Spearheaded by Tame Impala mastermind Kevin Parker, the neo-psych movement has leveraged psychedelic rock as one of the most popular genres of today. Most modern groups like Allah-Las, DRINKS, and Sunbeam Sound Machine hail from warm cities on the coasts of America and Australia. Thus, it would surprise many to learn that the reverb-soaked, sunny rock of Anemone comes from snowy Montréal. Founded in 2015, Anemone is the solo project of French Canadian singer and multi-instrumentalist Chloé Soldevila. While the band has not released a full-length album, single “Endless Dive” and demos “Sunshine” and “People Like Mirrors” carve a clear path for the twangy, airy sound Soldevila seeks.
Anemone completed their first US Tour last fall, opening for slacker-psychedelic group Mild High Club. Friends Miles Dupire-Gagnon, Zach Irving, Gabriel Lambert, and Samuel Gemme accompany Soldevila as her backing band on tour.
By Natalie Soler
RARE CANDY: As a band, how have you reconciled living in Montréal with drawing inspiration from the energy and ambience of California’s psychedelic scene?
Chloe: It sucks. I was first really inspired by the trips I had to the West Coast, but I surprised myself by being inspired by so many other things that I also see living in Montréal. Montréal is a fun place to live. There are good vibes to be focused, and I have everything in my heart and in my head.
RARE CANDY: What can you tell me about Montréal’s music scene? What are the best and worst parts?
Chloe: The Montréal music scene is so great. There’s so much diversity and there’s a lot of friendship; people really do try to help each other out. Some really great acts have come out of Montréal. The best part would probably be easy access to spaces and people. Montréal affords great opportunities for up and coming musicians, since it’s a very accessible city with many venues to play. As for the worst part? I’m not really sure. There’s nothing bad about Montréal. So many people contribute to make the city a really great place, and there’s even a thriving music scene within the college community. It’s such an affordable city, so it’s very easy for musicians to make music living a simple lifestyle. People come from all over the place to live in Montréal. So, in conclusion? I don’t really know the worst part.
Gabriel: Winter would probably be the worst part. Still, it’s not that big of a deal and doesn’t affect the music scene. Sometimes it’s even better because it’s something to do when the weather is terrible.
Chloe: That’s true. We recorded most of the record in the wintertime.
RARE CANDY: Can you describe your songwriting and production process? Is there a certain space - whether mental or physical - that you turn to when creating music?
Chloe: When I write, I’m usually in my head. I can’t think of a physical place I usually turn to. It just kinda happens - I’ll get an idea randomly, and have to play it immediately. The rest of the production process is a joint effort with Miles and Gab, Gab especially. They produce the music, so we all have to work together in sculpting songs. I mostly write on the keyboard, but sometimes I write on the guitar. The combination of voice and keyboard would have to be my favorite. I really do love the sound of organs and synths, they really get me inspired. I mostly start with keyboard melodies, and the melody becomes what I sing. Sometimes it’s the other way around - I’ll sing something and then add underlying keyboard melodies. That’s more rare. Every time I write a song, it’s a different process, if I’m being completely honest.
RARE CANDY: Did you play any instruments as a child, and, if so, did they contribute to you choosing psychedelic rock as your main focus?
Chloe: I played classical piano growing up. I guess that’s pretty psychedelic. (Laughs)
RARE CANDY: Piano is definitely a great skill to have.
Chloe: It has allowed me to write the way I do. I really love listening to famous organists and drawing inspiration from them. Classical piano is very melodic as well, so that helps with the way I write. I also played the flute growing up.
RARE CANDY: Let’s talk about the “Endless Dive” music video. Given that many psychedelic rock groups draw from the iconography of the beach, ocean, and desert, what drew you to choosing a snowy field as the set for the video?
Miles: It wasn’t real snow. It was actually fake. We went to the West Coast and hired some people to fill a field with fake snow. That took up more than half of the budget.
Chloe: (Laughing) Oh no, don’t listen to them. How could I explain this best? Snow and ice for me are royal and mysterious compared to the sun. The sun is absolutely happy and shiny, but with it comes less mystery. I wanted to represent the fierceness of girls. That’s what “Endless Dive” is about, mainly - being powerful. I felt that ice made me seem more powerful and a superwoman in that I could dance even in icy conditions. The setting was also chosen as a way to show that our music can bring sunshine anywhere. There’s also a logistical side; I wanted to shoot a music video, and it happened to be winter. So I guess I just did it.
Gabriel: You didn’t really have a choice! [Laughs]
Chloe: I filmed the video at my dad’s house. It was a nice, inspiring spot just outside of Montréal.
RARE CANDY: It is a very regal video, and I definitely grasped that sense of empowerment with the women surrounding you at the beginning of the video.
Chloe: Those were all of my best friends, actually, so it made it even better. It was very important that I include them in the video for this song.
RARE CANDY: The origins of psychedelic rock as a genre draw from its birth as a political statement in opposition to the rise of American conservatism. With fascism as a relevant political topic today, do you feel that neo-psychedelic rock could have a “counter-culture” moment again as it did in the 60s?
Gabriel: I don’t think that psychedelic music nowadays has any political power. Not like rap music does, at least. I think it’s just for kicks.
Zach: It’s definitely just for kicks.
Gabriel: It doesn’t carry heaviness in any way.
Zach: Any form of music could technically take on opposition, but I wouldn’t say that modern psychedelic rock does.
Chloe: It does depend on what you say as a musician. I’m far from any political implications myself.
Miles: With any kind of music, you can have two different styles and carry the same message. Music nowadays is so easy to consume, and people don’t care as much about the style. Because listening to music is so in fashion, it’s less of an active listening experience.
Gabriel: However, I mean, African American music is a lot more political right now than what we do. A lot of it is really relevant right now.
RARE CANDY: Is there any advice from a family member or mentor that you were given as a child that has influenced you as an artist today?
Miles: That it’s a long way to the top. To eat my broccoli.
Chloe: My mom is a performer too, and she always told me to be fabulous. She always stressed the importance of being yourself and being confident when you step on stage. She also taught me to be respectful and positive, and I think I’m a very positive person. I’m not afraid. Not having fear is important in being a musician. You have to be strong; it’s very tiring to be on stage.
RARE CANDY: What’s next for Anemone, and can we expect a full-length LP any time soon?
Chloe: The record is done, actually; it’s being mixed as we speak. It should be out in the next year. I’m hoping for Spring specifically. We’re still talking with some labels and are not sold on how it will come out, so that’s why it will be taking more time. We’re actually going to SXSW in March, which is really great. I’m so excited for that. We’re also going to be playing some great shows in Montréal for an upcoming showcase, kind of like SXSW in Canada. After that, I don’t know… hopefully another tour will come up. I’d love to support another band. Those are the most fun experiences, since you get to play for big audiences and people who don’t know you will be stunned by you. It’s the best way to get your music out there and get close to the band you’re opening for.
LISTEN HERE: https://anemonelovesyou.bandcamp.com