Pony Girl Wil Put A Spell On Enny One

The Ottawa-based art pop outfit spell things out a little differently with their latest epic. 

by Stephan Boissonneault 

Photo by Curtis Perry

If you look closely at the title of Pony Girl’s latest album, Enny One Wil Love You, you might think the Ottawa-based art-pop group just doesn’t know how to spell, but in actuality it’s a deliberate manifestation of a memory the band holds dear.

Pony Girl were staying together at a friend’s house in Fredericton while on the east coast for a music festival when they spotted a framed kid’s drawing in the foyer. “It was this cute drawing of a lady and a boy and it said ‘Enny One Wil Love You Grandma’ so we took that spelling because we thought it was so charming and innocent,” says vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Yolande Laroche.

The quirky title fits with the group’s sonic aesthetic, which includes taking folk demos from lead songwriter Pascal Huot and turning them into shiny experimental pop songs. “As a band, and especially for this album, Pascal brought the songs and we had to make them slap,” Laroche says. 

Sometimes making the song slap includes adding in a 20-second synth part or a clarinet melody (played by Laroche) that mimics a guitar line throughout the album. Enny One could also be interpreted as one long extended song. “There are lots of little moments, like one vocal line that you hear repeated again later in the album. But those are the things that really get us super excited as a band,” she says.

Laroche comes from a classical music background, starting on the piano at age six and moving onto the clarinet in high school. She now considers this background in classical music to be considered an advantage in a band like Pony Girl, but for her, it wasn’t always. “Our first jam I was like ‘okay guys, where’s the sheet music?’” she says. “Of course there wasn’t any, so I had to kind of learn how to just jam and be in a rock band and find out how other musicians in a band operate.”

She also had to learn how to sing, eventually practicing in her home DIY vocal booth setup and taking inspiration from the vocal style of Little Dragon’s Yukimi Eleanora Nagano. “I never really wanted to sing to be honest, but Pascal asked me to try and I really enjoy it now,” she says.  “For this next album, it’s way more collaborative and I’m writing lyrics with him during these cabin writing retreats; I love it.”  

Pony Girl strive to make their live shows a different entity from their recordings. Laroche admits there are lots of ‘unwritten parts’ and lots of improvisation between the guitar, synthesizers, clarinet, bass, and drums. “We’ve become really great listeners and really great communicators on stage,” she says. “I think our job is to replay the album but also transport people somewhere else, somewhere in the higher plane of existence than the recording.”

Pony Girl perform in Montreal on Dec. 2 at Casa Del Popolo with friends Eve Parker Finley and Blunt Chunks | TICKETS