22 mars 2012

Ariane Moffatt: 'In Your Body' Singer Reassures Us She's No Sex Addict

Before starting the interview, Quebec's reigning queen of electro-pop Ariane Moffatt would like to set the record straight with Spinner: She's not a sex addict. Nor is 'In Your Body,' the first single from her new album 'Ma,' really about sex addiction.

She just got a little carried away with her description of the song when we debuted it back in January. "I wrote a quote inventing some kind of story about the song, because it's not personal stuff. But I said that it happened in my neighbourhood, so it looks like it was for real."

Inspired by her quote, we called the single "a woozy synth-drenched ode to sex addiction."

"I don't remember that!" she laughs. "Maybe I wrote that... But it was all about inventing a character."

And now the media in her home province are quite concerned about the singer's issues.

"Everybody in Quebec after talked to me about this sexual album and this sex dependence thing! I was like 'Oh man! Why does it always have to go with the first degree?' I thought I could just fly with the story, but after that, I had to answer all of these questions about sexual dependence. And it's not even as if it was a personal story!"

The deeper meaning of 'In Your Body' (which, for the record, she believes is more about general obsession than sexual addiction) is really the only thing that's been lost in translation when it comes to the Francophone's recent foray into the English-speaking music scene, though.

After charming Quebec audiences for the past decade, racking up a slew of awards and earning plantinum-selling records in the process, Moffatt seems poised to conquer the rest of the world. And 'Ma' -- a heady mix of French and English songs boasting sexy (but not in a dependent way) synths and smooth, electro-fied pop -- should help her do it.

For the singer and multi-instrumentalist, the choice to try her hand at English music and the English market was an organic one. "Honestly, I know it sounds maybe not true or whatever, but ... the songs came first in both languages. Living in this bilingual and multicultural area of Montreal [influenced me] in a large way. I did an English project of covers for a TV show in Quebec called 'Trauma,' so people knew that I could drop by the English zone.

"But the thing that made it, for me, easier to make the decision was that I thought I could write in English for the first time. Before I thought there was this idea, but can I do it? Is it credible? I didn't think I could do it before now."

Even the songwriting process was completely natural. She didn't set out to write in a specific language, she simply followed whatever came into her head. "It comes from the first line. Usually, before, I was starting with an English line, because I listen to mostly English music, even though I'm really aware of the French scene. You know when you write and you just improvise scenarios? They could be in English but then I would switch to French. But now, if it's coming out in English, I was listening to it. What do I mean? Where does it come from? I was doing a bit of psychoanalysis at the time, and I was really captivated and intrigued by the power of words, the power of words that you don't expect and where the come from.

"There's always a reason in the subconscious. And I was sometimes coming back from a session of therapy and just throwing words around in the studio instead of planning them. So it went a bit with the process, and it was interesting to compare English and French and which part of me wants to do it in English and what does it express? It was fun."

The results of her experiments were fascinating. Her voice, she discovered, is lower when she sings in English, appearing to originate from lower in the diaphragm. The subject matter of her lyrics and the style of the music seem to change depending on language as well.

"There's a bit of darkness, maybe more in English, that wants to come, and something more light with the French. And the sound, the French songs are the most electronic and the English ones are more organic."

She hasn't drawn any definite conclusions about the whole experience so far, but she admits that the slightly naughtier bent her Anglo self seems to be taking is not a complete surprise.

"When I'm drunk, I love to speak English. I knew it wanted to come out at some point!"

Ariane Moffatt plays CMF's La Belle Province showcase at the El Mocambo on March 22, and returns to Toronto May 25th for her own headlining show.

Sarah Kurchak - Spinner.ca

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