De la reineThere’s a lot going on in Québec City. With so many SOCAN songwriter, composer and publisher members from the Vieille Capitale making increasingly important places for themselves in the industry, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to talk about a Québec City music boom.
And out of that boom, many bands stem from a single venue: Le Pantoum. Located on Saint-Vallier Street, this rehearsal space-cum-studio and multi-disciplinary venue is one powerful engine on the emerging music scene of the city. Acting as an off-official showcase venue during Bourse RIDEAU 2017, Pantoum presented its own lineup of concerts where bands such as De la Reine were able to make themselves known on their own terms, for a crowd of already-acquired fans.

Comprised of SOCAN members Jean-Etienne Collin Marcoux (also a member of Beat Sexu, and one of Pantoum’s founding members), Vincent Lamontagne (X-Ray Zebras, Ghostly Kisses) and Odile Marmet-Rochefort (ex-Men I Trust), De la reine broke onto the scene in late 2016 with an alt-R&B and trip-hop-tinged EP that, as most work in the genres, is more comfortable in English than in French. Yet such is the challenge the trio set for itself.

“We’d had the opportunity to work together on side projects before, so with this band project, we wanted to try composing methods with which we weren’t familiar,” says Jean-Etienne about his band, which just celebrated its first year of existence. “All of us had more creative time ahead of us and we wanted to create something that belonged and resembled us more closely,” says singer Odile Marmet-Rochefort. “Not that the other projects didn’t interest us anymore, but we really wanted this one to be truly ours! And to do it in French, too. Because even though French lyrics were harder for me, they were also more important.”

Marmet-Rochefort’s voice rides atop resolutely jazz and R&B sounds, imbued with pop melodies. “It’s the first time I committed to writing,” says Odile, who shares writing duties with Jean-Etienne in De la Reine.
The band will tour throughout the spring alongside their Pantoum buddies Harfang, and want to ramp up their concerts even more (“with a brass section”, if Marmet-Rochefort has her way), hiring more musicians (“we’d love to have Frank Lafontaine on keys!”) and, ultimately, launch a full-length LP within 18 months.