The night has always had the power to provide a powerful creative retreat – and for Montreal artist Laurence-Anne, the notion of nocturnal inspiration has prompted her to let her fascination for obscure visions and surreal complexities work its way on a record entirely devoted to the many facets of the night. Titled Oniromancie, referring to the concept of dream interpretation as a means for predicting the future, the third album of the Canadian songwriter dives deep into the heart of darkness, by means of a charged hypnotic dream pop atmosphere, swiftly walking on the edge of lyrics sung in English, French and Spanish. 

“Language is another way to experiment in the process of making an album. It changes my personality, the colour of my voice, the sense of poetry. When I sing in Spanish, I become more sensual, I have a different self-confidence, I get more mysterious. That’s something interesting to play with. I listen to a lot of music in languages I can’t understand. I sometimes find it more interesting, because I focus more on the melodies, the magic that is happening around it. The voice is an instrument like all the others. Have you ever dreamt in a language that doesn’t exist? It’s trippy.”

Fleeing Reality

“Since I have been composing music, it has always been about the imaginary. It is about creating new spaces where you can find comfort away from the reality, from the world spinning so fast”Laurence-Anne shares about her aesthetic origin. And while the night serves as a set concept of Oniromancie, it is her way of moving about in the manifold shapes in her own mind inspired by the seemingly darkened conscious state of dreaming, giving way to an inspirational source:

“I’m a daydreamer, I love wandering here and there. I also dream a lot at night. I’m lucky to have the ability to remember them, maybe not entirely, but the landscapes, the emotions, the complexity of it. The content of these experiences is fascinating because it is from a direct connection to your subconscious.”

“I sometimes feel I can understand myself better when I sleep”, she explains. “My fears, my anxieties, my desires are at the center of it all. For example, when I have recurring dreams about a specific person or situation, I know that I have to give it attention… to me it’s like instinct, you have to listen to it. Dreams are an infinite source of inspiration.”

When Songs Dream

For this record, Laurence-Anne also toyed around with the technique of automatic writing, hereby aligning the subconscious nature of her subject with her own tools of creation: Words come out without having to think too much about it. Then you ask yourself, where does it come from? Because what you wrote makes so much sense, but you realise it only when you are done. My interpretation of it is that it must come from the same place as the messages hidden in dreams, the subconscious. It’s a way to communicate with yourself.”

The feeling of the songs thus lies for her rooted deep in the places where she experienced them in the first place – it is an emotive state that anticipates the song itself which then translates into a musical framework, as she points out:

“My songs are interpretations of my dreams, so, in a way, my dreams are creating my future… it’s more about capturing the message behind a dream and seeing how it applies to situations of your life. To translate it to songs, you have to go back to those feelings. When I compose a song, it always begins with the music. I play some notes, some chords randomly and I just sense how it feels. It often brings back the content of my dreams, a mood, a colour, or a weirdness. Then when it feels familiar, I keep the progression and then get to the writing.”

Laurence-Anne‘s Oniromancie is out now via Bonsound.

Every few weeks, the NBHAP staff brings an exciting new artist to your attention alongside a 30-track-strong Introducing Playlist on Spotify. Feel invited to follow the playlist and give these talents a spin. Sign up for our Newsletter to receive monthly updates about new music.

This week’s playlist update was curated by Laurence-Anne herself. Along with tracks from Oniromancie it includes personal inspirations from artists such as Stereolab, Ultravox, Song Sung, Vanishing Twin and more. Tune in below.