Q&A with Montreal Rising Duo De.Ville
Ziad, Simon, congratulations on your recent EP called Atlantique. Can you tell us more about this journey and the meaning behind it?
Simon: Thank you. I would say the journey is only starting right now. But the creation of Atlantique started at the beginning of the project. We always wanted to do something to support the migrants, to show our respects, solidarity, and bring a little awareness to this question. So this “theme” has always been important for us. Musically, the EP developed a lot during the pandemic. We were not really planning it, but as we were working on music, those 3 songs evolved to naturally fit together narratively.
It has been said that this EP was supposed to be a soundtrack to a movie. Is that right?
Ziad: Yes. We worked with Alexandre Nour Desjardins and Karim to write a short film telling the story of the album. An album movie.
Simon: But when you are not a French-speaking project in Quebec, you can pretty much forget about government grants or any significant help from its institutions. But we do have a script for a movie and concepts ready to go for all the songs on the album. By now we are already on other projects and focusing on the next releases, but this one we hold deep in our hearts and inshallah we will be able to share it with the world someday.
photo: Lian Benoit
You guys also released a music video for Atlantique. What were the key elements to include in the video to get the right representation of the song?
Ziad: We wanted to be true to our cinematographic vision for music. When we compose, and especially with this project, we always imagine scenes from movies. If the song we are working on does not trigger that, it means it’s not ready, or not meant to be. Sometimes it’s just not the right time, and the song needs to rest a few months before it talks to us.
Simon: We have been working closely with Alexandre Nour Desjardins for maybe two years now. We wrote a lot of scenarios together that never saw the light of day. But I believe that all that work led to the Atlantique video and allowed us to be perfectly aligned. Alex and his team really get our universe, and it was a blessing to be part of the conceptualization and coming to fruition of this film. Shout out to Alex and Felix Cayer, the masterminds behind the clip. They really captured our universe with the perfect sensitivity. We have more on the way!
What inspired other songs like Dopamina and Water?
Simon: The different facets of the same reality, the different chapters in one’s life, and in the story we wanted to tell through this project. I remember when I recorded the first demo of Dopamina. It was around 4 am during the full lockdown of the first wave. I was in the living room of my girlfriend’s apartment while she was sleeping, with just my laptop, headphones, a midi keyboard, and a bad mood. It was therapeutic to make this demo I think. I sent it to Ziad and he wrote the lyrics and recorded the vocals the next day with his uncle where he was confined. Shoutout to Hamid! We really liked the vibe so we went to the studio a few days after and finished it.Dopamina is about the honeymoon phase of a new relationship, either with another person or with a new home. Water is the darker and more dramatic part of the story.
Drop some artists you discovered or listened to recently!
Simon: Just to name a few that I listened to on repeat over the past few weeks: Ichon, Geko, Chukii Booker, laylow, Mike Shabb, Soft Hair, Mild High Club, Varnish la Piscine, Run the Jewels, Steve Monite.