1693611173 Alaclair Ensemble releases Lait paternal a bitter critique of the

Alaclair Ensemble releases Lait paternal, a bitter critique of the current social climate – Radio-Canada.ca

Quebec rap collective Alaclair Ensemble is releasing its seventh effort on Friday, a first since the departure of Maybe Watson, but it can be heard in a song. With powerful lyrics about the current social climate, Lait paternal presents itself as an uncompromising work.

A few days before the album’s release, Radio-Canada met two members of the Alaclair Ensemble: rapper Ogden Ridjanovic, aka Ogden, and producer Louis-Nicolas Imbeau, aka Vlooper, who sings the vast majority of the group’s rhythms.

The two men are sitting outside and one of them is talking with his hands.

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Ogden and Vlooper in an interview

Photo: Radio-Canada / Denis Wong

The duo first shed light on the album’s curious title, Father’s Milk, a fairly rare phenomenon that occurs in the animal kingdom, explains Ogden. Sometimes, under unfortunate circumstances, the mother dies or disappears. And by a miracle of nature, the male begins producing milk to ensure the survival of the species.

The group’s new offering includes 16 new tracks, interspersed with passages sung by Claude Bégin in the style of Joe Dassin or other charming singers.

We asked Ogden and Vlooper to analyze the themes that permeate the lyrics of “Lait paternal” using a few select tracks from the album.


Apparently, the Alaclair Ensemble didn’t want to bury its head in the sand after Maybe Watson was removed from the group three years ago due to the wave of denunciations that swept Quebec’s cultural scene. The rapper is entitled to a sort of carte blanche starting with the album’s second track, Postcard, where he reveals his feelings about what he’s experienced over the past few years.

Ogden: Since the events of 2020, professional relationships have changed, but we always have much more than just professional relationships with Maybe Watson […] It would have been unthinkable for us not to review these events again.

Vlooper: We must also understand that what happened to Watson was a real ordeal for us. Let’s forget the entire public and media environment, it was a tough ordeal from within. It is a kind of therapy that we have allowed ourselves.

Ogden: And at the same time, if we did something with it, we didn’t want to hide it in bonus track mode at the back of the album. The song is at the beginning of the album.

A man with clear glasses and a backwards cap speaks into the microphone.

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Rapper Maybe Watson.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Tifa Bourjouane

Maybe Watson’s presence also looms large over the album’s ninth track, “Forgot About Wats,” where Ogden models his jerky delivery on Eminem’s in “Forgot About Dre,” a real lesson in technical rap. Vlooper also admits the pace compared to Dr. Having increased Dre’s production just to make his colleague sweat.

We wanted to pay a kind of homage to Maybe Watson. It’s often said that it takes 10,000 hours to master something, and Watson has put in well over 10,000 hours to master rap. Whether you’re a fan or not, you have to realize that the guy is one of the best rappers of all time.

Tikisson woke up

The album’s tone is based on Tikisson Woke, a song written in 2018, before the word “woke” was used pejoratively in the media or political sphere, according to Ogden and Vlooper.

However, when the boys sing over and over that they’re woke, it’s impossible to tell whether they’re being ironic or serious, or whether they’re talking about themselves or others. We quickly fall into a kind of artistic blur that the group maintains throughout the entire album.

Either way, Ogden explains, no one in Alaclair has the same opinion as another member on absolutely everything.

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Ogden : Woke began as a relatively poetic and figurative term and quietly developed into a kind of large-scale caricature of certain elements of certain social movements. [Dans Tikisson Woke]There is an element of self-deprecation, but also an element of good humor.

If you want to win the great Olympics of virtue, work hard because you should be very disciplined in morals and never make a mistake.

Vlooper : What we particularly wanted to distance ourselves from was hypocrisy. The widespread hypocrisy among people who believe they are more virtuous than others.

Ogden : It is always not recommended to go to public places and say: “I am really pious, I often go to church.” Someone who flaunts their virtue rarely inspires trust, it seems to me.

The two men pose in front of a large net structure.

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Vlooper and Ogden from Alaclair together

Photo: Radio-Canada / Denis Wong

Your conspiracy friend

After ironizing a certain fringe of the left, the Alaclair Ensemble caricatures the conspiratorial right with equal enthusiasm with two dizzying pieces about conspiracy theories, the first of which is entitled Your conspi Friend. Here, too, it is difficult to decipher the core of the group’s thinking.

Ogden : We’re all someone’s sneaky friend. It needs to be named. It’s funny how that sentence translates into something that tries to present a more marginal reading of the facts, because there are so many things in history that actually turned out to be conspiracies.

Weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist in Iraq, no one would say that’s not a conspiracy.

Vlooper : It’s also about restoring the legitimacy of the terms and re-appropriating them, because in the mainstream it is currently an insult to call someone a conspiracy theorist or woke person. But basically we say “your conspiracy friend” because we are your conspiracy friends.

Not a crazy guy

The Alaclair Ensemble brings it back to the conspiracy theme with “Pas fou le mec,” the album’s final and probably most intriguing track, where Vlooper veers off the beaten path with a high-tempo rhythm reminiscent of 1990s house. Crystal Waters.

The almost nine-minute song features KNLO and Ogden in a kind of sketch by François Pérusse. They launch into a dizzying tirade in which, without stopping to breathe, they list the conspiracy theories that have characterized the last few years. And without us once again knowing what they really think about it.

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Vlooper : It’s a song idea we’ve had for a long time. It’s a kind of game, we’re very far from our usual spectrum. It’s very rare that I say to myself, “We had a brainwave,” but I have to say that I’m really proud of this song. I haven’t heard anywhere else that this thing doesn’t exist.

Stages of grief

Lait paternal’s only instrumental piece, entitled “The Stages of Mourning”, says a lot about the state of mind in which the album was created. The entire album could have been called “The Stages of Grief,” says Ogden.

Personal grief, romantic separations, the grief for Maybe Watson, but also the grief for Karim Ouellet, a great friend of the Alaclair Ensemble, who died on January 17, 2022. The group is also reminiscent of the musician at the beginning of the album, Alaclair Fontaine, as well as on Forgot About Wats.

Karim Ouellet

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Karim Ouellet and the Alaclair Ensemble grew up musically together in Quebec City.

Photo: Courtesy

Vlooper : Karim is a great friend. Claudius [Bégin] and Eman grew up with him throughout their professional careers. It was a great shock, a great loss. He occupied a very important place in the Alaclair family and the wider Quebec City family.

Ogden : I can’t remember who first invented the grief stage chart, but it’s a really interesting tool. It’s a 20-second read that you can really relate to. In grief there are liberating moments, but also depths. It’s good to remember that the feelings we can feel around life’s challenges can be very contradictory.

The Alaclair Ensemble will present their new album on stage at the Impérial Bell in Quebec on September 7th and then at Club Soda in Montreal on September 29th and 30th.