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Alix Fernz’s Bizou Bites as Loud as His Bark

Montreal’s post-punk darling steps out from behind the bar and into a new era.

by Madeline Lines

Photos by Antoine Giroux

“If this interview had been two years ago, I would’ve shit my pants,” laughs Alix Fernz, kicking back in his chair, the fanged tattoo on his neck lit up in a beam of sunlight. We’re tucked away in a back office of Mothland, the iconic Montreal record label that pulls from both franco and anglo scenes with purpose. Born in rural Northern Quebec, Fernz explains that he’s only gotten comfy with English in recent years, crediting his anglo partner. 

You wouldn’t be able to tell, save for a few pointed ‘ben là’s. Fernz is a piece-y haired, leather-clad kid with a distinct sound, perfectly poised to worm his way into both the hearts of the insular Quebec sphere and ears in the remainder of North America – a seemingly impossible thing to do.

Growing up with a dad that blasted Kiss, Fernz learned that a look can make something stick. In the wild, and working behind the bar at venue L’Escogriffe, he sports an outfit resembling what my editor floated to me as “Sid Vicious with more money for tattoos.” But in promo photos, music videos, and performances coming out of the upcoming album Bizou, Fernz plays dress up with makeup, heels, and even overstuffed filler-looking prosthetics in a Lynchian music video. 

Inspired by nudges from his partner, model/graphic designer Nora Mejdouli, experimenting with aesthetics went hand in hand with experimentations in sound on the new record. Playing with gender is skin-deep for Fernz, though for him, it’s more New York Dolls than RuPaul’s Drag Race – when I probe, he says he’s just admiring from the outside.

“I have an obsession with high heels, it feels like the most representative object of femininity. I love the glamour of it, they feel so powerful to me,” says Fernz.

Bizou’s hypnotic, delightfully extraterrestrial sounding post-punk needs no lipstick. Starting at the age of 17, experimenting as Blood Skin Atopic, Fernz messed around enough to begin carving out a deliberate vision, displayed now at 24. Shedding some of the garage influences of his youth (but still holding onto a love of Osees), Fernz is leaning into synth soundscapes and bolder, abrasive, fever dream loops with his studio debut. 

Fernz mentions Ariel Pink’s sound as an influence, as well as Vancouver band Crack Cloud, nervously noting that a lot of his influences have been cancelled or had controversies. When I wonder why, Fernz guesses that he’s more of a music than a lyrics person – maybe failing to sniff out clues towards sleaziness that are between the lines. I point out that he has a good market to corner, for people that want to listen to similar-sounding music without feeling gross about it. 

Although Fernz is putting out his first studio record, he still wanted to maintain a lo-fi sound, ultimately asking Emmanuel Éthier (​​Choses Sauvages, Corridor, P’tit Belliveau) over the bar of L’Esco one day if he’d be down to lend an ear to the album. “I was like ‘Dude, I have no money,’” says Fernz. “We started working together, and the money came after.” The two went back and forth, landing on a sound that felt fuller and more complex while retaining the rawer edge Fernz wanted to remain.

“Musically, ‘Crack de dent’ is the track that represents the album the most,” says Fernz. “It was the last song we did, so it’s closest to where I’m at right now.”



Embracing singing in his mother tongue is a point of growth for Fernz, who used to feel limited to writing lyrics in English. At the time, it felt necessary – feeling largely uninspired by the monotonous sound of the mainstream artists making it big in Quebec. Writing lyrics in French felt like navigating a minefield of “cringe.” The weirder, more experimental stuff seemed to be getting made elsewhere. 

“All my influences were English, so it felt easy for me to do English at first,” says Fernz. “I’ve grown up a bit now, and was like ‘Dude, you’re French.’ I realize it’s about the way you put words together. I’m always trying to find weird words now.”

Unafraid to bounce between the two, Bizou feels both bold enough to shake up the formulae of the francophone music machine in Quebec, but to echo beyond too. Fernz is keenly aware of industry dynamics and smart about where he falls within them, saying how hard it is to break into the U.S. So far the tour for Bizou is mostly in Quebec, save for a night in Toronto. But if the world is curious for a nibble of Montreal flavour, Fernz embodies the perfect bite.