Lesser Evil Throw Caution to the Wind on Debut EP

Photo: Caroline Désilets

When thinking of uses for a RV, it’s natural to picture families on vacation travelling across the country to visit various national parks and tourist destinations. That’s not what Montreal’s Lesser Evil had in mind, however. Instead, the duo recorded their self-titled debut EP in a RV secluded in the woods, without any electricity, running water, or the most precious of resources in today’s world, Wi-Fi.

“Being in the woods, outside with no neighbours, very alone and so calm – it feels like the home you never had,” says Christophe Lamarche-Ledoux, one half of Lesser Evil, about the experience.  “He was actually living in a RV in the middle of the woods and he had transformed it into a studio, so that was very appealing to me as well, because I was like ‘no phones, we can actually do that,’ [and] bang out tunes and we don’t know what they’ll become,” adds Ariane M., Lesser Evil’s other half.

The pair were actually neighbours growing up in Sherbrooke, but it was only years later when they were in Montreal that they connected through mutual friends in the city’s music scene.  What began two years ago as Ariane M. seeking out Lamarche-Ledoux to produce a project of hers evolved into a fruitful partnership, which they realized didn’t belong solely to one member or the other.

“Even though at that moment it wasn’t said that we were a band, it was still like that. Christophe was not [less] engaged because it wasn’t his project. We were like troopers the both of us,” Ariane M. says.

The end result of the pair’s collaboration is a four song debut EP that avoids easy classification. The first single “Caution” begins with sinister keyboards shrieks and no-wave saxophone skronks, but ends with gently cascading piano lines. The duo then jumps straight into the pulsating synth groove of “Sight Of”, demonstrating the versatility the two musicians possess throughout the EP.  According to Lamarche-Ledoux and Ariane M., that eclecticism is intentional to an extent, even if it subverts the necessity of listeners and critics assigning genre labels to music.

“We all do it, we do it when we listen to something, it’s just a normal reflex.  You can see with the four tracks that are pretty distinct that we’re trying to mindfuck that [laughs], meaning that we try to not get categorized, but if we do that’s life,” Ariane M. says.

“People ask ‘what’s the etiquette you would place your music under,’ and mostly people aren’t very satisfied by something broad,” Lamarche-Ledoux adds.  “I’ve been in a rock band, and just saying it’s rock is not satisfying, people want to be specific.”


If Lesser Evil’s songs themselves are diverse in style, their accompanying music videos are all united in their unsettling use of Super 8 slice-of-life Americana footage, achieved by projecting the footage onto a wall and then recording the results on VHS.  Behind the videos was a team of 5, including Guillaume Langlois (who’s also the owner of the 12 hours of source material for the videos), Felix-Antoine Boutin, and Odile Gamache, alongside Lamarche-Ledoux and Ariane M. themselves.

Originally Lamarche-Ledoux and Ariane M. planned on a traditional video shoot, but watching the footage intertwined with their music convinced the pair not only to use the available footage for “Caution,” but for all four of the EP’s songs. Even after trying to superimpose other music onto their footage, including Lamarche-Ledoux’s other project Organ Mood, the duo realized only Lesser Evil’s music would fit right with what they were seeing.

“We just put the EP on repeat and we watched the whole five of us for five hours, the rest Guillaume did,” Ariane M. explains.  “But we watched five hours with our EP on repeat, and then we were going crazy. After a pause I was like ‘can we put something else [on]?’  Then we put something else, and after 15 minutes I was like ‘this is not working, can we put something else?”. 

Despite just releasing an EP, Lamarche-Ledoux and Ariane M. are not intent on their collaboration being a one-off. The duo are already well on their way to completing an album as Lesser Evil and are working out how to bring their project onto the stage.

“We’ve worked on a lot of music in the past, and this project we’re really proud of” says Lamarche-Ledoux.  “It keeps on giving, in the sense that we have many other really good songs that are already finished. It’s not getting ambitious in the sense that we want to make money and be big about it, we just feel like we can invest our time in this. It keeps on giving all the time, so we’re gonna push this project.”

“It’s super challenging in a good way,” adds Ariane M.  “We’re both very ambitious in terms of trying to do the best, tap into what we can give at the moment and trying to be the best artists we can be. That sounds very absolute, but that’s the eternal quest.”

Lesser Evil is out now (Cult Nation)