort, too. We are told from our young age to stop crying, to stop showing emotions in public. We think that reclaiming those emotions and bringing them to the collective sphere is as important as our concrete political actions.
Photo by Blaire Norton
“Why Does Canada Have So Many Great Screamo Bands?” was one of the first Google Search Results while searching for ‘COMMUOVERE Quebec screamo’. Can you answer the question raised by the staff of Arena.com?
Humm, We don’t know for sure, Canada is a pretty vast country to appropriate everyone’s ideas in ours I would say. For me (Marie), I would say that it probably has to do with the seasonal depression, because here winter and cloudy days last forever, and the urge to express our thoughts and our feelings into something positive. Also, if we look on the political situation of Quebec City, I should say that it is very conservative, hooked on traditional values and, demographically speaking, at an average of older people. I’d say that the province is very repressive of ‘’leftists’’, or just people who do not share the ideas of the mass. So for me (Marie), it is also a way to counter the repression of the state, in its most insidious ways it gets in our minds.
Ok, thanks so much for your time and honest thoughts! Cheers from Poland!