Just after she finished up her last show at SXSW (as part of the Planet Quebec event), I caught up with Montreal based singer/songwriter Ariane Moffatt to talk about her latest bilingual album MA, the festival, Australia and more...
Welcome to Texas!
You were just saying you just finished up your last show here at SXSW. How does it feel to be done with the madness?
It’s a mix of being exhausted and relief. We did 4 shows in 3 days, and we lived with a lot of intensity. But everything went really well so I’m fulfilled and happy.
Are you going home now for a quick nap?
Yeah just a quick nap back home in Montreal and then we’re off again! But tonight I’m going to go and see some shows.
Have you actually had a chance to see anything so far?
Yeah, I’ve seen things from the hip hop scene all the way to the Gary Clarke sort of Texan roots. I went to see Fiona Apple’s big show (at Stubb’s), too.
What did you think of her set?
I was disappointed, I didn’t like the show, especially after waiting two and a half hours to get in. It’s OK though, sometimes it happens. I though her band was quite ordinary and the sound was pretty crap.
Well I’m glad the shows have gone well for you! Now of course you’re here to promote your new record MA, so let’s talk about that…
Yeah it’s called MA which is a play on my own name and it’s a word that is also a Japanese concept, that talks about the gaps between things, the silence between two notes in music. I discovered it in a magazine and was really attracted to it. It’s also a syllable that has no English or French roots, because my record is bilingual. It’s my fourth record but only my first with English songs on it.
I live in an area of Montreal where English, French and many other culture communities live. So the record is a picture of this reality.
Has that changed the way you approach your live show?
Well, you know it changes the way I promote my career, so that’s why I’m here (at SXSW). If I just had a French record maybe I wouldn’t be here or going to Canadian Music Week (in Toronto). So that’s a new path for me. Apart from that, I play both languages in concert, and I’m super happy that people get into the music. It’s not a question of language; they get touched by the music even if they don’t necessarily understand the lyrics.
Have you been performing solo or with a full band here?
Totally with a five piece band, I brought everybody with me. We’re doing a mix of electric and acoustic, so we need a lot of people.
Is it true that you played most of instruments on the record?
Yes, I recorded the album mainly by myself. I started by just wanting to push my skills on the production and it ended up that I just pushed it alone. And when I wanted to work with other producers, my good friend who I usually work with said to keep going and push it and hire an engineer. So that’s how it happened. It wasn’t planned like that, but it’s how it ended up, and I’m glad it did. Now if I want to produce other artists some day, I’ve tested it on myself first.
What does the rest of the year hold for you? Are you going to be touring a lot?
Yeah, the album just came out not even a month ago. It’s going to come out in France at the end of May. I’ll be touring around Canada and my home Quebec, so I’m going to move a lot in the next year or so.
Have you made it to Australia yet?
Not yet, no. I know a lot of people who think that the vibe in Montreal and the vibes in Sydney and Australia in general are pretty close. The way or being laid back, open, friendly, having a good time… so I wish I could go. I know there’s a market for female singers and songwriters down there, so invite me and I’ll be there!
Well hopefully we can get you down there… in the meantime how can we get your record?
It’s on iTunes all over the world, because we’ve got a digital distribution deal, but there’s no specific Australian release plans as of yet. I’m open to that!