Ottawa-Hull-based indie-rock band Pony Girl recently released their new album Laff It Off on Paper Bag Records. Described as a sister album to last year’s Enny One Wil Love You, the nine tracks on the new record continue the band’s art-pop sensibilities but with a lighter feel than its predecessor. Highlights include the playful title track, “I Believe In Nothing” with its driving baseline and “Wannabe”’s laid-back vibe.
The band is made up of Pascal Huot (principal songwriter, vocals, guitar). Julien Dussault (guitar), Greggory Clark (bass), Jeff Kingsbury (drums) and multi-instrumentalist Yolande Laroche.
We caught up with guitarist Julien to talk about the new record and the best places to play in Canada.
Hi Julien! How’s everything going right now?
Oh you know!
What classic album cover art is your current mood?
Selling England by The Pound
Your new album “Laff It Off” has just been released. When and where did you write and record it?
It was recorded before 2020 at a couple of rural studios including Port William Sound (Mountain Grove, Ontario) and Studio Wild (Saint Zénon, Québec); and some studios in town like Little Bullhorn (Ottawa) and Toute Garnie (Montreal).
You’ve described it as a sister album to last year’s “Enny One Wil Love You” but they feel like very different records. What makes them “relatives”?
When we started recording, it became clear that there were two distinct “vibes” going on. Enny One Will Love You is the electronic pop aesthetic that Pony Girl loves to explore, while Laff It Off showcases our warmer, live off-the-floor sound. Thematically, they’re from the same book.. Sonically not so much!
You’ve been recognized and won awards for your videos. Do you see them as an integral part of the music you‘ve made or as a standalone piece of art?
Pascal Huot is our lyricist, and he used to say that he “writes songs for imaginary movies”… But he also offers creative direction for every Pony Girl music video! So I dunno, bit of a chicken or the egg situation?
If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
Almost impossible to answer… Here’s a few
My Favorite Things – John Coltrane
Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes
L’Heptade – Harmonium
In Rainbows – Radiohead
Madvillainy – MF DOOM
Some good choices there! How and where did Pony Girl meet?
We got together at the University of Ottawa in 2012, and played our first show at the student-run cafe where Pascal and Gregg worked. Although some of us go even further back! But Ottawa is where it all started.
Your debut album “Show Me Your Fears” came out ten years ago. What bit of advice would you give that band as they prepared to enter the studio
Have confidence in your own taste, fearlessly follow where your creativity leads. It’s also OK not to do everything yourself, ask for help!
You have some album release shows this month in Canada? Which city/venue is the most fun to play?
Playing in our hometown is always a blast. Though if you polled the band for our best tour memories, you’re going to hear about shows in far-flung places like Saguenay, Edmundston, Flourish Festival, Sled Island, and the Legion in Prince George.
What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
Specifically hot pizza. We made a music video about this in 2015: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAn6bks-C0Y
What do you have planned for 2024?
If you follow Pony Girl on IG @ponygirlband, you know we’re already working on the next record! Besides that, we’re about to announce more tour dates in Canada plus some of Pony Girl’s first international dates.
Pony Girl is a kaleidoscope of pop unlike any other, turning everyday life into mesmerizing melodies, rock and electronic production. In true indie fashion, the Ottawa-Hull collective self-released their first two records (Show Me Your Fears in 2013, and Foreign Life in 2015) before signing with Paper Bag Records to unveil Enny One Wil Love You in 2022.
Recipients of the Prix FEQ Emerging Artist Award in 2016 for their ‘high level of innovation and musicality…exceptional performance quality and on-stage presence’ as well as two Capital Music Awards wins for their 2022 album, Pony Girl has seen consistent praise from various media for their ‘evocative soundscapes’ (CBC Radio), their ‘ability to push the boundaries that define pop-rock’ (Mixtape Magazine), and a ‘musical depth quite astonishing to experience’ (Exclaim!).
Feature Image Credit – François Mittins