Essaie pas is a Montreal-based electronic duo comprised of Marie Davidson, best known as a solo artist, who has released two highly acclaimed solo albums, and Pierre Guerineau, best known for his production work on acclaimed indie artists such as Dirty Beaches and Femminielli. Officially formed during the summer of 2010, the French Canadian duo caught the attention of DFA Records with a sound that consists of minimalist and industrial electronics, big power chord guitars and Davidson’s sultry mumbling and cooing in Quebecois. And as a result, the renowned label invited the duo to play with British electronic act Factory Floor, during their North American debut tour.
The duo’s full-length debut Demain est une autre nuit (Tomorrow Is Another Night) was largely inspired by a series of unfortunate circumstances. As the story goes, when the duo returned from their first European tour they had discovered that they had lost both their apartment and their rehearsal space/recording studio La Brique. La Brique fell victim to the sort of rapid gentrification and property speculation that should be familiar to New Yorkers, Chicagoans and Los Angelinos; however, they actually lost their apartment over a bitter conflict with their landlord — and during the middle a Montreal winter, without much in the way of prospects. Eventually they lucked into a temporary practice space at the offices of Les Filles Electriques, an independent interdisciplinary festival producer during their off-hours and the space quickly became Guerineau’s studio and Davidson’s home. The empty, industrial building was full of a variety of corridors that Davidson used to work out during winter nights, running throughout through the building listening to techno, acid and Italian disco — and finding herself inspired by the space and the music she had been listening to. “This environment influenced our music,”Guerineau explained in press notes. “The sounds are more clear and open, the production has more depth, on a full frequency range.” And their living conditions while on tour were another influence. As Guerineau noted, “Staying at different people’s places around the world for a whole year accentuates the feeling of being a stranger wherever you go, even in your own town, but also creates a feeling of being part of an international community, opposed to a scene that exists only in one city.”
Demain est une autre nuit’s first single “Le port du masque est de rigueur,” is a tense yet sexy and cinematic bit of industrial/goth-leaning electronica consisting of layers of undulating and buzzing synth stabs, propulsive drum programming, some industrial clang and clatter and Guerineau and Davidson’s vocals chanting and cooing lyrics in French. In some way, the song sounds as though it draws equally from Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” as it does from Depeche Mode‘s “People Are People” and Depeche Mode’s “I Feel Loved” — but with a chilly sense of menace; it’s the sort of song that evokes shadowy and sweaty clubs, even shadowier bars and alleyways.