« More Is More »: The Dark Side of Les Shirley

Interview by Jacob Langlois-Pelletier

Additional Information

Formed in 2018, Montreal-based female trio Les Shirley unveils their second album More is More this Friday.

Raphaëlle Chouinard (vocals; guitar), Sarah Dion (bass), and Lisandre Bourdages (drums) are back with an opus tinged with vulnerability and feminism. Moreover, the group does not hesitate to denounce male privilege. “In recent years, the feminist movement has grown, and I think we are going in the right direction. However, when we look at our neighbors in the United States, we quickly understand that it is not won. We like to send this message,” says the singer of the trio.

While still influenced by punk rock and grunge, Les Shirley explores more introspective topics such as love and anxiety in More is More. “We’re showing a darker side of Les Shirley. I think people will recognize themselves in the lyrics,” says Raphaëlle.

The guitarist makes it clear: “It was lacking in girl power at the time. With this album, Les Shirley created music that they would have loved to hear as teenagers. “When a woman writes, it brings a completely different perspective on events. We would have loved to hear our music when we were young,” adds Raphaëlle Chouinard.

Throughout the creation of More is More, Marie-Pierre Arthur acted as co-director. Her expertise instilled more confidence in the three women and greatly contributed to the development of the project’s eleven tracks. “We’ve always been big fans of Marie-Pierre. It was incredible to have someone like her with us during the creation of our project!

Pan M 360 spoke with the trio’s singer and guitarist, Raphaëlle Chouinard, about their creative process and their new album More is More.


PAN M 360: How was Les Shirley created?

RAPHAËLLE: Before Les Shirley, Lisandre and I had done an electro-pop project together. When that ended in 2018, we still wanted to play together. We already knew Sarah, but she was basically a drummer just like Lisandre. So, Sarah decided to play bass. At the beginning of our formation, we didn’t really take ourselves seriously. During our first shows, we noticed that the crowds really liked our project. That’s when we realized that Les Shirley wasn’t a joke.

PAN M 360: What are you talking about with More is More?

RAPHAËLLE: Unlike our first project, we deal with deeper subjects. We show the darker side of Les Shirley. We mix these themes with our pop melodies and our musical style. More is More was written during a time of pandemic and reflects what was going on in my head during that time. It talks about things like anxiety and lack of motivation. I think people will relate to the lyrics.

PAN M 360: You say you create songs that you wish you had heard when you were younger. Would you have liked to have heard the messages you are conveying in this project?

RAPHAËLLE: It lacked girl power back then. There were almost no female bands back then. Not many women were sharing their experiences through music. I think that side of the musical story is missing. When a woman writes, it brings a completely different perspective on events. That’s something that was missing when we were young.

PAN M 360: Throughout the album, you have a denunciatory and feminist tone.  Is it a desire for you to engage with this generation?

RAPHAËLLE: During the pandemic, I got closer to my emo roots and my writing became more and more engaged. In the last few years, the feminist movement has grown, and I think we’re going in the right direction. However, when you look at our neighbors in the United States, you can quickly see that it’s not a given. It is important to continue in this direction to make things change. It’s a message we like to send. For example, in the song It’s Time, we say “It’s time for your wake-up call.” It’s a message to men that it’s time for women to take their place. The goal is not to divide, but to find a middle ground that appeals to everyone.

PAN M 360: Tell me about Marie-Pierre Arthur’s involvement as co-director. How did she contribute to your project?

RAPHAËLLE: Marie-Pierre brings a great energy to the studio. She was always there to guide us and answer our questions. She brought her pop touch to our album. We’ve always been big fans of Marie-Pierre. It was amazing to have someone like her with us. Also, it’s very helpful to have someone who is not entirely part of the creative process. This person makes you question the structures of the songs and many details to improve. Also, I would say that his expertise gave us more confidence in our abilities.

PAN M 360: How do you see the recent renaissance of punk rock?

RAPHAËLLE: Several artists like Olivia Rodrigo and Machine Gun Kelly are contributing to the renaissance of this musical style. I think it’s good. A lot of people say that it’s very pop or even too pop. In my opinion, it’s as pop as what Avril Lavigne and Blink-182 used to do. If these artists can make young people discover more of this musical genre, that’s great. It’s going to inspire a lot of them to push further into rock.

PAN M 360: How did the title Do it Again come about?

RAPHAËLLE: We often do write retreats in a cottage. I think I already had the guitar riff in my head. I wrote the song during the pandemic. This dark period of our lives brought back many bad habits in all of us like consumerism. This song unfolds as an internal dialogue. It’s about those behaviors that you want to stop, that your heart tells you to stop, that your friends tell you to stop, but that you never stop.

Photo Credit : Stéphanie Dinsdale.

AN ALBUM LAUNCH PARTY FOR MORE IS MORE WILL TAKE PLACE IN MONTREAL ON NOVEMBER 24TH AT THE THÉÀTRE FAIRMOUNT!

Latest 360 Content

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Club Sagacité at the Festival, San Farafina explains

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Club Sagacité at the Festival, San Farafina explains

Piknic Elektronic | Jordan Gardner, from TO to MTL “for the artistry”

Piknic Elektronic | Jordan Gardner, from TO to MTL “for the artistry”

Domaine Forget 2024 | American Landscape at the Domaine, Nicholas Walker tells us about it

Domaine Forget 2024 | American Landscape at the Domaine, Nicholas Walker tells us about it

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Yoav Levanon, prodigy in recital or with orchestra

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Yoav Levanon, prodigy in recital or with orchestra

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | A Chat With Ibibio Sound Machine  Frontwoman Eno Williams

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | A Chat With Ibibio Sound Machine Frontwoman Eno Williams

Valérie Ekoumè on tour in Canada : mutual love and jubilant rhythms

Valérie Ekoumè on tour in Canada : mutual love and jubilant rhythms

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Quatuor Diotima in Quebec: musical dialogues from past and present

Festival de Lanaudière 2024 | Quatuor Diotima in Quebec: musical dialogues from past and present

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Pahua, New Under the Mexican Sun

The Festival d’Art Vocal de Montréal Opens to the General Public

The Festival d’Art Vocal de Montréal Opens to the General Public

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Luiz Salgado and his “caipira” guitar

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique – Luiz Salgado and his “caipira” guitar

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Bombino: human warmth with the beat of the desert

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Bombino: human warmth with the beat of the desert

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Queen Omega Extends Her Kingdom to MTL

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Queen Omega Extends Her Kingdom to MTL

Domaine Forget 2024 | Cape Verdean breezes in Charlevoix with Lucibela

Domaine Forget 2024 | Cape Verdean breezes in Charlevoix with Lucibela

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Def Mama Def, Women’s Karma

PAN M 360 at Nuits d’Afrique | Def Mama Def, Women’s Karma

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | ALBERTO SALGADO: Embracing Brazilian Traditions and Modernity 

Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | ALBERTO SALGADO: Embracing Brazilian Traditions and Modernity 

Truck Violence Burns It Down and Starts Again

Truck Violence Burns It Down and Starts Again

PAN M 360 aux Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Plus qu’un “fils de”… voici Kirá!

PAN M 360 aux Nuits d’Afrique 2024 | Plus qu’un “fils de”… voici Kirá!

Jowee Omicil invites the liberating spirits of Bwa Kayman

Jowee Omicil invites the liberating spirits of Bwa Kayman

Dobet Gnahoré: an angel comes and stays

Dobet Gnahoré: an angel comes and stays

Baltra at Piknic Electronik | From lo-fi house to now

Baltra at Piknic Electronik | From lo-fi house to now

Jaeden Izik-Dzurko: A look back at the CMIM and a glance forward

Jaeden Izik-Dzurko: A look back at the CMIM and a glance forward

Love Heart Cheat Code, new push from Hiatus Kaiyote

Love Heart Cheat Code, new push from Hiatus Kaiyote

Suoni  | Sick of Fun

Suoni  | Sick of Fun

Subscribe to our newsletter