Catherine DurandCatherine Durand is an unwavering perfectionist. Ever since she began her career, people have gotten used to the long gaps between her albums. True to her usual pace, four years have gone by since the release of her previous album, Les murs blancs du Nord, and her latest, La pluie entre nous. “It’s a slow gestation,” says Durand. “I don’t write a lot, and I don’t write fast.”

And then, at some point, the artist “owns” her album. “That definitely is a real moment,” she says. “You can write several songs and end up keeping none of them, just as you can write two in an hour that will both end up on the album. You can never know what will make it or not. I’m always on a quest. But all if it happens through a trial-and-error process… Where I want to take things, musically and lyrically. It takes time to figure all that out and make it happen.”

The quest, for this sixth album, was a many-headed beast. After 18 years in this trade, the singer-songwriter naturally feels like it’s time to take stock, and she felt a deep-rooted desire to surprise people, and herself: “This need for change, surprises, meant I had to work with new people, a new producer,” says Durand. “I needed someone like Emmanuel Éthier, whom I already knew. I loved the vibe of Jimmy Hunt’s album Maladie d’amour [which he produced] and I contacted him via Facebook…” Durand didn’t even know if he’d heard her previous work, but it didn’t matter: “In fact, it’s probably better, when you want to start from scratch!”

Durand, with the help of a host of high-calibre collaborators, definitely seems to have found what she was looking for. Partners in crime such as José Major, Joe Grass, Salomé Leclerc and Ariane Moffatt all pitched in, magnifying her songs without saturating them. “My melodic lines are still clearly mine, but there’s something more minimal – and more efficient,” says Durand. “It’s very contemporary. But not overly so. It bugs me when certain sounds are too contemporary… For example, right now, PJ Harvey, and a ton of other artists, throw in a saxophone solo. It feels like everyone’s doing it, so I won’t. I like classic, timeless sounds.”

This is also apparent in the lyrical themes of the new album. “It’s about personal relationships, whether its friendship, love, or family,” says Durand. “The love is there, but getting closer to people who are there is always difficult. Being comfortable together, despite the hurdles, even though it’s not always easy to tread the same path together.”

Self-produced for a few years, now, Durand has decided to launch her own record label. “I love being in control of my business, thinking about it from a business perspective and not always strictly as a creator,” she says. “That spark sometimes doesn’t come easy, but I think it’s a very good thing, in the end. Obviously, I’m very close to my project, it’s my career, my whole life, so I do take things more personally. It’s normal to be more sentimental about what’s happening to you.”

And the burning question on everyone’s lips lately: What about streaming? “At the root of any industry are creators,” says Durand. “Without songs, there would be no record labels, no publishers, no live shows, etc. The root of this whole industry are songwriters and composers. Right now, it seems like the only ones making money with music are the ones distributing it, everyone but the creator. It’s a grave imbalance that needs to be fixed. Cable providers pay money to a fund that re-invests in content creation; why don’t we have something similar for music? I’ve been doing this for 18 years, so I’m much more serene and down to earth. One day, we’ll need actual solutions. I’m very clear about what’s going on and I have faith that things will get better. Problem is, I think it’ll take a long time.”