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On the Rise

26 April 2024, 14:00

Montreal-based multi-hyphenate Soran is bringing art, complexity, and humanity back to pop without sacrificing the fun.

"I want to have new births, like a million times in my life,” Canadian artist and producer Soran Dussaigne eagerly tells me. “Like, it could be every week. I want to keep learning and growing.”

We’re discussing his debut solo full-length Loneliness Confetti – released in March on Audiogram – ahead of the Quebec Spring showcase tour across the UK this May, and it’s clear that Dussaigne has, since day one, been about embracing change and going all in.

An entirely effusive persona, he’s someone who has loved music for as long as he can recall. "I grew up around musical instruments through my dad and mom,” he explains. “They had instruments lying around. I specifically really liked drums when I was three or four years old…but I never did it seriously. And as I got a little bit older, like from 11 to 15 I didn't do a lot of music.” It’s this childhood feeling of creative freedom he’s chasing in this latter part of his career. Loneliness Confetti is an honest depiction of an emotional time in his life, but, for the most part, it’s coated in pop-static, elegiacally moving between 80s-synth sunbursts and nostalgic shadows. But, before being able to dig into the depths of his life – and realising what these new births can mean for him – he had to travel a different path.


It was on a school trip to New York when he was 15 that his musical ambitions fired up. Buying a guitar from someone on the street, this moment became his gateway: "It was 4/20 this homeless guy was selling his guitar for weed…it was 50 bucks, I only had 42…I bought it for 42 bucks." Numeric symbolism aside, this guitar then became Dussaigne’s defacto vehicle that would end up paying dividends. When he returned to Montreal, he began busking in the subways and streets. It was here, at 17, that he was scouted and chosen for the French-Canadian iteration of The Voice (La Voix) where he made it just shy of the semi-finals.

Dussaigne cites both this experience, and particularly his time busking in the Montreal public, as pivotal to him becoming the artist he is today. "It's one of the most important things that I've done, and it's one of the things I'm most proud of, because I refused to have a normal day job,” he says. “I didn't want to, at any point, be told what to do. And that was my reaction to it.”


It’s a move that certainly takes guts and conviction. But, with his family’s backing, Dussaigne dived head-first into the big wide world. “The most challenging part of it was the fact that 98% of the people that are passing by do not give a single fuck about you,” he chuckles. “They don't even listen to you, they don't look at you, they don't care. So it was really just a permission slip for me to practice for hours. But also to get that stage fright out of the way because if I can sing in front of so many people that don't care about me, then I'm going to be okay when I'm on stage in front of people that want to sing my songs. But even when I was on the voice, and it was airing on TV, I would still go back to the subway because I wanted to have my feet on the ground and be reminded that most people don't know anything about what I'm doing.”

At home he had mugs of coins that were his rent and bill money, but, no real bank account aside, his own belief kept him rooted to his spots, day in and day out. Honing his craft, in moments of colourful animation he was cementing his artistic integrity. “There was so much magic there whenever strangers would stop and start dancing and pull percussions out and dance with me,” he fondly smiles. “All I'm trying to do, especially when I'm working with other artists or making other people's albums, is trying to remind them that that's the place they need to be – nothing about this is supposed to be hard.”


Signing with Universal on the back of his La Voix appearance, his output at this time was decidedly focused on, well, being a pop star. Racking up millions of streams and a feverish fanbase – particularly with his “IG Comments” song, and content output – he wanted to achieve the dizzying heights that were within his grasp.

But, as the pandemic hit, he decided to end his contract with Universal in the hopes of more creative control and freedom. Yet, there were more pivotal - but crushing - moments on the horizon. Not only did a long-term relationship dissolve, but Dussaigne’s mother also passed away. It was at this time that Dussaigne turned inward. Turning her house into a home studio, he began working through the last few years, tuning his mainstream ambitions into the more human-focused facet of his creativity. “My mom was also a music journalist, and she was really supportive of my music,” he explains, “but I think she didn't really like my music before in the sense that it was kind of corny – I still think it's good pop but I know I wasn't making it for myself, I was making it for other people. And I think through the loss of her, I started making songs out of a very real place.”

Pop music is something that’s always enthralled Dussaigne and on band he cites as a major source of inspiration is The Police. "I just like the vibe the most…I think the three of them individually have such clashing personalities, but it works so well and Sting’s voice is unmatched, it’s crazy and it's hooky.” Dussaigne’s on a one-man mission to bring his beloved pop its flowers. “I love pop…all I want to do is remind people that pop can be very good and very thought out. I think my album is the start of me realising that.”

"I want people to see pop in the light of something that can become complex and more complicated,” he offers. “Popular to me is what's popular right now, what's popular right now, what's in the charts right now to me is not a good representation of the actual talent that there is on the planet, but also it doesn't have to be complex. I think good pop is something that might be complex, but it's super easy to ingest. The best example I could give is Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’, that song is straight pop, but it's so great."

It’s what Loneliness Confetti is all about for Dussaigne. It’s putting his ethos and emotions through a pop kaleidoscope, relishing in the wonder of it all. "All the songs that I ended up picking on this album came from a place where I could pinpoint and genuinely remember that day when I made that song,” he continues, “I was completely letting go, I wasn't expecting anything, I was just expressing whatever I had in mind or my heart.” Also turning his hand to production for other artists, he’s a keen believer in the harmony that exists between man and machine: "There needs to be excitement. There needs to be stress. And in that stress and excitement, there's magic.”

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When creating his sonics, he has a very strict motto: "The song needs to be done by the end of the day.” His idea is to recapture that magic he’s always been enthralled with. Even when he’s racing the clock or keeping time with a machine, he knows there’s something beneath the surface that can also enthral listeners. “I work fast, but I need to capture everything that's happening now in the room, from drums to bass, the piano – everything – if I feel it needs to happen now it needs to happen the same day, then we can go touch up some some things but if the setup is done right, and like I'm ready to go and my intention is to the capture thing when it happens. Everything should happen in the moment, I don't like spending months on songs, I like moving on fast."

Being able to diffuse his experiences and self into his pop-centric outpouring has left the field wide open for Dussaigne. And with his hopes for those little rebirths, it’s his for the taking. “Looking back, talking about the magic, I'm proud of myself for never hesitating about doing music,” he admits. There’s a wisened edge from his short tenure that softly radiates from Dussaigne, one that he laughs at when I mention it. “I've been doing it for 10 years, so it's a lot, and I think I have gained experience. But at the same time, I'm always – as in music as in life – in the mindset that I don't know anything. I'm always ready to learn. The wise part is knowing I don't know anything!"

Soran plays shows in the UK from 2 May, with sets at FOCUS Wales, The Great Escape and Wide Days.

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