Les Monstres Terribles


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The Band


Good Evening.

We were born on a haunted island where it always rains but have since run away from it. We have come to rest at the foot of a small mountain in a city that is constantly trying to kill us. These are the choices we have made.


That is to say, Les Monstres Terribles was formed in 2006 in Victoria, British Columbia by a thin, brooding young man named Quentin Mitchell. Quentin wrote many a lonely song in his lonely apartment and eventually built up the courage to bring them to some friends for improvements because he was lonely. Two such friends were Samantha Brimacombe and Conrad Matejczuk who played harp and guitar respectively (and respectfully) on the original recorded version of "Asterix" when it had a much more unfortunate song title. Two other such friends were Scott Wood and Laura Shrum whom Quentin was playing music with in another, now defunct, band called "Solomon Wells".


In late 2008, Scott and Laura helped Quentin sift through his 30-odd song library to weed out the strongest of the batch and started improving on guitar and bass parts. Their friend Daniel Bailey kindly volunteered to make up all the other sounds using keys, guitar, and trumpet, and drum auditions weeded Regan Purdy out of the crowd and into the heart of the newly collected collective.


After taunting the ghosts who were haunting their rehearsal space/basement/laundry room with strange noises and experiments for several months, Les Monstres Terribles tried their hand at expressing themselves in front of real people for the first time in January 2009, drifting from bar to bar, theatre to coffee shop, jazz club to student function, and anarchist house festival to pizza parlour, gathering a slow, but steady following. After several months of this, Regan laid down the drum tracks for the La Petite Mort EP and disappeared into the woods. At the exact same time, Ben Godfrey (former drummer of Beasts and Superbeasts) appeared out of the æther to take her place. It should be noted at this time that Ben's other former band was called Raygun, which was the designated band nickname for Regan. It should also be noted that, around this time, after seeing Les Monstres destroy another perfectly good stage, Robyn Cadamia of the University of Victoria's student newspaper The Martlet attempted to describe what it was she had just witnessed: "If you haven’t yet heard Les Monstres play, imagine somber, baritone vocals that sweep from dark corners. Imagine funeral piano that quickens into dancing. Imagine being poisoned, staring your killer in the face and feeling euphoric." La Petite Mort, though not a Christmas album, was released on Christmas, 2009, and was recorded in the living room of Scott, Quentin, and Laura's house.


Several major things happened after the release of La Petite Mort:

  1. Quentin employed the great talents of a group of students in the Applied Communications Program at Camosun College to help write, direct, and produce their own music video from start to finish for the tracks "La Petite Mort" and "Chasing A Ghost" from the La Petite Mort EP. It ended up turning out rather... macabre.
  2. Les Monstres Terribles were recognized (after a long, competitive public voting process) as the "Most Welcome New Addition To The Arts Scene" in Victoria by local rag Monday Magazine for their annual "M Awards". Laura put on her furs for the awards ceremony.
  3. Daniel and Quentin took it upon themselves to write additional parts for several of their songs for violin, cello, trumpet, trombone, and a four-part vocal ensemble. After four long months of writing, auditioning, and rehearsals, they had gathered together 11 extra musicians, tripling the size of the band. This conglomerate of strings, brass, and throats, now known as "Les Monstres Terribles & The Playing Dead Orchestra", lumbered into Alix Goolden Hall (arguably the most beautiful stage in Victoria with one of the largest organs in Canada as a backdrop), somberly clad in black with white Phantom-of-the-Opera-esque masks, to perform their new material for an almost sold-out crowd, in support of local band Versa's album release.
  4. Les Monstres Terribles started the recording process, laying down the base layers of would become their first full-length album.
  5. Les Monstres Terribles, feeling they'd made their mark on Victoria, played one more sold-out final farewell show with the orchestra and then Quentin, Scott, and Laura packed up their things and headed for la belle ville de Montréal. Dan moved to Korea for a year to teach English and Ben stayed in Victoria to continue running his plumbing business (plumbing before drumming, it would seem). Thus followed several months of silence.


After learning what "winter" was, and how to survive in a world where everybody can pronounce your band name besides you, Les Monstres Terribles rubbed the collective grogginess of hibernation out of their eyes and started to rebuild. Within months they had acquired a dungeon-like rehearsal space (unimaginatively, but lovingly, dubbed... "the dungeon") underneath a Jamaican restaurant on St-Laurent and began holding auditions for drummers. Friendly Nova-Scotian Mike Beaton beat them all by having the best email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The newly formed quartet played their first show in Montréal nearly a year after departing from Victoria with the help of keyboardist Beatrice de Trenqualye at local fashionistas' store Citizen Vintage. Beatrice didn't stick around, but Les Monstres Terribles continued to push onwards to break into the Montréal music scene. In the meantime, Matthew Dolmage from Versa was busy back in Victoria recording the remnants of The Playing Dead Orchestra for the upcoming album.


After playing a show in February at Le Cagibi with the help of another keyboardist, Martin Bradstreet, Les Monstres filled the position with what would end up being a permanent and valuable addition to the core roster: Rachelle Arsenault. With her help, Les Monstres Terribles have played a slew of fun, high-profile events around Montreal, garnering attention from local media and solidifying a fanbase in their newfound home. The most exciting part of the year, however, has been the completion of two and a half years of recording, editing, mixing, and mastering the new album, "Le Loup & Le Lapin". The band decided it was best represented as vinyl and digital download and worked with local graphic designer and artist Anise Lamontagne to create the striking album art, which was to be the basis for the newly minted website, and a plethora of sweet swag. Building hype with an eclectic series of teaser videos created by the band for each song on the album, "Le Loup & Le Lapin" is set to launch with great fanfare online on November 8th and at two separate launch parties in Montreal and Ottawa on the 8th and 11th respectively. If the world doesn't end shortly afterward, Les Monstres Terribles are hoping the release brings many more great things for 2013 and the following years. And, as always...

Please watch your step.