Solids’ Louis Guillemette finally quits his day job
by James Brotheridge
I’m reaching Louis Guillemette at a crazy time. The Montrealer is sitting in his apartment during a late January snowstorm, ready to go on a huge Canada and U.S. tour as half of the duo Solids. Just as soon as he leaves his job of 10 years.
“I work at a little shop –– I don’t know if you know what a Denver boot is? It’s a thing that you put on cars if you don’t pay your tickets and shit,” he says.
Helping parking enforcement isn’t priority one for most rock and rollers, but it’s worked out for Guillemette.
“I always find it weird as a punk-rocker to do something like that, but they let me do my music thing for a while, and, I don’t know. They’re pretty cool with me.”
Even if he’s got security in a job he’s had for around a decade, it’s a good time to leave. Solids, comprised of drummer Guillemette and guitarist Xavier Germain-Poitras — hit heavy enough with their self-released debut, Blame Confusion, that they got picked up by Fat Possum in the States then Dine Alone in Canada.
This makes them, as Guillemette puts it, “a label-mate with Al Green and the Black Keys and Alexisonfire and Marilyn Manson.
“It’s a funny lineup,” he says.
He and Germain-Poitras have played together for four or five years — Guillemette has trouble remembering just how long. They were both playing in a hardcore band called Expectorate Sequence when they started jamming together as a duo.
“We started playing a more alternative rock kinda thing,” Guillemette says. “Guitar jams.”
(By the by, Guillemette says it like “al-ter-native”, which is fantastic.)
“Since I was playing bass in this band, I was like, ‘Ah, I should bring my cymbals and we can jam some standard indie-rock or alternative rock kinda thing. We could maybe find a bass player and see how it goes.’ Then we started playing.
“I had this little HB switch so we could plug the guitar into the guitar amp and the bass amp, and Xavier is downtuned to C, so when we’re playing with both of these amps, it was super loud and the frequency of the guitar was so low that the bass amp would react really great. It was really loud and bassy. In the end, it was like, ‘We don’t really need a bass player.’”
I ask how their songs came together and, unsurprisingly, they often start with a riff the pair will jam out. Putting words to the riff is often the hard part.
“Voyons, I couldn’t say it’s really easy. We just jam and see how it goes. It’s always the lyrics and the vocals part that’s really hard for us. Basically we just like to be heavy and jam. When we have to sit down for lyrics, it’s always tough.”
They’re trying to get better about lyrics, especially after the experience they had recording the album.
“There’s a lot of tracks on Blame Confusion –– when we went into the studio, there were four tracks without lyrics. We’re down with the pressure thing, but with Blame Confusion, we went too far with it.”
Maybe they just need a Bernie Taupin type, I tell Guillemette — someone who’ll come in and write the lyrics for your “Yellow Brick Road”.
“That would be so great. Actually, it would be really great if Bernie would come.”