The story goes that vocalist Audrey Ann Boucher and noisemaker Kyle Jukka met around four years ago while living in a rehearsal space in the Mile-Ex neighbourhood of Montreal.
Kyle says, “People ask us how we got together but it just happened so naturally over time.” What happened over time is that Audrey’s hypnotic and commanding vocals collided with Kyle’s obsession for looping sounds. Together they created a properly DIY world of deconstructed sounds, warping vintage riffs with added electronic touches, where Audrey creates the band’s artwork and they direct their own music videos.
She-Devils are basically the freaky kids from high school who blossomed into the cool band you wish you were in.
With their self titled debut album out now on Secretly Canadian, we caught up with the Montreal art pop duo during the Berlin stop of their first Euro tour.
What was your high school experience like?
Audrey: I was kind of an outcast. I went to this school where there’s this International Programme, so it was like a normal high school but then the International Programme was for gifted kids or whatever, but not gifted enough to go to private school, or rich enough anyway. Everyone was really normal and I befriended this one other girl who was also weird and left out and then together we got even weirder. I remember I had a Chelsea cut when I was 13 and she had a mohawk and everyone was like urgh. It wasn’t very fun, it was lonely and troubled, but you know what they say about popular kids in high school – they don’t end up being very cool when they grow up! I don’t really like thinking about high school.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
Kyle: Maybe the precambrian era, pre-humans with dinosaurs. Even the idea of being ripped apart by dinosaurs, the reality seems tough to bare but at the same time there’s something comfy about it – it’s a nice earthy death.
Do you believe in magic?
A: Yes! Maybe not the one you see in the movies but I do believe in visualising things and putting intention out in the world and having it happen and you can control energy with negative positive things. I think that kind of magic exists for sure.
Is the glass half full or half empty?
K: I always thought that if you’re drinking it then it’s half empty but if you’re filling it up it’s half full, but that’s completely avoiding the question.
Is celebrity culture going to destroy us all?
A: It would be easy to say ‘yes’ but that gives it more power. Saying that Kim Kardashian or whatever matters is giving her the platform. I don’t think it’s all bad but it’s pretty bad but we can also avoid it.
K: It’s grotesque. It’ll just be another blemish on history.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
K: One time Audrey told me that if I want more than what I have, then I need to learn how to be grateful for what I do have. I really took that in and it immediately became a part of how I exist. It just seemed so crucial and no matter how much or little you have, even if you were homeless and you only had five cent then having that attitude is still important.
What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
K: One time in London after a show I bought some LSD off of a supposed Swiss Italian tractor mechanic and it was the worst acid I’ve ever taken. It got me so fucked up and it felt really broken. I remember lying in my friends bed all night long, my heart was racing and I felt paralysed. I thought I was for sure a gonner.
A: I remember you called me and then when we talked about it later you didn’t remember.
K: I remember coming out of it in the morning and I couldn’t use my fingers, I was trying to roll a cigarette. It was literally the most fucked up I’ve ever been but I made it out alive.
You know what they say about popular kids in high school – they don’t end up being very cool when they grow up!
Have you ever broken the law?
A: All the time.
K: Yes. I should probably grow out of shoplifting. I’m definitely more discrete now, when I was 20 I’d walk into a supermarket with a long jacket with holes in the pockets into the liner of the coat and would literally walk out with a loaf of bread and just anything I was so reckless.
Who or what is the biggest threat to the music industry?
K: Sonic homogenisation.
A: I’ve been finding that you’re forced to be a professional. It’s been alienating because where we come from it’s very DIY, we do everything ourselves, we direct our own videos, I make all the art and then it feels like ‘oh you should put a photo of yourselves on the album cover rather than one of your paintings’, but I don’t want to. The past yeah has been really whoah. We went from doing this stuff in our room to having all these people involved in it. The good thing is that everyone who works with us is really good at listening to what we have to say and taking our feelings into consideration. It’s been hard to navigate through that, especially for our self esteem sometimes.
What’s your writing process?
K: It starts with stuff I do and that to me feel elemental, finding a couple of things that work together as a repetitive loop that still has enough space in it.
A: I still need it to be spacious so I can take control of it and find enough room for my voice. I usually do my writing alone in my room because I like to not be seen, it’s easier to tune in. We tried jamming before in the same room, Kyle would play all these sounds and I remember just freezing, I just couldn’t get anything out. I’d get so self conscious. It’s easier now because I’ve found my confidence.
How would you describe your sound?
K: Currently the line I’ve been using is that it’s like Bart Simpson on the babysitter or a sunbaked candy apple.
What do your family think of your music?
A: Both my parents came to one show. I think I prefer if they don’t come, my dad will go singing all the songs, he’s an attention seeker.
Is punk dead?
A: No. Maybe the word but not the attitude.
What’s for dinner?
K: I’m kind of full.
A: We ate this really amazing falafel plate and it was really something.