Tag Archives: Duchess Says

Montreal’s Duchess Says Explore the True Meaning of “Cult Following”

Duchesse Says. Photo by Philippe Beauséjour.

Duchesse Says. Photo by Philippe Beauséjour.

It wasn’t long into Duchess Says‘ first few shows, way back into the early ’00s, that frontwoman Annie-Claude Deschênes’ fearless face-offs with her audience began. It wasn’t an antagonistic choice so much as artistic one: Deschênes realized that unless she pushed the limits of live performances, shoving her way into the crowd, “trying different things” each night, the Montreal synth-punk band’s singer would “get bored.”  “I prefer to be close to people because there’s more energ,”Deschênes says. Of course, that kind of risk-taking often has physical consequences.

“One night in Quebec City, I was battling the crowd with some newspapers,” she says with a pained laugh. “I fell on the floor and a girl jumped on me. I broke my wrist and asked the crowd if there was a doctor there or someone who could help me. They started chanting ‘Is there a doctor? Wooo!’ Then they started passing me along over their heads, let me fall on the floor, and I got a concussion. I ended up in the hospital. That night was depressing.”

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