DVTR montreal band interview le couleur

Photo by Ariana Molly

DVTR deals in their own version of punk and a truly unpredictable live show

“You can have all kinds of rules for a band to have decorum and be nice and that’s all fine, but we just talk all kinds of shit in our tunes and spit poison and move on to the next thing.”

In a content-obsessed creative culture driven by the almighty algorithm, the live music experience is increasingly predictable. 

Footage of touring bands fills our newsfeeds daily. Festival bookings around the world predetermine which ones may or may not make it to our city in the next fiscal quarter. 

Fans who pay exorbitant ticket prices expect to see exactly what they’ve been hearing about on social media for months or even years, come show time. 

Granted, the local small-venue scene may not adhere to such stringent demands. But honestly, when was the last time you went to a concert excited by the prospect that anything could happen? 

DVTR is all-surprises, all the time. The band busted out of nowhere late this summer with a screech of feedback, showering Quebec stages with pummelling tunes and facefuls of crotch sweat. But the band’s swift and sudden profile surprised them, more than anyone else.

“We called it ‘punk.’ But is it really? Think about Ghost and the way metal fans argue about if they’re a metal band,” says DVTR guitarist Jean Divorce.

“We’re not gonna start trying to explain that we’re some rock-punk-post-electroclash-blah-blah-whatever. We get on stage and play loud. That’s our ‘punk.’”

“Everything he said is true!” interjects singer/antagonist Demi Lune, laughing. 

You may know Demi Lune as Laurence Giroux-Do, from Quebec indie outfit le Couleur, but in DVTR she’s Demi Lune, point final. 

Jean Divorce is JC Tellier, le Couleur’s touring guitarist, founding member of Gazoline and label manager at Ambiances Ambiguës. 

Neither of the DVTR co-founders is at a loss for industry success, which removes constraints and gives them leeway to fuck around and find out, with the side project they started without ambition or structure. 

“We tour together with le Couleur and this was something to do to have fun. We were just thinking about songs drunk at 3 a.m. and plugged in guitars and started. That process hasn’t changed,” Divorce explains. 

“We don’t reflect on anything or consider the results very much. We avoid the long, drawn out and annoying process that a lot of bands put themselves through and keep the rawness.”

“I felt like doing what I wanted and pissing off whoever I wanted without having career repercussions!” Demi Lune blurts out.

“And so far it’s working. At a show, if I want to get within an inch of someone’s face while I sing, I can do it. Which I wouldn’t permit myself with le Couleur.” 

Their debut EP, BONJOUR, has been available on cassette for some time and hit streaming platforms last month. After opening on a string of dates with Vulgaires Machins in November, they found themselves at #14 on the Quebec music sales charts for the week.

“We sold 55 tapes and some juice,” Demi Lune enthuses. “Numéro quatorze!”

Early this month, they won the GAMIQ Award for best video production on a budget under $5,000 for their self-titled debut single “DVTR,” performing at the award gala in full wedding attire. 

Their onstage antics, accompanied by a punishingly tight drummer and bassist,  can’t yet be described as the stuff of legend. But they’re getting there. At one performance last summer, they invited the entire audience to get low and squat to the floor. When everyone in the packed room had complied, the band just walked off stage. Game over. 

DVTR officially launches BONJOUR at l’Esco on Dec. 20. Beforehand, they’re off to France for an overseas debut in Rennes. 

“The EP was done quickly, too, like drunk on molly. We were just fucked up ben raide and poof —  we had an EP and (Lisbon Lux Records) wanted to put it out,” explains Demi Lune. 

“And we signed with a booking agent with these fucked up drug songs we made for fun. The (next) album might end up being a little more planned out. But maybe not. It’ll be what it’s gonna be.”

Performing with more people on stage, Divorce offered, with complex setups and gear and all that entails, is another animal altogether. 

“We wanted to just play live as fucked up as possible without all that prep. Like, just be totalled at 2 a.m. and get on stage and play.”

The complexity happens more in the actual music. DVTR’s songs are not composed with neat 4/4 structures, to say the least. 

“We wrote a lot of the music with (digital tools) and the forms go all over the place. When we wanted to start to play it live, the drummer and bassist were just like, ‘What the fuck?’

“So maybe sometimes it hasn’t been as simple as we meant it to be at first. Occasionally, we haven’t been playing quite as fucked up out of our minds as we’d envisioned,” Divorce concedes.  

Demi Lune, for her part, feels at peace with the momentum, even if their inside-joke side project has led to rapid demand.

“If you’re able to touch different elements and be comfortable doing that, by being diverse, it’s awesome. I’m at ease in le Couleur and I’m at ease in DVTR,” she says.

“Not doing the same thing all the time is liberating. If I wanted to do the same thing every day, I’d have been a truck driver.”

Jean Divorce describes high-end amps and gear he elsewhere employs professionally only to note that, for DVTR, shitty used equipment keeps him away from the threat of a comfort zone. 

“You can have all kinds of rules for a band to have decorum and be nice and that’s all fine,” he says. “But with DVTR, we just talk all kinds of shit in our tunes and spit poison and move on to the next thing.

“We don’t do anything without integrity.” ■

DVTR launches BONJOUR at l’Escogriffe (4461 St-Denis) on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 8 p.m., $15. For more, please visit the band’s website.

This article was originally published in the December 2023 issue of Cult MTL. 

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