Choses Sauvages interview Montreal

Choses Sauvages bring their provocative show to MTelus after breaking the dancefloor at FME

The Montreal band, playing their big hometown show tonight, spoke with us about on-stage violence, makeup and playing good cop bad cop with the audience.

Music has the power to make people do eccentric things — things that may go against their better judgement, things they wouldn’t do if they re-thought it. But how can you think when Choses Sauvages, a nu-disco meets French alt-rock band, is giving one of the most impassioned sets you’ve seen in recent memory. You just can’t. Perhaps this is why the audience at their FME Rouyn-Noranda performance literally broke the dancefloor.

“The wood cracked or something and we kind of got in trouble,” says lead singer Félix Bélisle reflecting on the night of the show. “But I guess that’s just rock ’n’ roll.”

Choses Sauvages — made up of Bélisle (vocals/bass/keys), Marc-Antoine Barbier (vocals/guitar/keys), Tommy Bélisle (vocals/keys), Thierry Malépart (vocals/guitar/keys) and Philippe Gauthier Boudreau (vocals/drums/percussion) — have been making musical mayhem for close to 10 years. The members all went to high school together and started jamming until releasing their first self-tiled record in 2017. Now they’re playing some of their biggest shows as a band, including a headlining show at MTelus, supporting 2021’s Choses Sauvages II record. On the recording, there are definitely elements of punk, but it’s generally more of a synthy disco rock record — probably due to the absolute brigade of synthesizers the band had at their disposal.

But live, Choses Sauvages is fueled by pure adrenaline.

“It’s definitely more raw, and yeah, there’s some violence that plays well in any situation live,” Bélisle says. “It’s jacked up for the guitars and it’s a party that gets a little hard. I don’t really have a background in punk rock, but guys like Iggy Pop … I always loved that attitude.”

Bélisle also loves the provocative, androgynous nature of performing live. When he’s donning makeup (heavy eyeshadow and lipstick), you could compare him to the lives personas of Marc Bolan or even Siouxsie Sioux, but interestingly, Bélisle has never really thought about how his stage persona was created.

“It just kind of came to me and I found this is the way I like to be on stage,” he says. “I like to create a little awkwardness that can be accepted by the crowd because it’s not something I do in everyday normal life. I kind of play good cop bad cop with the crowd and it’s really fun.”

Choses Sauvages is in a interesting position as a francophone band in Montreal and Quebec. Especially with the recent language laws (ahem, Bill 96), there is a newer conversation about the lasting impact of French on both anglo and franco bands within the music scene. Bélisle, however, has no real care one way or the other.

“You shouldn’t think about what language you’re singing in when you start,” he says. “It’s art and art has no rules. I mean, there are more words I can get out in French. It’s more natural for me because I grew up in the language, but it doesn’t need to get political. Whatever your language, you need to make it true — just do it.” ■

Choses Sauvages perform at MTelus (59 Ste-Catherine E.) on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 8:30 p.m., $33.44, with an afterparty at Newspeak (1403 Ste-Elisabeth).

For more Montreal music coverage, please visit the Music section.