Q&A: Le Trouble
Montreal-based five-piece Le Trouble is made up of twenty percent jamming and eighty percent hanging out. They're five introverts who just happen to love making well-crafted pop music, but instead of reaching for the top of the charts, they write for themselves. We caught up with Le Trouble keyboardist/singer Michael Mooney to discuss their new record, Making Matters Worse.
Legend has it that Le Trouble experienced some brush with success with the "American pop machine" but have also faced its "share of setbacks." That's a fair amount of peril to be self-aware of. What happened exactly and how have you grown from this experience?
From absolute and utter obscurity we were contacted by a junior A&R gent at a major label imprint. At first we were convinced it was a joke. It’s the same story you hear from a lot of bands; to get us through the door they pulled out all the stops. Once inside the barn, we had no support and our release floundered. The lesson we learnt was to do shit on your own. Define yourself. The band and the message became better defined, more ‘real’ that way. Our independent label experience has been way more fruitful and closer to who we are anyway.
In employing the phrase, "Making matters worse," I sense a sardonic streak within your work together. The songs are direct and arranged hopefully but I get the impression there's a darker undercurrent. How do you suppose you've arrived at your mode of expression as a band?
Music has been infinitely more enjoyable since we stopped taking it seriously—since we stopped expecting something from it, being precious with it. The album, its title, and the performances on it are driven by the desire to be free of the yoke of bullshit. It’s an exercise in escapism. That’s probably what started the band and that’s the spirit that keeps it going. It’s a celebration of unemployment insurance and software updates, takeaway food and waiting in line at the IGA to buy cigarettes and lemonade--the ‘good life.’ Not the idealized life but the real day-to-day slog. That’s the miracle, whatever it is and wherever it happens to be.
Have you been personally impacted by local or international political developments and, if so, does it pervade your songwriting at all?
Politics, international or otherwise…Jesus…what a shit show. I’d say all that madness just makes us wanna let the mad world turn, play our tunes, entertain people, and have criminal amounts of fun doing it.
A recent article wondered if rock music was still relevant. Do you feel guitar-based rock music is as powerful a force as it could be?
Yeah, rock and the generation that it spoke for and to is dying, retiring, playing golf etc. But its recession is intertwined with its cultural absorption. Kayne West’s Yeezus has a real punk energy. And hip-hop acts (the good ones) fucking rock live.
As a rock band, do you spend much time thinking about the form and your contribution to it?
While we ain’t inventing anything, I think a few tunes on the record sound like no other rock band. That’s something. That matters to us, or to me at least.
What do you most like and dislike about performing at or attending music festivals these days?
Love the catering, the swag bag (free shades, branded hoodies, shoes; I’m poor and will take and wear whatever is given to me) is muchly appreciated. Nothing too much to hate. The weather can be a bitch (black denim in the Mexican heat will flatten any rock athlete) but the experience of playing to an audience that would otherwise never have seen you is magnificent.
What's next for you?
Touring, life on the road—sharing beds with drunk sweaty band mates, street meat, gear sharing, texting the girlfriends. Hopefully we make it to countries we’ve never been to in support of the new record; that’d be a very appreciated reward for all the work we put into to making this little record—35 minutes or so of slovenly honest drunk Glam Garage Pop.
See Le Trouble at Hillside Inside!
Saturday February 11, 2017
Royal Electric Bar & Public Eatery
(Co-presented with Downtown Guelph Business Association as part of Guelph Music Weekends)