Gueuleuses: a web directory of extreme female vocalists

Entrevue réalisée par Laurent Bellemare
Genres et styles : Metal / Punk

renseignements supplémentaires

Growl? Scream? Fry? How does one navigate all the vocal techniques heard in punk, metal and adjacent genres? Writer and radio host Jolène Ruest has mapped the women who practice these techniques across the spectrum of underground music, and created the online platform that could well become the ultimate reference tool for fans, artists and show programming teams alike: Gueuleuses.

A seasoned observer of Quebec’s underground music scene, Jolène sat down with Pan M 360 to answer a few questions about the platform, which will be officially launched on Friday, March 8, 2024.

PAN M 360: Your gueuleuses repertoire will be released this Friday, March 8. Is this project a natural extension of your former radio show Jolène jase de gueuleuses on CISM? In what way?

Jolène Ruest: It was just a Jolène jase de gueuleuses season, it’s funny the impact… It’s really more personal. I feel that Gueuleuses fits in perfectly with my artistic and professional career, because it was born out of Spectacles Bonzaï, who produced the project. After the season of Jolène jase de gueuleuses, I kept archiving lots of scream and growl singers. When Colin saw my Excel file, he sent it to the webmaster of Spectacles Bonzaï, then said “I’d like to do a website with that.” And the webmaster, he was a big fan of Québec Punk Scene in his teens, so he was like “yeah, let’s make a directory!” At Spectacles Bonzaï, we’ve also listed all the independent venues in Quebec. We like listing things, obviously! It was the timing between working for Bonzaï and what I do artistically. You know, in all my books, there are mentions of punk, metal and mosh pits. It’s like there’s a meeting point between that kind of thinking, that kind of research, and the job.

PAN M 360: How did for an online directory format come about?

Jolène Ruest: It’s really because this is our third digital project at Spectacles Bonzaï. So from the outset, we wanted it to be digital. But it’s funny because Roxanafrom Your Last Wish, even though she can’t be at the launch, still wanted to talk about it, and that’s exactly what she said to me: “But now, is this going to be a book?” Oh no, that’s it! But it’s a good idea. But I’m already working on other writing projects. I already had a writing project linked to the Quebec scene.

PAN M 360: Are we talking about a directory that can be built up by the Internet community, a bit like the Encyclopedia Metallum (metal-archives.com)? Is the aim to be exhaustive?

Jolène Ruest: We can’t be metal-archives because of the way it’s computerized. It’s really complicated to make a Wikipedia or to make a site where there can be more than just one content manager. What I’ve done as a compromise… On the one hand, I go to people. I write to them when I have doubts, for various reasons. Having written to several vocalists, I’ve already bridged the gap to get the content from the source, even if I haven’t necessarily done so for everything… Then I’ll do it mostly afterwards because it’s easier to explain with the site and visuals. But to better answer your question, on each card, there’s a “suggest a modification” button. For me, it was really important, whether it was your favourite singer or yourself, to be able to make modifications. But it’s really more of a computer issue. You can’t get involved in such a complex project. But at the end of the day, it’s still very niche. Just the question: what is gueulage? It’s very subjective and will surely evolve over time.




PAN M 360: So you’re the main moderator when it comes to finding new data?

Jolène Ruest: Yeah. It’s clear that there’s going to be a shortage, in the end. When I was talking about questioning the notion of gueuler, the webmaster said to me: “Ah, the singer from Against Me?” and then I was like “she’s shouting, isn’t she?” She sure sings loud… and since then, I can’t stop thinking about it.

But you see, it’s all part of the internal conversation. Louise Girard helped me at the time. And since she’s going to be present at the launch, I sent her the list again. She referred me to a band from Estrie with only one album on YouTube. It has come to a point of very narrow discovery. I hope that people will turn up to take part in the project, because every time I’ve had responses from the vocalists, they’ve were very positive and very, very generous. But I’ve also tried to surround myself with people. There’s Christine Fortier too, who made suggestions.

So many other blog sites that have done it in the past, then stopped updating, others that are doing it now, others that are only doing it in punk, those that are doing it in metal, etc. It would be very ungracious of me not to be grateful for all the work done by so many other fans. For me, it’s about highlighting a collective web and human effort in the field too.

PAN M 360: What role do you hope this new platform will play in the extreme music scene?

Jolène Ruest: Discovery, quite simply. As we’ve just said, there’s no shortage of discoveries. It’s true that we touch on different musical genres that don’t necessarily meet, so I think that also allows us to reach out to a wider audience. It’s true that you can like punk, but you don’t necessarily like it when it screams either. There are a lot of interesting intersections in terms of music lovers and then convergence towards a somewhat unusual common point: female screaming.

But otherwise, having more representation of women and people from gender minorities can certainly become a tool for any programmer, radio station or festival. It’s a desire to have more women. There will be fewer and fewer excuses for saying we couldn’t find them. In fact, you’ll be able to find plenty of them in a very niche field, so that’s cool.

PAN M 360: What can you expect at Friday’s launch party at Quai des brumes?

Jolène Ruest: A lot of fun! I have the impression that they’re all going to be friends, so those who aren’t will become my friends. There are going to be punks, metalheads, and vocalists who don’t know each other at all. I’ve invited every gueuleuse in Quebec to be there! After that, it’s like sending a letter to a pigeon: sometimes it’s returned, sometimes it’s not! I think there’s going to be some unprecedented encounters. Maybe metal singers know each other, but you know, they don’t necessarily know punk singers. I think this is going to be a very unique moment.


Otherwise Kapitur, I have a feeling it’s going to be a good show. The meeting with Louise Girard will also be interesting. She’s getting ready, she’s gone back into her research and we’re trying to figure out who are the first loudmouths? Maybe we won’t get an answer, but that’s the fun of the evening. It’s a moment where we build the story from a female angle. You know, it’s not written! There’s a little bit of that going on in the evening, I think.

PAN M 360: Finally, where can we hear you, Jolène Ruest, screaming?

Jolène Ruest: On the song “Pardon!..” by Ultra Vedge, released in 2021. Simon Gauthier, he’s nice, he invited me, but I don’t shout very well, so I’m just very grateful. But I’m waiting for the invitations!

Gueuleuses will be launched this Friday, March 8, 2024 at Quai des Brumes starting at 7pm
with presentations by gueuleuses Corinne Cardinal, Louise Girard and the band Kapitur.

https://quaidesbrumes.ca/evenements/ligue-rock-lancement-de-gueuleuses/

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