For the non-montrealers Pascale Project might just be a producer on their radar, but for those living in this city and involved one way or another with the scene she is this wild, poised and enthusiastic force that simply can not go unnoticed. Whether unleashing 140 bpm rave joints with a punk attitude or crafting her extremely singular brand of lush and enticing house tracks (songs?), she just pushes forward, not second guessing her impulses towards dancefloor ecstasy in all its form.
Teaming up with La Rama -another essential force keeping Montreal dancefloors alive- Pascale is releasing a new EP, “Where’s The Party?”, where she finds herself asserting her will to dance and make you dance more than ever. We asked her a few questions about the new EP and her work. She was nice enough to let us know more about her process and to record a new entry in our Mixed-By series.
From the beginning of your solo career to where it is now, quite a few things have evolved in your sound. One thing seem to remain though is a strong Chicago sound (Larry Heard especially). Is this deliberate or does it just comes to you naturally?
First of all, that’s a very flattering reference. I guess it’s a little bit of both; I’m obviously inspired by everything I listened to, but also I don’t have the intention or desire to make a specific genre of music. By that, I just mean that I don’t like categorizing the music I make or even the music I listen to. I don’t like it when people ask me “what kind of music do you make?”, I always say “it’s music that you would probably dance to…” or “listen to it and see how you feel about it”. Genres in music are not that important to me; I like something or I don’t like it, it’s that simple. I get the whole idea of defining styles in music and I relate to that but I don’t like getting too deep into it.
I really can’t think of anything I’ve ever heard that sounds like the way you mix vocals with instruments. It’s very front and center while retaining an absolute dance focus energy. I imagine it isn’t an easy balance to achieve. Did you have any reference point on that?
That’s such a nice compliment. I actually hear that quite often and it makes me feel very good and confident about what I make. It’s hard doing everything yourself… I’m not gonna lie; I don’t have a lot of experience with mixing in general, even less with recording and mixing vocals. So for me it’s been a huge deal to do all the work. I would usually work with someone else for the recording and mixing part, which is fun cause it’s always good to have a second opinion. But for this record I just needed to accomplish something and prove to myself that I could do it. I think my main reference for mixing is “Everything but the girl”. Tracey Thorn has become a big inspiration for me in the last few years. I just love how her vocals are mixed in and she has such a unique voice.
There seems to be a bit more of a Euro dance feel to your latest releases. Also a lot more Acid sounds. What music has been floating around during the writing and producing of “Where’s The Party?”
It was really fun to write those tracks but also so strange; it was the beginning of the pandemic (early 2020). Right before that all started, I was DJing a lot and partying pretty hard. I listened to a lot of techno and late 90s/early 2000s tech-house. It’s funny cause the music I make is far from being techno. I think “Where’s the Party?” is the interpretation of everything I feel when I go out and play/party. It’s all the excitement and joy I feel that I turn into music. I always loved being at parties and taking a moment to take notes in my phone and writing down everything that goes through my mind. Most of the time it’s really funny stuff, but it also can get really sad sometimes.
You sing on all of your tracks except the remixes, do you see yourself as a songwriter primarily? Could you describe your creative process?
I actually never really thought about that… I don’t consider myself a good writer that’s for sure, but I do like the aspect of vocals and electronic music together. It can often create a sound that’s a lot more unique. I will always write the music first, make some loops and try to come up with some vocal melody, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t… I also don’t use any external gear, I make everything with Ableton Live and I just crack a lot of VSTs. But when I started making electronic music (around age 15 I think), I was dedicated to making instrumental music only. I was never a singer, I played drums for 10 years and in high school I really got into Kraftwerk and The Postal Service (haha). All that to say that at some point, I gave a shot at singing, and it first sounded terrible, but I guess I did figure it out in the end!
What themes are you touching on lyrically with that new EP?
With lyrics you never have to look too far to find inspiration. I think it’s important to laugh and to not take yourself too seriously; that doesn’t mean you don’t care about stuff, it’s just adopting a more modest attitude towards music. I remember my ex bought a bunch of random graphic t-shirts on Mont-Royal and one had writing all over it that said “tonight my dance is all about you”. I immediately wanted to make a track out of it, haha! And when I think about “Go Home”, I remember I was kind of struggling emotionally and I was talking to my friend who was also going through stuff, and I told him “we don’t have the time to be sad anymore; all we have to do is make music all night long”. That night I went to the studio and recorded all of the vocals for that song; I was so hyped. So I guess you could say I am inspired by stuff that happens to me… it’s not that complicated in the end.
When I think of you, I always see you as part of seemingly loose crew consisting of Lis Dalton, Regular Fantasy, the n10.as family, Priori, etc. You guys seem very tight knit, are you just friends or do you see this more as an entity/collective?
Oh we are definitely friends! We just all happen to be part of this same community/scene… I think it’s so awesome that I get to be surrounded by all these talented people; that’s definitely something that keeps me going.
Berlin? Quebec City? Montreal? Could you tell us what each of these cities brought you both artistically and personally?
I am gonna start with Quebec City since this is where I was born and that’s where I started making music. It was pretty interesting to start playing shows so young; Quebec City was thriving back then, people would go out to shows all the time. I felt the need to leave at some point just cause I needed to experience something different. I can’t imagine what would have happened to me if I had stayed there… I moved to Montreal in 2011 and met all the friends I have now and I’m so grateful for it. It brought me so much love and open-mindedness… great parties too, haha! It’s funny cause at some point I really wanted to move to Berlin and I was kind of tired of being in Montreal. I ended up just going there every year for 3 months (longest time you could be there without a visa). So it was honestly the perfect balance. I had my “real” life and long-term friends in Montreal but also was able to party in Berlin and play shows. It sort of started feeling like home at some point; I just felt genuinely comfortable there. I really miss it and cannot wait to go back to dance for 24 hours straight.
Could you tell us more about joining forces with La Rama for this EP; is this a ‘one off’ (for now) or do you already have more releases planned in the series?
In the first place I was going to release the EP on my own label “Your Approval Isn’t Needed” in a digital format only. In the back of my head I still really wanted to release it on vinyl but obviously had absolutely no money, haha. I talked to Jeanne (Gene Tellem) and she told me I should talk to Kris. He was really into the tracks and just offered me to release the whole thing. I feel super lucky to be working with a local label/record store that I respect so much. Hopefully this isn’t the last one I’m putting out with them!
How did you approach the mix accompanying this interview?
I literally just picked a bunch of tracks and records that I hadn’t had the chance to play yet. I wanted to make a really upbeat mix. I always have a lot of fun doing that; it makes me feel hopeful and excited for the parties that are coming in the future…
Can you tell us what comes next for you in the future?
Hopefully a lot of gigs, haha! But who knows what will happen; everything is so uncertain. I try to live day by day; I wait and see what will happen the next day and I go from there. It’s pretty stressful being unemployed and trying to make music. I’ve been going through a hard time lately, I don’t feel very creative… But I know that it will come back at some point. A lot of friends around me are going through the same thing and it’s always good to know you’re not alone in your struggle. I really want to start working on new stuff in the fall, it’s usually a good time for me to write music.
Interview by OJPB aka Bowly