Published Sep 23, 2019"Sometimes love stories lead to art, but sometimes friendship stories do too," Montreal-based actor and musician Évelyne Brochu says in an interview with Exclaim! about her debut album, Objets perdus — a collaborative recording with singer-songwriter, producer and Brochu's longtime friend, Félix Dyotte.
Brochu met Dyotte when she was 17, and a mutual love of music became the foundation of their friendship. With Dyotte's encouragement, Brochu became a backing vocalist for his first bands and in 2016, the pair released a duet entitled "C'est l'été, c'est l'été, c'est l'été." They eventually agreed to make an album together, and Dyotte got to work writing and composing Objets perdus. For Brochu, the album's an incredible gift.
"I can't believe what he did for me," Brochu says about Dyotte. "Making art is already something that takes a lot of commitment, but offering it to somebody else is insane. It's beautiful. I'm very touched by that. What a kind, beautiful gesture."
Brochu's acting résumé includes roles in movies by Denis Villeneuve and Xavier Dolan. She was also in the CBC TV series X Company, but is perhaps best known for her role as Delphine Cormier in the sci-fi show Orphan Black. Growing up, Brochu liked to sing and took piano and drum lessons. But her mom, a cello teacher, was passionate about music, and Brochu wanted to forge her own identity.
"I wanted to define myself and not do her thing. So I think that's why I stepped away from [music] and went towards acting. That's my interpretation, and a cheap psychoanalysis, but I think that might be it," Brochu explains.
Recorded and mixed by Philippe Brault, Objets perdus is a collection of pop songs that borrow from '70s folk-rock and '80s synth-pop. In each track, a softness, akin to slipping into your favourite sweatshirt, envelops listeners. Brochu says that heading into the studio there wasn't a plan for how the record was going to sound; instead, they allowed the songs to unfold naturally. The resulting softness is something that Brochu is very happy with.
"I feel like some times call for a revolution, but right now the revolution we need is tenderness and joy and love. There's so much aggressive and decisive energy, I think that a little bit of tenderness is quite delicious," Brochu says.
The making of Objets perdus was a creative experience unlike any that Brochu has been a part of. For an actor, it's rare to get insight into every stage of the creative process, so for Brochu to witness each stage of the album's creation was, as she describes, "magic." She also credits Dyotte and the album's entire creative team for fostering an atmosphere in which she felt comfortable presenting her true self.
"My best friend heard the songs and said, 'I've heard you singing for a long time, but this is the first time that I hear you when you're singing.' I think that was the best compliment that she could ever give me," Brochu says.
"That's what interests me in art. I'm interested in characters when they are a vector of liberation for even more truth to come out. Singing is not like talking. Singing is not like me sitting in front of you telling you an anecdote about my life. That would be, if you could call it, super truthful. But I think there's another layer of truth that only art can bring."
Brochu asserts that Objets perdus won't be a one-off release, and says that her and Dyotte are already planning future projects; they just need to find the time to work on them. Much like how Objets perdus is rooted in Brochu and Dyotte's friendship, Brochu hopes that listeners can find a companion in the album.
"The thing I find coolest about music is that it can be part of people's lives. You can include it in your life you don't have to stop living for the art to get to you," Brochu says. "Cinema and theatre, you have to get to a place, sit down, and live it. It's an interruption of life, whereas music blends in with your memories and your life. The hope is that this album can be part of people's lives."
Objets perdus is out now on Grosse Boîte.