Hubert Lenoir #MONTREAL
Many artists are looking for a place in the industry to thrive in, but Hubert is here to make space for himself. Hubert Lenoir of Quebec City dropped his Polaris Music Prize nominated, debut solo album, Darlène, in 2018 and has been making an impact on the Montreal art scene ever since. Lenoir’s “Paul McCartney-esque” attempt, Darlène, explores brave themes of love with a myriad of new instrumental and sound combinations, with hits like Ton Hôtel that give his album even more depth.
In this episode, we pick at Lenoir’s brain to figure out the creative process behind Darlène, what drives his attitude, and his outlook on the Montreal music industry.
How do you listen to Darlène?
There's no rules on anything. You can do whatever you want. It’s not like a conceptual album like other conceptual albums are. I just wanted singles and pop songs. There are instrumentals and then there's your songs like Momo that are just like jazzy and instrumental. I also wanted pop bangers because I love artists like Prince and and all these other artists that just makes radical albums and have such radical ideas but also always down to throw a couple of catchy pop songs and in the mix.
What is the inspiration behind Ton Hôtel?
It's one of those songs that were written in the process of making the Darlène album. I remember the idea came from these songs that I've came up from free-styling over like a simple drum beat beat. On the Darlene album, I was more into classic songwriting stuff and I kind of wanted to prove to myself that I could do it like some Paul McCartney shit and just write chords and stuff. So most of the album was written with a piano and my voice or like with a guitar. I just came up with the catchphrase that I thought was really good and there's like some of my favorite lyrics on the entire album on this track and I really like it.
What are the three key words about your song?
Layered, colors, and empowering.
Why do you think your music resonates so much with people, given that you have such a “don’t care” attitude?
I think it’s because I’m just being myself. I am just trying to make pop music in the way I conceive it; I’m not trying to be punk, alternative, or underground. To me, it’s a normal process of people digging it. It doesn’t please everybody, but that’s cool. I like it this way.
Where do you get this bold confidence from?
I never had this confidence. I played guitar and sang songs in a band before but I wasn’t that confident with my ideas. I just learned to trust myself and my ideas and it’s been a work in progress.
How do you feel about performing? Do you have a different persona on stage?
No I don’t, I am just being me. But it is me that is on stage and there are people in the audience, which is very different from going to the grocery store. On stage, you have to do something for the audience. I don’t put too much thinking into performing. People always ask “what are you thinking when you’re performing” but the trick is that you just don’t think. I also don’t like live shows because they don’t last.
What is the significance of being Quebec City artist?
You don’t have to come from a big city to do art. Although there’s not a big music city, Quebec City is getting better with the art scene. We still have our Arcade Fire or Drake. It doesn’t matter. Just do your thing.
What are some of your favorite places in Quebec City?
I like the Le Pantoum, which is a recording studio/rehearsal space where you can hang out too. I worked and recorded my album there.
What are three records that you like?
One of them is Sortie Dubois by Claude Dubois. It has really warm drums, a 70’s production, and a LA vibe to the record. The other one is SpeakerBoxx/The Love Below by Outkast. I love hiphop, rnb, and jazz, which this record has all of it. The last one is Aja by Steely Dan. It also has a very warm and nice sounding 70’s production.