Five Minutes With: Montréal-based Singer-Songwriter Aloysius Bell

Aloysius Bell (a·lo·wish·us bell) is the alter ego of Winnipeg-born, Montréal-based singer-songwriter Annick Brémault. While her name is a nod to the male pseudonyms of the iconic Brontë sisters, Aloysius Bell is a persona born from intense soul-searching who aims to shed light on murky, in-between spaces.

In 2019, Annick, as Aloysius Bell, took her first solo steps with the tracks Mountains and Your Heart Is Feathers. Co-produced with long-time collaborator Sacha Daoud (Blanche Baillargeon, Daniel Bellegarde), the songs feature a talented crew of Montreal musicians including Mélik-Alexandre Farhat, Mathieu Charbonneau, Amélie Mandeville, Sheila Hannigan, Chantal Bergeron and Monica Günther.

Mountains and Your Heart Is Feathers offer a glimpse into Aloysius Bell’s introspective world, showcasing an ethereal, open-eyed perspective, imaginative, atmospheric pop language and a style of prose both minimalistic and masterful. Drawing heavily on her modern dance and theatre background, her travels and a 3-year stint living in Japan, Aloysius Bell’s writing portrays a deeply personal take on relationships, both with ourselves and others.

Alongside friends Andrina Turenne, Ariane Jean (Sala), Alexa Dirks (Begonia), Benoit Morier and Sacha Daoud she’s also toured extensively as a member of the now-defunct Juno-award-winning group Chic Gamine. The pop/soul/r&b music of the latter led to
numerous performances in North America and internationally, including opening for Smokey Robinson, Mark Broussard, Lake Street Dive and appearances on A Prairie Home Companion, Vinyl Café, Radio-Canada’s Studio 12 and other notable broadcasts.

She’s since become increasingly sought after as a collaborator, co-writer, background vocalist and guest artist (Damien Robitaille, Willows, Sala, David Myles).

Born from the interplay of otherworldly realms and her imagination, Aloysius Bell’s debut EP Warm Thing artlessly melds her distinctive songwriting and Pop, R’n’B and electro influences. With her evocative, agile voice front and centre, the accompanying mix of music and lyrics distils into a kind of soft, lucid directness. Produced with multi-disciplinary Toronto artist Driftnote (Korea Town Acid, R. Flex) and mixed by David Plowman (July Talk, Dillan Ponders), Warm Thing is set for release.

Aloysius Bell

Name: 

Aloysius Bell. I found my name as I was exploring/writing/dreaming about what would make the best “container” for me to occupy as an artist. I was reading a bunch of different books at the time – 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin and others. I chanced on the information that the Bronte sisters – Charlotte, Emily and Anne – had used masculine pseudonyms when they first published their writing, using their own initials, with the surname Bell. Those female artists who’ve taken masculine pseudonyms, like George Sand and the Brontës have always struck me – they were determined to be seen/heard in a world that wasn’t friendly to them. My songwriting, even though very personal, almost always has political underpinnings. I wanted to find an identity that felt removed from me but was also like a mirror image. Like the Brontës, my last name begins with the letter B, so the next step was finding a first name. I was taking a walk in my neighbourhood in Montreal when I found it, passing by St-Aloysius Park. For the first time in the more than 12 years I’d lived in the area, I read the sign with the name on it. And it just clicked. I feel like it’s kind of my guilty pleasure, Dungeons and Dragons, sci-fi/fantasy adventure name. Like some kind of wizard/necromancer, who writes songs as a way of casting spells and is always low-key listening to the spirits.

Genre:

Indie R&B/Pop/Singer-songwriter

Founded:

2019

# of Albums:

My 1st EP just came out Feb 2, 2024

Latest Album:

I have 4 singles

Latest Single:

Wreckage

Latest Video:

Favourite musician growing up:

Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Milton Nascimento, are for sure in my top 5.

Favourite musician now:

Ok, the dreaded question. Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Little Dragon, SZA, Sault, but there are so many others.

Guilty pleasure song:

I don’t have one, I love all the cheesy goodness and consume it guilt-free.

Live show ritual:

Breathing / vocal warm-up, jumping up and down, telling myself I’m excited – not nervous – to meet the audience.

Favourite local musician:

Hard to pick, but I’m gonna go with Les Passagers. They have a new single out called Coca Cola and it’s so good.

EP or LP?

LP

Early bird or night owl?

I’m flexy. I hate waking up early, but I love the daytime.

Road or studio?

Studio

Any shows or albums coming up?

My EP, WARM THING, came out on Feb 2nd.

Where can we follow you?

Instagram | Facebook | TikTok | Spotify | Threads

Rapid Fire Local Questions:

What is your favourite local restaurant?

KazaMaza

What is your favourite street in your city and why?

The overpass where Van Horne becomes Rosemont. I’ve always loved walking there at sundown, you can see the tops of buildings, the water tower. It makes me feel super nostalgic / attached to the city with all its old neighbourhoods.

What is your favourite park in your city and why?

Parc Morgan near where I live in Hochelaga – it’s my spot when I’m feeling lazy in the summer and want to read/write in the sunshine.

What is your favourite music venue in your city?

I don’t have just one, but I love going to Upstairs or Dièze Onze for live Jazz.

What is your favourite music store in your city?

180g, on De Lorimier – it’s attached to a take-out place called Ma Mère En Feu that makes a mean fried chicken sandwich.

 

About Demian Vernieri 398 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.