Five Questions With… Les Louanges
The Felix-winning Quebec composer and multi-instrumentalist Vincent Roberge made the Polaris Prize shortlist this year, and is now making moves internationally. Here he discusses this validation, his fave songs on the record, early memories of Johnny Cash, and a love of Moby.
By Jason Schneider
Les Louanges is the musical alter ego of Quebec composer and multi-instrumentalist Vincent Roberge, whose jazz-infused and poetic pop sound has been lauded in his home province. Roberge is now stepping onto the national stage after his 2018 debut full-length album La nuitestunepanthère was shortlisted for this year’s Polaris Prize.
Often cited as part of the new wave of artists who skillfully blend genres to create their own, Les Louanges first appeared on the scene with the EP Le Mercure, which set the stage for La nuitestunepanthère becoming an immediate hit with critics and audiences. For much of the first half of 2019, Roberge was hopping back and forth across the Atlantic for showcases that included SXSW and France’s Rencontres Trans Musicales.
By the fall the accolades began pouring in; along with the Polaris recognition, Les Louanges earned nine nominations for Quebec’s prestigious Félix Awards, ultimately going home with three trophies, including Record of the Year.
Building on this momentum, Les Louanges released the Expansion Pack EP this past September containing four new songs that signal the direction Roberge might be heading for the follow up to La nuitestunepanthère. We spoke with him prior to his highly anticipated show at Toronto’s Drake Underground on Dec. 4, to be followed by what promises to be a triumphant appearance opening for Belgian pop star Angele at Montreal’s Bell Centre on Dec. 13.
Congrats on making the Polaris shortlist with La nuitestunepanthere and for the other accolades it has received. Do you feel that it's validated your artistic vision for the record?
Thanks so much! I was very proud to be included in this year's shortlist. Being a francophone living in Quebec, it can be hard to tell how my music is appreciated outside of the province. I’m glad it resonated with the jury and the rest of Canada.
What songs on the record are you most proud of and why?
On La nuit I would have to choose DMs. I feel it’s the song that represents best what I tried to do with the record. It’s the perfect blend of electronic textures and live takes. It really encapsulates the balance I wanted to find. On Expansion Pack, it’s Parc Ex. The lyrics are super personal and I think my production skills took a step forward with this one.
What are your fondest musical memories as you were growing up?
Jammed Johnny Cash songs with my uncles and grandpa on the eves of Christmas.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written?
My parents listened to Moby’s Play a lot on our family road trips, so that record definitely had a big impact on me. I wish I had written anything on it.
What's something you'd like added and/or changed on your Wikipedia page?
That’s a good question because it seems I only have a Wikipedia page written in English right now. A French version would be nice!