It was a night in September when I was thrown to the front of the stage at Cabaret Playhouse for Pop Montreal to see some band that called themselves Blush. I only knew about them because I’d seen a naked picture of the bass player taped to someone’s bedroom door.
Montreal is loaded with a secret magic that outsiders can rarely fathom, and though they go for a night out in their city, watching bands and running the roads in packs like drunken hunter-gatherers searching for truth, they only get a lukewarm taste of what it’s like to be loose in a city like ours, where everything is more charming, more curious, more paradoxical, more ironic, more mysterious.
In the night, we witness phenomenon that others only whisper about in hospital emergency rooms and drunk tanks.
Musically and otherwise, we go places no human being should ever go.
Readers, today is a blessed day, because you get to discover the music of Blush for the first time. (Unless you’ve already had their “melancholic slipper jams” rubbed all over your body, which means that you are now responsible to tell the world what you know.)
Thanks to technology, I was able to have a profound discussion of the arts with Blush front man, Oussama Laghzaoui, from his place in San Francisco, and what followed was a dialogue of depth, wit and perhaps even a little ideological erythema.
Ceilidh Michelle: Who are you guys and why doesn’t all of Montreal know of your glory?
Oussama: We’re just some dudes who like making music. I don’t know if anything about us is glorious by any means.
I guess we are a fairly recent band. We started about 8 months ago and it takes time for people to apprehend a band, especially in Montreal ‘cause there is so much great music coming from the music scene.
CM: Would you consider yourselves a local band?
OL: Yes, we definitely do and I don’t think it’ll ever change. The city, its streets, the culture and people definitely have an influence on what we do.
CM: Are you called Blush because you’re bashful or because you like to make dirty jokes?
OL: Actually, we wanted to name the band “fard à joues” at first. But Anglo people pronounced it “For the Jews.” It was…confusing.
We wanted a simple name and it was a pain in the ass to find one, so we went with the English translation of fard à joues: Blush.
CM: Were you aware that some females blush when they orgasm?
OL: I thought the female orgasm was a rumour.
CM: Ah, you must be single.
Besides the hidden gem that is obviously Blush, can you tell me about a few other secret geniuses that kids NEED to listen to?
OL: This is a tough one!
CM: Okay, how about the music that, when you hear it, gives you absolutely no choice but to make some music of your own?
OL: I’d say that there is a lot of music that made me feel like composing my own stuff, but mostly for me, it was when I saw Parlovr play in a crusty bar in the suburbs of Montreal.
I was 16, and there were ten people in the venue. That gig really got me; it was one of my first. After seeing these guys play, I was like, I know what I wanna do [with] my life.
CM: What’s the most gratifying experience you’ve had while playing?
OL: Playing with Fred [Soucy, on drums] and Mike [Heinermann, on bass and keys] is really gratifying in itself. Theses dudes are two amazing and extremely goofy musicians (not that I’m not). I’m really grateful to be in a band with them.
CM: And how about the music itself? Besides POP Montreal, what have you guys been up to?
OL: Well, we released our first EP, entitled One, [on September 18th, 2014].
We have mostly been playing shows all over the place.
Few days ago, we recorded a live session for a TV channel/blog named BrBr-TFO. For this live session we asked a friend, Raphaël, to fill in as an additional musician and after playing and hanging [out] with him, we are thinking about adding him to the band as a permanent member.
We also shot two music videos made by two different visual artists we like: Chelsea Sweetin and Jeremi Boivin. And I’m in San Francisco right now, working on new songs for our upcoming LP.
CM: What should we keep our ears open for in the future?
OL: In the next month or two, we will release both our music videos. And our live session on BrBr should be available within a week.
CM: Tell me something to make me blush.
OL: Thought I already did!
CM: Oh, right, it’s all coming back to me now…
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Musician and writer, Ceilidh likes to provoke your thoughts, make music, and challenge anyone who takes life too seriously. Her favorite quote from Lester Bangs says it best: “The real question is what to live for. And I can’t answer it. Except another one of your records. And another chance for me to write.”