Beneath The Threshold: Marie Davidson Talks
Poetic escapism is a release of sorts. This line of reasoning is the basis behind many songwriters, musicians and lyricists work. However, there is a lot to be said for a musician who seeks to transcend the output of vocal iteration alone, one who seeks to paint a soundcsape said to reflect a mental state through instrumentation and machinery. Marie Davidson is an observant musician based in Montreal, her forthcoming album 'Bullshit Threshold' stems from a presonal reflection upon an "intense existential crisis". As a result the record is conceptualised through focussing on "relationships, gossip, nightlife, club culture, nature and hospitals".
Several of these themes have been prevalent in her previous works. 'Adieux Au Dancefloor' , her most recent album, was said to be a reflective report upon time spent overseas in Berlin, a critical commentary on the positives and negatives associated with nightlife and the accompanying vices. She reflects upon a love/ hate relationship with club culture.
"I find this culture quite superficial… but I love to dance. I think artists are dramatic and/ or deal with a lot of drama because the world we live in has no space or time for kindness, patience, love and understanding. The drama itself is not a problem, it's actually good to express drama in music or on stage, I consider this a form of catharsis. The problem for me is the self-absorbed society we live in and the music industry feeds on this constant need of pleasure and gratification."
Marie has been producing music for several years, both independently and amidst an array of groups. Essaie Pas is perhaps the best known of these projects, a partnership which features herself and Pierre Guerineau. The pair are now in fact a couple, one which seems aptly supportive of one another's career progression.
"I like making music on my own, more then anything. Pierre and I really enjoy working together, that's how we fell in love, at first we were just friends and bandmates. I like to work in the studio with Pierre, even on my solo music, he mixed all my records and also co-produced the title track of my latest album. We keep bouncing ideas all the time, whether it's for Essaie pas, Marie Davidson or other projects."
Next month will see Marie perform at Barcelona's Sonar Festival, an opportunity for her to offer insight into the forthcoming release. When queried as to the limitations of her 'bullshit threshold' she responds charmingly.
"As of late, things have been pretty good, I've been having a few weeks away from work and people. Ask me again when I'm in the middle of a tour or just come see the Bullshit Threshold show at Sonar Barcelona. It's very nice, I work with photographer/art director John Londono and video designer Gonzalo Soldi (Hub Studio), they do live projections as I play music and tell my stories."
Poetry and spoken word is prominent through much of the work of Marie Davidson, a route less travelled by an artist most known for her association to electronic music. Perhaps this stems from early local influences, or is quite simply a means of expression for an untold narrative, the story behind the scenes if you will.
"The music always comes first when I work with sounds, I try not to think about anything, only use my ears. Afterwards, I'll decide if it should stay as an instrumental track or if I should talk or sing on it. The music always reflects on what I will say. I try to treat my vocals as an other musical line, the voice is sound material just as drum patterns or melodies."
"I have many influences, most of them have nothing to do with Montreal, except Gino Soccio, the legendary Disco producer and the duo of musician and poet Péloquin/Sauvageau. I was also inspired by the work of some Quebecois authors like Réjean Ducharme, Marie-Claire Blais and Patrice Desbiens. Otherwise it's hard to name only a few of my influences as there are so many and some of them really have nothing to do with my music but definitely Avant-Garde and Contemporary Classical Music of composers such as Giacinto Scelsi, Luigi Nono and Robert Ashley. Electronic music such as Detroit Techno and singers such as Billie Holiday, Nico and Megumi Satsu."
Orchestrating a one man show is no simple feat. From music to speech, visual aesthetic to the programming of machines there is an intricate evolutionary process behind Marie's show. Life is for learning, whether that's how to manage the bullshit which comes with the day to day drag or on stage.
"I started out of nothing and I still consider myself a novice. As the years go by I've added a few things to my setup, my ears got better and I understand a bit more clearly how to mix a bunch of electronics out of a different mixer every night but still, it's a constant learning process."