Tuesday February 2nd, 2021
The four-piece indie pop band from Montreal (finalists in RBC’s Canada Walk of Fame Emerging Musician Program in 2018 and has also been CBC Searchlight finalists four times) What If Elephants https://www.facebook.com/whatifelephants/ have released a new single . Rudy Blair Entertainment Media rudyblairmedia.com speaks with lead singer Joey Langlois https://www.facebook.com/langloisjoey about the origins of the group, their trials and success , if there are plans on releasing and album and performing virtual concerts and the meaning behind their latest release…”Sugar Daddy” https://tinyurl.com/y2j6rrh2 .
What If Elephants Rudy Blair Interview
How was 2020 for you and the band as the world was (and still is) dealing with Covid-19, how did it effect you personally and the group professionally ?
2020 has been a bittersweet year for me. Our band received the Juried Sound Recording grant from FACTOR, which was a huge achievement and unlocked a lot of new avenues for us to explore, but just as we began executing a plan, COVID hit. This meant a lot more time together with Alanna (we live together and we both had to begin working from home) which was great, but came with a lot of other emotionally taxing realities such as not being able to see other people or dealing with extra pressures via social media. We all have had our low times this year, given the situation, but I’d also say we’ve been able to create some of our best work through it. I’ve had more production work than ever before this year, but also dealt with a lot of crippling discouragement simply because of the state of the world, and I think that describes our collective experience to a measure.
What was it like growing up in Montreal and what was the music scene like?
I moved here in 2011 to study music production and in that time, it has been such a pleasure to meet some many awesome artists and human beings. What an awesome and culturally rich city we have. The music scene here seemed really focused on experimentation and a sort of grassroots approach to the gritty version of any genre. It encouraged rawness and authenticity, which I think is commendable, and probably responsible for so many musicians developing artistically here before launch into the business development of their artistry. That’s my take anyway. Living expenses are also significantly lower than some other cities in Canada, and that’s a big plus for artists.
How did the band members of What If Elephants all get together?
Myself and Justin met at our production school, Recording Arts Canada, and it was about a year later that we had our first jam with Alanna, which was interrupted by the Montreal Police. Alanna and myself had initially connected at a mutual friend’s jazz gig. Eric Letourneau was the founding bassist, who responded to an ad on Kijiji, and after he joined what was at the time, my solo project, we formed the collective band, What If Elephants. Collin connected with us initially to share a show together with his other project, Flara K. We absolutely loved what they were doing, and Collin always impressed us with his chops and stellar stage presence. When Eric let us know he wanted to move on to some other projects, Collin was the first person we reached out to, and he filled in at shows for a little over a year before becoming an official member. We took things slow, but it was worth it. From day one, we plotted how to lure Collin to become a member of the band, haha.
The band has received some amazing honours including finalists in RBC’s Canada Walk of Fame Emerging Musician Program in 2018 and CBC Searchlight finalists four times. What have those experiences done for What If Elephants?
Those experiences are firstly, a huge boost to morale for me. Knowing that someone thought our music was remarkable amongst many other entries is quite encouraging. It’s much more enticing to make music and do all the work around it if you know it’s being heard and appreciated. Often, artists get discouraged and quit. We have had many failures, but not quitting takes credit for every success, and those successes are definitely wind in our sails. Another huge thing it does is grow our network of industry contacts and collaborators as well as new fans! Lastly, whenever we won money, that went pretty far in terms of allowing us to invest in our projects and future as a band. Money doesn’t dictate success, but it sure helps get things done.
You have a new single ‘Sugar Daddy’ (congratulations). What’s the inspiration behind the song?
Thanks! Yes we do! The inspiration behind ‘Sugar Daddy’ is honestly just the state of my life sometimes. Money is not always in plenty, and though that can put stress on a relationship, Alanna has always been 100% supportive and present. The song is not a direct recount of our lives, but a narrative that represents that situation as I think a lot of people could understand.
How were you able to record it during the pandemic?
Very conveniently we all have the means to record professional quality audio from our homes. Justin has a basement studio space where we often rehearse (ahh back in the good old days of live shows..) and record drums and larger acoustic instruments, and Joey has a home studio where he can record vocals, guitars, bass, and keyboards. Even before the days of COVID we worked in a similar manner where Joey might record a guitar and vocal part or and send it to Justin who would add some drums and percussion and send it back for more layers to be added. During the lockdown in March 2020, we actually had a drum recording session where Justin was able to have everything mic’d up and he was playing as Tokyo and Joey were able to remote in and control Justin’s computer to run the protocols session and offer real-time performance and sonic feedback. This was a very unique experience to be able to bring a traditional collaborative recording experience to a modern pandemic reality. We had some of the main parts recorded early 2019, but for the finishing touches – yeah – we recorded the rest of it over spring and summer 2020.
Will more music follow after this (EP or Album)?
Yes! Very excited to share more music. There are always songs waiting to be produced, ideas waiting to turn into song etc… We hope to release the rest of this collection in the Spring, and beyond that I’d love to tackle something a bit more like a concept album. Everything changes with time, thought, so we’ll keep you posted!
Will there be any virtual performances in 2021?
We’d love that! We’d love to find a way to use the opportunity of the virtual performance format to create something unique and immersive in a way that might be difficult in a live situation. Nothing in stone yet, but discussions are ongoing!
Tell me something about yourself (or the band) that no one knows (could be a fun skill, quirky habit or hobby or something you have overcome).
I sometimes watch people clean carpets or cars on YouTube as a de-stresser. So satisfying to see all of that grossness leave and something restored to its full potential.
What If Elephants Social Media