La SecuriteOne of Quebec’s most anticipated rock albums of 2023 was released June 16. The first opus of the supergroup La Sécurité includes 10 screeching post-punk songs, along with sensitive ballads like “K9,” an ode to singer and multi-instrumentalist Melissa Di Menna’s beloved old female dog. “The moment I listened to it, I knew it belonged on the album,” said lead singer Éliane Viens-Synnott. The other La Sécurité members are Laurence-Anne, Choses Sauvages bassist Félix Bélisle, and Kenneth David Smith.

This first album was speedily recorded earlier in 2023: five weeks of intensive studio work with an eye toward a summer release. “We’d never experienced such a tight schedule before,” says Viens-Synnott, adding that the band was toying with the idea of releasing an album as far back as the fall of 2022. “But seeing that there was already a buzz about the project when we performed our first shows [in the summer of 2022] and started releasing singles, a summer release was the logical thing to do if we wanted to take advantage of the season to perform live shows, and not least because Laurence-Anne will be releasing her new album [Oniromancie] in September, and Choses Sauvages will start writing their next album this winter.”

“Ours is a rather atypical path,” she adds. The band itself is atypical. A supergroup, bringing together an established woman singer-songwriter (Laurence-Anne, who’s already released two albums); the lead singer of Choses Sauvages (Félix Bélisle, who also co-produced this album with Samuel Gemme); Jesuslesfilles’s keyboardist (Melissa Di Menna); as well as Kenneth David Smith and Éliane Viens-Synnott, who were both leading music projects before La Sécurité.

Does Stay Safe! sum up all of those musical achievements? Yes, but no: members have created this project so they could do something different, Viens-Synnott explains. She describes La Sécurité as being “focused on dance-punk, and a DIY approach. It’s a blend of experience cooked up with our own particular sauce. We love blending ambiences, and having a party, with songs that include darker lyrics.”

La Securite, Hot Topic, Video

Click on the image to play the La Sécurité video “Hot Topic”

The singer and keyboardist penned lyrics to the album’s 10 songs, some performed in French and some in English. “I’m not one to write much ahead of time, though,” she says. “I keep a small notebook where I can empty my head, I’ve always done that. Sometimes it leads to a song sketch, sometimes it’s just poetry that nobody else will ever read. When a tune is starting to take shape, I think, ‘Oh yes, I might have something in my notebook that would fit here.’ I take the lyrics and re-work them. When it’s in French, Félix helps me to get rid of English-sounding phrases,” says Viens-Synnott, who’s originally Francophone, but was raised around Calgary.

Musically speaking, “we generally write as a band,” she says. “Félix and Kenny will find a groove, and then we’ll add guitar sounds and synth melodies until we come up with something that makes everybody’s happy.” There are lots of references to the post-punk/no wave/synth-pop styles of 40 years ago (Bush Tetras, ESG, Gang of Four, etc.), with a touch of 1990s alternative rock.

La Sécurité had only performed a handful of shows before recording their album, including one in a Rouyn-Noranda tanning salon during the Festival de Musique Émergente. As Stay Safe! was about to be released, the band’s performances became more energetic and self-assured, says Viens-Synnott.

“We performed six shows as part of the [March 2022] South by Southwest Festival [in Austin, Texas], and it brought us closer to one another just after recording the album. We lived together throughout the festival, we travelled together – we all were friends already, but that experience solidified something in our band. We felt it during our first show at Festival Santa Theresa. Many people commented later that the show had a different feel. Plus the fact that the conditions at Festival Santa Teresa were bizarre, with a roof that was leaking over the audience during our performance…”