Watch the video for the debut single by Montreal folk duo The Night Owls

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Hailing from Montreal, Quebec, emerging duo The Night Owls, enter the scene with their genre-bending debut album The Night Owls, out spring 2022.

Debut single, The Night Owls, is a mysterious, slow-burning folk track, centred around the pair’s vocals and harmonies. Perfectly fitting, the couple was awake composing this track until as late as 4:00am, writing about their lives as night owls. It’s about the feeling of being alone with one another, taking walks outside and feeling as though they’re the only ones in the city awake. “We like to play music at night,” describes the couple. “The only thing that matters is each other because in those times we feel like there’s only the two of us in the universe.” They found great comfort in this time together (but alone) during the worst parts of the pandemic.

Created by Simon Arsenault and Marianne Bourgeois, The Night Owls is an indie/folk/rock/country band from Montreal, QC. Arsenault, a professional musician who performs as a session player for a variety of artists, studied classical music, jazz and electro-acoustic at the Cegep Saint-Laurent, Université de Montreal and at UQAM.

Simon was part of the progressive rock band, Innerspace, who released two albums and sold thousands of copies, especially in Europe. Bourgeois is a self-taught singer-songwriter who has started taking music more seriously over the past few years. She studied cinema and psychology but has always written songs and poetry. For the past two years, she’s been honing in on her own sound and taking singing lessons. As a couple stuck at home during the pandemic, they started writing songs, putting together music that fit with lyrics Marianne had written. Those songs multiplied and in no time they had a collection worthy of an album.

Watch the video for their first single below:

The couple actually met through the dating app Tinder. “We swiped right,” says Simon. They quickly realized they had a musical connection. “Actually he has the same taste as my father,” Marianne says. “So he loves Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd, Supertramp and all those progressive rock bands. I love Half Moon Run, City and Colour. These are my favourite artists. But I also really love rock and progressive rock because I grew up with it.”

Both Simon and Marianne have a love for harmonies and that shines through on their debut release. I wonder, do harmonies play such a big role in the rest of the album?

“Yeah, very much,” admits Simon. “What we do is we usually will write the chords, the melody, the lyrics. And then I worked by myself on stacking, like recording demos of 20 vocal harmonies and trying to figure out how it’s going to come out eventually on the album with all of those voices. So I really, really like to work on harmonies and have as many voices as the song can take. Crosby, Stills and Nash were a very big influence on this.”

At first, Marianne’s lyrics were a very personal thing that she never shared with anyone, but as the couple’s relationship developed, so did the trust and when she finally shared the words with Simon, the seeds to their first song together were sown.

“Really I need to express myself,” says Marianne of why she began writing in the first place. “Like I already always wrote a lot of stuff about what I was going through in my life, about love, about heartbreak, about really dark places I’ve been through in my life. So it really was a need to express myself and put it in words to really turn the page and go through with my life. And I think I knew that it was not bad, but I was scared that it was gonna be too cheesy or he wouldn’t understand what I was writing, the intention behind the words, but he really was a good listener and he cared not to hurt my feelings. And it was a lovely way to share all of this with him and to put itto in something even more creative than just the writing.”

“Of course, she just showed me the lyrics,” continues Simon. “Then it’s hard because it’s hard for her because I had to put a lot of work on the actual lyrics to make it fit on the music. Sometimes I have to change some things sometimes, sometimes it looks good on paper, but it doesn’t sound good out loud when you sing it.

Watch the full interview with The Night Owls below:

Photo credit: Anne-Sophie Coiteux

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