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blesse Première New Video Single, “4 ans”

The songwriter collective bring their punk energy to a historical setting for an epic live show recording.

by RANGE

Photo by Jean-François Sauvé

Montreal collective blesse have certainly been known to wear many hats – that’s why it’s a lot of fun for the band to combine some of the most supposedly incongruous ones. Made up of Léo Leblanc, Xavier Touikan and Charles-Antoine Olivier – otherwise known as CAO – the band have dabbled in genres ranging everywhere from indie pop to disco, hyperpop, 80s worship and heavier rock and punk. In the new video for “4 ans,” a bonus track from their 2023 debut album normal, blesse took to one of their hometown’s most historic theatres, The Lion d’Or. With ornate décor hailing from its 1930 founding, it’s not a place that you might expect to hear one of the group’s heavier tracks – but that’s what makes the band’s decision to rip through the song, headbanging away in the centre of the floor instead of on the stage, so engaging.

Made with the energy-capturing simplicity of a single, unbroken shot of the band’s performance, the video was finally perfected on its 17th take. Sung in the band’s native French, the track lyrically finds its narrator looking back at his early childhood, searching for understanding about the way he eventually turned out. In any case, one glance at blesse’s latest video, and you’ll be rushing to buy tickets to see them live. 

In a couple sentences, can you describe what a blesse show is like for our readers who haven’t had the chance to see you before? 

We never “jammed” to arrange our album. We did it through years of production whenever we could put our hand on a laptop that had Logic on it. But still, we wanted it to rock and be organic, two things that helped us bring the album on stage. We kept the sequences and weird vocal effects in the background, but placed ourselves as performers.

We’re a no-leader type of band. We change lead singers on pretty much every song. In this particular video, CAO is acting as the frontman, but next time It’ll probably be Xav or Léo. We don’t want to be classified by an instrument, we would prefer to be recognized as 3 singer-songwriters and producers. 

What is this live track called and what is it about? “4 ans” was made to be a nonstop changing song. Throughout the track, the arrangements drastically transform while supporting the vocal melody that stays consistent and recognizable. We thought it would be cool to explore the wide array of emotional effects musical arrangements can have on a single melody. The title “4 ans” (“4 years old” in French), is an accusatory way for the narrator to blame his issues on his childhood as he struggles to take responsibility for his actions. 

Where did you record this video? 

The video was filmed at Lion d’Or, an old theatre in Montreal. To balance out the vintage feel of the place, we decided to play the song in the middle of the venue instead of on stage. This theatricality was inspiring as we were able to bring our punk energy to the very clean and royal decor that surrounded us as we played.

There’s  a Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” vibe to the video. How did you go into the planning stages of how this would all come together? 

We wanted the viewers to have a full visual and musical experience of our performance. This is why we landed on a sequence shot. The production is filmed from start to finish without any editing. This artistic choice was quite a challenge. For us to reach the perfect shot, we had to nail the performance as well as perfecting the lighting cues and camera movements all at once. After many takes, we knew we couldn’t do better. We now get to share the 17th and final shot with everyone of our full artistic performance of our song “4 ans.” 

What are your plans for 2024? Anything else you want us to know?
As we talk we are playing our very first show in France. We hope to travel a lot with our music. We’re also very eager to return to the studio to finish the production of our second project, a little EP that will be released in April 2024. It should arrive just in time for a quick small stretch of shows in Montreal, Sherbrooke, and Gatineau, QC.