Published Sep 27, 2018When Ourielle Auvé (aka Ouri) first arrived in Montreal, the electronic producer knew right away it was where she wanted to call home. Born and raised in Guyana, Ouri moved here after living in France, "Because of the free and open-minded attitude here; it's not as saturated as what I experienced in Paris," she tells Exclaim! "The life quality is good, secure and relatively free-minded. I also fell in love with the extreme weather."
While anyone who's spent a winter in Quebec's bitter, sub-zero temperatures might scratch their heads over romanticizing that aspect of Montreal, Ouri quickly discovered it was also an ideal community for her to explore its diverse electronic music scene.
"I just got used to the Montreal pace," she explains. "Here you can really have the space and time to create. There are a lot of artistic creators in many fields but it doesn't feel overcrowded."
She is taking full advantage of the city's thriving scene. Recently Ouri spent time in the studio with another one of Montreal's rising stars, Helena Deland. "I really didn't know what to expect, and neither did she," Ouri says. "Our studio time is almost finished now, but it's been an incredible, fun, free, intense and rich experience."
Ouri quickly settled into the music scene and began to turn heads with her warm, textured digital R&B. She released Maze, her debut EP, in 2015, followed by both a full-length, Superficial, and a collaborative EP with vocalist Mind Bath last year. This past January, she was invited to perform her very own Boiler Room session, a highly coveted opportunity by any upstart producer.
"[That] was maybe the most intense experience I've ever had," she admits. "It felt like I was being dissected, like I couldn't hide at all. But it felt good to perform like that. I think people could really understand my music in this context. I hadn't played a lot of live performances before, so I didn't know what to expect either. It's actually one of the only times I've performed feeling no external expectations. I loved it."
After performing at this summer's Mutek and Festival de Jazz de Montréal events, Ouri is now ready to keep the momentum going with her new EP, which will be released globally by her new label, Ghostly International (she remains on Make It Rain here in Canada). We Our Share Blood marks a big step forward, not just for her music, but how she put it all together. Although she has always looked to collaborate with others, she went out on her own this time around.
"I wanted to put forward my own perspective, for what it's worth, and not hide behind any preconceptions people might have," she explains. "I've experienced some trust issues and it helped me grow self-reliability. Collaboration is part of my musical journey; it's one of my favourite things about being a musician. But I'll definitely keep some projects intimate to fully express [myself], when it's needed. It felt so natural and necessary. I know my direction and I want to lead listeners there."
On We Share Our Blood, Ouri continues to probe cavernous spaces with rumbling pulsations and deep bass with her production, but it's the advancement of her breathy, sensuous vocals that indicates her greatest development as an artist. Her latest single "Escape" even flirts with pop, embodying vivid melodies and a defined, yet loose form.
"[We Our Share Blood] is more obvious in terms of structure of sounds," she says. "But I wanted this record to be the first one where I use my voice in a clear and upfront manner. It's less abstract for me. In the past, I was shaping my sound, but with this record I was also shaping my expression and intentions more clearly. This project was the most direct one I've ever made. Voice is the most direct musical medium, in my opinion. I decided I had to use all the available tools I have, including singing."
For Ouri, though, keeping her music ambiguous and even a little puzzling is a goal for her, even as she moves towards a more accessible sound. "I still don't want to have a specific genre associated to my music, but I feel like references are less all over the place on this record," she says. "Now sounds, words, timbres and genres mix in a cohesive way — it's less experimental."
We Share Our Blood is out now via Make It Rain and Ghostly International.