Following her show at Adelaide Hall in downtown Toronto where she performed with The Franklin Electric, Montreal songwriter Laura Sauvage was apprehended by our rebel rouser Shaun Fitl for a conversation about music, touring, science and talking sharks.
Me: What can you tell me about what you felt performing in front of the crowd? Is this new to you?
Laura Sauvage: This project is new to me. I’m also in another band with two other girls called Les Hay Babies. I’m trying to find my comfort zone and I’m slowly creeping up after it and it shows that I’m a little bit uncomfortable but people were laughing so I think it went great. I have a song about someone from back home who was eaten by her cats and the reaction was really funny for me because I could see their faces but I don’t know if they thought it was funny. (laughs)
Me: Do you have a good sense of humour?
Laura Sauvage: I like to think so.
Me: Do you think humor and music go together? Is there some level of intelligence that is required to enjoy humor that could relate to music?
Laura Sauvage: That’s a tough question because everyone has a different sense of humor. But, honestly I hate seeing comedy acts that play all their jokes through songs. I’m not into that. My songs aren’t generally funny songs but I like to joke around to lighten it up. If you don’t know my sense of humor you might think the songs are dark but they’re just sarcastic.
Me: What do you think about sarcasm? You write sarcastic songs but they’re also dark or humorous? Do you think writing from those places is enjoyable when seen sarcastically?
Laura Sauvage: I find. I’m trying to be objective when I write the songs but I’m sarcastic when I talk about it. I think sarcasm in music is not a bad thing. People need sarcasm and to toughen up a little bit. I think sarcasm and music go well together. There is a lot of sarcasm all around.
Me: If you were to pick one of your songs that really identified you as a person which one would it be?
Laura Sauvage: I have a new song called “Nothing to Something and Vice Versa”. I’m also a little bit of a science geek. It is kind of the evolution of the big bang to, you know, ruining it.
Me: I looked you up online and found a University of Toronto grad. Was that you?
Laura Sauvage: No, I didn’t go to university. I went to college for photography a bit and was like f*** that and me and the girls started Les Hay Babies. We write in French. It’s really tough to write in French, even being a French speaker, but it kind of comes naturally to me.
Me: I like French because it’s a very colourful language, especially the accent. And it seems emotional. Do you think French and English compete for that romantic quality?
Laura Sauvage: No, I think there are lots of super beautiful songs in English. I listen to a lot of English music. I was talking to my publicist earlier and saying, ‘we’re from New Brunswick. It’s officially bilingual.’ I’m not into trying to sell French. I’m down for keeping the language but I don’t want to push it into people’s face. Shakira sings in English and Spanish and people are like ‘Wow.’ In New Brunswick if you sing in French and switch to English people might think you are dissing French but it should be normal.
Me: When you write your music what is it that you think about for inspiration? It seems to me like you’re a pretty out there person, you’re wearing a sailor’s hat right now. Do you like writing from a place of quirkiness?
Laura Sauvage: I really like silliness. Like, ‘Isn’t it silly that…’ and then I just go on a tangent. ‘Isn’t it silly that these big shots are actually shitty people?’ I just keep going with that.
Me: What else do you listen to outside of your own music?
Laura Sauvage: I love Beck. These past two years I got into Pavement and Loretta Lynn. I also like Wilco and Spoon.
Me: Where is your tour taking you?
Laura Sauvage: I’m starting a tour with The Barr Brothers and I’m going to be in Quebec with them from tomorrow until the 13th of December. On the 14th and 15th I’m going to be previewing my album before I record it in January.
Me: What are your interests outside of music? Do you like philosophy?
Laura Sauvage: I used to but I got over it. I definitely still have that track a bit. I like reading up on science and Vice’s Motherboard.
Me: What do you like about science?
Laura Sauvage: It’s just fascinating, how like everything works and we don’t have control over it. If we want control we have to explore it. There’s a quote that goes science is what you know and philosophy is what you don’t know. I like those aspects of it. I like knowing things and being curious.
Me: Is there room for being amazed by something for the magic of it without knowing how it works?
Laura Sauvage: Definitely, but I want to get down to figuring out how it works.
Me: So if you were living in a post-apocalyptic future would you be like that mad scientist who wants to save everybody?
Laura Sauvage: I’d probably try but I’d be like ‘Okay guys. Don’t depend on me.’ (Laughs)
Me: Do you care about the environment?
Laura Sauvage: I do but I’m not a hippy about it. Of course I care. I’m born in 1992 and our generation was brought up with that always in our faces, climate change. You hear it in high school and wonder why were our ancestors so dumb about it? But, pinball is my new discovery. I just played Indiana Jones on Queen Street. In the past two weeks we went to Ottawa twice from Montreal just to play pinball. If I travel alone my only goal to not be awkward is to look for the next pinball machine. I like looking out for new machines and testing them out. It’s kind of a passion of mine.
Me: Born in ’92 and talking about climate change, our generation hears a lot about being progressive. Do you think because your music is so quirky and silly it relates to people who maybe have too many issues on their mind?
Laura Sauvage: Yeah. Totally. It is definitely written with a progressive mind.
Me: Okay last question. You’re wearing a sailor’s hat. You are on a sailboat and you have the choice to enlist the help of a talking dolphin, shark, sea turtle or your boyfriend who doesn’t talk.
Laura Sauvage: Oh shit!
Me: You can spend your time on that boat in the middle of the ocean with any of those people.
Laura Sauvage: I think my boyfriend would hate me if I didn’t say ‘my boyfriend,’ but a talking shark would be f***ing awesome. I would be like ‘so, how’s life as a shark’ and he’d be like ‘it’s rough, man.’ I think we need more talking sharks.
Me: Would you two get along?
Laura Sauvage: Hopefully.
Me: Would you be friends?
Laura Sauvage: Definitely. Fin to fin. (smiles)
© Shaun Fitl, Music Vice
Internet link: Laura Sauvage on Bandcamp
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