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La Sécurité Are Dancing In The Face Of Danger On Stay Safe!

The Montreal art punk troupe will have you shaking all over with their danceable debut.

by Stephan Boissonneault 

Photos by Aabid Youssef

La Sécurité is riding a new wave of art punk that has been percolating in the Montreal music scene for quite some time. With their energetic live shows and angular tunes, the bilingual supergroup of sorts — consisting of members from other trusted acts including Chose Sauvages, Pressure Pin, Laurence-Anne, and Silver Dapple — are proving they’re ready to pick up where the city’s dance punk predecessors like Duchess Says, Les Georges Leningrad, and Rational Youth left off. 

The band’s debut album Stay Safe! embraces themes of benevolence — caring and holding onto one another in a confusing world — and of course, moving and shaking as a means to revolution. Hypnotic synth work, punk moxy guitar, funk-tinged bass, and motorik drumming make the album a full meal deal. Songs like “Dis-moi,” “Anyway,” “Suspens,” and “Serpent” are meant to be sweaty anthems for the dance floor, and slower jams like “K9” and “Sleepy Rebellion,” are made for a collective sway while you catch  your breath.

The final single on Stay Safe!, “Hot Topic,” is one of the slower and more hypnotic grooves on the album, accompanied by a music video directed by lead singer Éliane Viens-Synnott and videographer Gabriel Lapierre. The video takes place in the Montreal club Bar Pow Pow as choreographed dancers react with movement to the sounds of the track. Originally filmed and choreographed by Viens-Synnott during the pandemic as a nine-minute short film, the footage has been repurposed in what she calls an ode to “unapologetic female solidarity.” 

We chatted with Viens-Synnott about La Sécurité’s debut, the family-friend dynamic of the band, and her initial ideas for “Hot Topic.”

Congratulations on your debut album. How does it feel to be releasing Stay Safe! into the world? 

Exciting! And I’m curious to see how people will receive it. Laurence-Anne and I snuck a track into a DJ set I was doing last weekend and people kept dancing, so that’s a good sign!

There’s been a noticeable DIY approach to the band since day one; directing your own videos with VHS cameras instead of spending tons of money on a high budget production. Where does this come from? 

It started out of necessity because we didn’t have any money. Then we quickly realized that this just makes sense for us and we may as well just go with it! Less is more y’know? 

Based on your music videos, you guys seem to play Mario Kart and just generally goof off with each other a lot. Must be lots of fun to be in a band of really good friends? 

Yeah, it’s really awesome. It’s like we’ve got our own little safe space built in wherever we go.

“Hot Topic” offers some important commentary on toxic masculinity. Is it intended to be angry or more liberating?

Not angry but firm. Pointing out problematic behaviour. And yes, liberating.

Where did the initial idea for your video come from and what was the process like adapting it to be a music video for “Hot Topic”?

I wanted to experiment with choreography in a video format. This was filmed in the summer of 2021, so I had access to this nightclub because it was still closed due to the pandemic. My starting point and motif was: what if the inspiration for the movement and general vibe is the riot grrl ideology, without spoon feeding the audience obvious elements. It kind of evolved from there, being able to use up all the space in the club was a huge bonus. Once we had a structure, I asked the band to help me with the score. We had barely just gotten together at that point. I then fine-tuned the dance piece on the score and filmed it with the help of Gabriel Lapierre in a one-shot sequence. 

While we were writing the album last winter, we revisited the score and reworked it a bit to turn it into a song. I kept the name of the piece, “Hot Topic,” and wrote the lyrics by watching the piece over and over, putting into words what their movement and body language is saying. It only felt natural to remix the piece to accompany the song for the music video. It was interesting to detach myself from my original idea and let it evolve.

I wanted to ask you about your relationship with dance. You seem to go into a trance when dancing and playing live. Are you using dance as a way to work through some melancholic memories on the album?

I never thought about it that way. Though kinda makes sense (laughs). Dance is my first love. I’ve been doing it pretty much as long as I have been walking. It’s also the way I was first introduced to being on stage. The band’s playing is so groovy, so I just can’t help it. And yeah there’s this empathetic way of getting thought and emotions across through movement. Also, If I didn’t dance I would just be standing there, which would be kinda awkward (laughs).

The bilingual aspect to La Sécurité is something that gives your band an advantage; being able to play in France and other Quebec cities, and then having a more anglo set in other parts of the world. How important is this to you?

We initially thought about choosing a side but with both anglo and franco members in the band it just made sense to be bilingual. It was worth respecting the creative vision of each song accordingly. Some themes seemed to need French and others English to paint the picture, tu sais? 

How have the Stay Safe! songs changed in a live setting?

Well, actually, lots of the songs were composed in order to have a set to play live. We then figured out the concrete details for the recording. I guess once the record is out there will be less wiggle room for messing up parts (laughs).

What’s next for La Sécurité? Are you already thinking about the next project?

Not for now! We’re just looking forward to the songs being out. We have about six festival dates this summer and our official record release in August. We wanna just have fun with that and eventually start working on new jams when we all have some time.