MUNYA: The WL Interview

Purveyor of: “New Synth Folk,” upbeat ethereal music built around drum loops combining a lightness and glimmering simplicity with luminous vocals and a sense of sadness beneath the surface. 

File next to: Stereolab, Helena Deland, Francois Hardy

Playing: Brothers Dressler, Saturday November 9th @ 16-225 Sterling Road, Toronto. Get tickets here!

Wavelength guest curator, Ian Steaman first discovered the Saguenay-born, Montreal-based singer, Munya (born Josie Boivin) when he booked her for a First Play Live session for CBC Music last year. “As a major fan of her music, I knew she’d be one of the very first acts I’d ask to play Wavelength so I was super-stoked when she finally agreed to play and made our November monthly the only Canadian stop on her current international tour promoting her EP trilogy series.” Ian was able to put a few questions to Munya in advance of her arrival in Toronto for WL 786 on November 9:

You’re born in small town Quebec, but live in Montreal now. The city seems to be on fire now with some of the coolest new acts in the Canadian scene. What’s in the water up there?

There are three big reasons that I believe Montreal is amazing (for music). First, the community, it’s amazing up here — everyone is constantly creating and sharing, it’s very inspiring. Second, Montreal is still one of the most affordable cities, we have less financial pressure, which means we can focus on music and art and worry less about money, which always gets in the way of creativity (the support from the Canadian government through grants helps a lot as well!). Third, it’s really cold during winter, we have lots of indoor time to work on our projects!

Classically trained pianist, opera singer and student of jazz in university. Can you describe the journey from exploring all those genres to ending up doing “New Synth Folk” and what exactly the latter is in your own words?

Well, before I released my solo project, it was a huge struggle for me to decide what kind of music i wanted to make because I connect with a lot of genres. It took a few years to figure it out, when I wrote “L’amour avec toi,” which is one of the first songs I wrote as Munya, it was just so natural and simple. So I just kept working in the same way and just made my heart talk instead of my head. “New synth folk” came from my manager, it just kinda came out in a conversation once when trying to describe what it is and it felt right.

“Benjamin” is one of my favourite songs by you and it’s also your first bilingual song. What made you decide to explore that creative direction?

When I make music, it’s very intuitive, when I wrote “Benjamin.” The first verse came to me in English and I wrote the chorus in French, just naturally. And at the end I was just like, “Oh, I guess this is gonna be a bilingual song!”

Very cool. You produce your own music. Have you produced for other artists yet or do you have plans to, if not?

I love producing, it’s one of my favourite things to do. I am working with a few friends on a few things. We will see what happens, but I am really having fun working with other talented artists and look forward to some cool collabs in the future where I’m producing / co-producing. Going to have to be patient for that stuff though.

I helped book your First Play Live session for CBC Music. Is that a good indicator of what fans can expect from your show at Brothers Dressler on Nov. 9?

Yes, that is a relatively early version of my current set, but I have some new songs I haven’t released yet that you will probably get to hear and hopefully some other surprises!

Outside of your own music, what’s exciting you in music right now? Do you have a current favourite song?

I love discovering new artists,  recently I’ve been in to the artist Kainalu, his song “finding peace of mind” is sooo good! He’s so talented, I actually have a playlist for all the stuff I find called MUNYAspiration. I love sharing and finding new stuff!

We’ll definitely check that out. Thank you for your time, Munya.