Fresh off a performance at last weekend’s Music New Brunswick Awards held in Saint John, Moncton-based Francophone rock band Les Hotesses d’Hilaire are scaring up something good for their next performance.
The acclaimed, award-winning group take the stage of Moncton’s Plan B Lounge on Halloween night, next Thursday evening.
Comprised of members Serge Brideau, Maxence Cormier, Mico Roy, Michel Vienneau and Léandre Bourgeois, the group takes their name from a rather amusing encounter with Brideau’s father Hilaire.
Formed about four years ago, the group came together when Brideau was looking for a backing band. The remainder of Les Hotesses d’Hilaire were playing with another band at the time and just happened to be looking for a vocalist. If timing is everything, the timing for these two musical forces to come together couldn’t have been more perfect.
“I had been performing as a solo artist and had played a few shows with the members of Les Paiens backing me up,” Brideau begins. “The band that Mico and Michel were a part of were suddenly looking for a singer as their vocalist had taken an acting opportunity that took him to Montreal. Each of us knew of the other through mutual friends and so it only made sense that we would see if something could work between us.”
While musical chemistry is not something that can be forced, Brideau says that everyone clicked almost immediately. Brideau shared some of his solo songs with his new band mates who immediately began working to improve upon the tracks. From there, the songs flowed rather freely through a series of improvisational practice sessions. Brideau credits those sessions as having been an integral part of helping the group define their sound.
“We were practicing three or four times a week, doing a lot of improvisation during these practices in effort to refine the group’s sound,” he says. “It was a necessary exercise as we were each bringing a different set of influences to the table.”
After earning three Music New Brunswick Awards for their debut release, the group set about writing and recording Hilaire A Boire, the group’s full-length effort released this past May. Since then, Brideau estimates the group has played upwards of 50 shows including 23 concerts in France this past summer. While overseas, Brideau says that Les Hotesses d’Hilaire routinely played for upwards of 3,000 people per night as a part of a music festival held in the La Bretagne region of France.
“France is such a big market but we were very warmly received. We had never performed for such a responsive audience of that size. It was a great experience for the band.”
Once the group’s show next Thursday has passed, Brideau anticipates that Les Hotesses d’Hilaire will lay low until the winter. He says that the group has a collection of new material to be recorded and hopes that the winter will see them begin recording the follow-up to Hilaire A Boire. Naturally, the band’s sound and songs have only gotten more refined given the vast amount of shows they have under their collective belts.
Although there is no firm date on when their next album will be released, Serge confirms the band will be working with Acadian musician Pascal Lejeune on their next record. After having such a great time working with Lejeune to make Hilaire A Boire, Brideau says that there was little question as to whether they would work with Lejeune again.
“We work incredibly well with Pascal,” Brideau says. “We have been friends for a long time so there is no shyness or intimidation when it comes to being in the studio together. That is something rather important in order for us to make the record that we want to make. We want to make a record that is pure and with as few overdubs as possible.
“We have spent so much time together and have grown as musicians so that when we are writing, there is a natural flow to what we are doing. It’s good; I like to think we are much more confident with our songs and comfortable with being on stage.”
Article published in the October 25, 2013 edition of the Times & Transcript