Audiogram Ariane Moffatt, the sophisticated Quebecois pop artist who recently…
- Posted on Nov 16th 2012 2:20PM by Jen Zoratti
That momentum shows no signs of slowing thanks to this week's release of MA Remix -- an EP featuring six songs dramatically reworked by Montreal DJ/producer Poirier.
"I'm super happy with," Moffatt, the confirmed non-sex addict, tells Spinner the morning after release day. "It's not a musical revolution -- it's an EP -- but the process and the result satisfied me very much."
Moffatt hadn't actually planned to do a full EP. She was interested in getting one song from MA, "Too Late," remixed, "and I thought of Poirier," she says. "We had a friend in common. He came to my place and we started talking."
Poirier has no shortage of bonafides. He's one of Montreal's best beatmakers and has released a half-dozen albums over the last decade, including two on Ninja Tune, 2007's No Ground Under and 2010's Running High. One song quickly evolved into plans for a full EP, and Moffatt handed Poirier the reins when it came to creative direction.
"I said to him, 'you need to be an ambassador and guardian of this project'."
Still, both artists have strong personalities and equally strong visions. Poirier wasn't interested in doing straight-ahead club-style remixes. Moffatt, meanwhile, was worried the original songs would get lost completely.
"I was a bit hesitant at first," she admits. "It wasn't the kind of remix where you can recognize the original songs -- but it's great."
She was in good hands. Moffatt's work is thoughtfully and artfully re-imagined on the fearless, forward-thinking MA Remix. The EP complements the original, but it's a cohesive, fully realized release in its own right. And it's an impressive display of talent -- in addition to Poirier's track and Moffatt's own remix of "Walls of the World," Austin, Texas-based producer Dubbel Dutch and former Montrealer Nautiluss both offer takes on the ethereal "Hôtel Amour," Toronto dub-dancehall duo Bonjay add spice to "L'homme dans l'automobile," and Montreal live-electro trio Plaster transform "In Your Body" into a sexy after-party jam.
"I wanted to reintroduce some tracks that maybe didn't get exposure on the record," Moffatt says of the EP. She also recognizes that MA Remix is an opportunity to get acquainted with an even broader audience.
"That was the other thing -- with the blogs and this really specific field of electronic music, the songs can be listened to on platforms I wouldn't have considered," she says. "And maybe someone listening will discover the originals -- and discover me."
It seems lots of people have been discovering Moffatt as of late. The singer/songwriter has built her anglo fanbase slowly -- the same way any emerging artist would.
"It was one step at a time," she says. "It was an experience with all the little stops of CMJ and CMW and all the other things you do when you're starting out. I had no expectations."
Still, she's careful not to pander to exclusively English-speaking audiences.
"I like to be an ambassador for French, too," she says. "I carry that identity with me."
Besides, Moffatt's music is so evocative, so sensual, that it doesn't matter if you can understand the lyrics. It's still possible to "get it," even if the whole of your French comes from a Grade 7 textbook.
"I think everyone understands what 'Hôtel Amour' means," she says with a laugh. "I wanted the music to have connection with the words, but for the listener who's not good in French, I think it's easier."
In the spring Moffatt employed the power of music in a different way. She reworked the lyrics to a 2008 song called "Jeudi, 17 Mai" to comment on the political crisis in Quebec and protest the passing of Bill 78 -- the provincial government's controversial legal response to Quebec's student protests over tuition hikes. (The bill was repealed in the fall after PQ leader Pauline Marois ousted premier Jean Charest in September's hotly contested general election.)
"I had never used my music to express a political belief or position," she says. "But I was so ashamed because we had leadership that wasn't listening. The morning after 78 passed, I was really mad and I wanted to do something."
So she recorded "Jeudi, 17 Mai" and posted it at 3 p.m. that day. It went viral.
"It was amazing to see the immediate effect of an artistic gesture," she says. "I was there with them. That's the power of music, too."