“I’ve always believed in the idea that if you visualize or summon something, it will come true,” explains She-Devils vocalist Audrey Ann Boucher.
Alongside her friend and bandmate Kyle Jukka, she has summoned ‘She-Devils’: a channel through which Audrey Ann and Kyle explore the sensory world, actualize aesthetic fantasies and alchemize pieces of history into entirely new sensations.
Through primitive electronic gear, hypnotist vocals, and an “amusement park of sounds”, the duo’s album constructs a fun-house world of beautiful chaos. The music is built from original sonics inspired by everything from Iggy Pop to Madonna to T-Rex to Can, as well as the romantic longing of ‘60s yé-yé.
The pair met four years ago while living at a music rehearsal space in the Mile-Ex neighbourhood of Montreal. “We were like wild animals, kind of fearful and just surviving,” recalls Kyle, “But we had certain obsessions and needed to build something out of them, to transcend our lives and express our visions and inspirations.” In this state, Kyle and Audrey formed a friendship based on a love of the dreamy and the beautiful. “She-Devils is a ship we built to sail us away to a better place,” says Audrey.
The band played gigs for about eight months though they did not record right away. Making music together meant following their own rules and taking things one step at a time. “I never sang before starting She-Devils,” says Audrey. “I have to learn just by doing it, through intuition. I learned vocal warm-ups I found online so I could train the reflexes of my body, since it’s kind of like training my body’s ability to respond to intuition.” Following instinct is a crucial part of She-Devils’ identity.
Striving to make music that feels “as visual as possible,” the band hopes to strap listeners into a rollercoaster ride “with Audrey’s voice as the centrepiece to cling to.” The duo are inspired by the cinema and art of Gregg Araki, Yayoi Kusama, Andy Warhol, John Waters and Quentin Tarantino. They direct their own videos. Audrey creates the artwork that accompanies the music. Her self-taught style evolved by watching hours of Disney movies, The Simpsons and Powerpuff Girls. “Those influences are very present in my drawings and paintings,” she says.
Audrey is also musically self-taught. In fact, she had never even played music before forming She-Devils. “I’ve always seen music from the perspective of an artist or music lover rather than that of a musician,” she explains. “When I sing over a loop, I don’t feel like I’m in control of what I do, or that I am cerebrally engaged with making music, it’s more like my subconscious is completely taking over my mind and it just comes out of my dreams.”
You only have to listen to the album to understand what Audrey’s saying. Dig a little into her lyrics and this entrancing quality becomes even more palpable. “There’s a place where we can go / Right here if you let me take you in / I know that this is for real / I saw the look in your eyes,” she croons on ‘Never Let Me Go,’ over Kyle’s woozy, layered guitars.
Elsewhere on the album, standout tracks include ‘How Do You Feel’ - a swirling fantasia about adolescent love - ‘You Don’t Know’, with its trebly jangle-pop, and ’The World Laughs,’ which hits a high of creepy rock ‘n roll psychedelia.
Kyle and Audrey think they fit together perfectly. “I try to use my ears to travel, and like a traveller I want to feel sonic emotions and hear things I haven’t before, that’s the excitement of it,” says Kyle, “The challenge is to make that into a cohesive work, but Audrey makes it so easy because she has this vibe as a singer that immediately connected with my imagination.” The connection of these two friends—their tensions, harmonies and oppositions—is probably the most crucial part of all. Their debut self-titled album arrives this May.
Brooklyn, NY /
with Nicholas Nicholas