Boucan Sound System is the all-ages party band

Boucan Sound System’s first album Sono Savate is a blend of reggae, dancehall and ragamuffin styles, mixed with French, English, Spanish and Portuguese rhymes.
“We’re a party band,” said Phillipe Messier, whose stage name is FunkyFlip. “Boucan means ruckus in French. And we play to have fun. We surf on the wave and see where it takes us. It’s a matter of making songs we’re proud of and working off the crowd’s good vibes.”
While Boucan’s beats are fun and they get the crowd dancing, their lyrics range from corny to super corny. It’s the kind of music your parents would not want you to listen to if you were a 12-year-old girl. Their tracks include themes about smoking dope, dreaming of the tropics, and having naughty thoughts while watching a sexy girl dance. Add in a heavy dose of shameless self-promotion and a song about pirates featuring the borrowed lyrics “Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum” and you’ve got Boucan’s newest album in a nutshell.
The band consists of three members, François-Xavier “Louzgain” Sanchez on vocals, Félix “DJ Funky Falz” De Passillé on vinyl, and Phillipe “FunkyFlip” Messier on vocals and guitar. They all have their hand in creating the beats. Sanchez and Messier work together to write the lyrics, spending hours free-styling in their studio on St-Laurent.
Since moving to Montreal 11 years ago from a small town near the Pike River, Messier has been in several amateur bands, constantly searching for Montrealers who share his passion for music. Sanchez, originally from Marseille, France, came to visit Montreal a few years ago and liked the city’s vibe so much that he decided to stay.
The three band members met through Montreal’s reggae, afrobeat and dancehall community and decided quickly thereafter to form a band. They also recruited their friends to be the band’s promoters, photographers and graphic designers. Together, they give a whole new meaning to “one love.” They are indeed one big family of reggae music lovers.
Boucan is not associated with any record label. Messier says that’s a good thing because the band members have more creative control. It allows them to make music that best reflects their immediate state of mind.
“We wanna bring our music out super fast,” said Messier. “We gave ourselves the objective to work ‘dans l’urgence.’ So when we do a piece, once it’s good and we’re proud of it, we release it right away because we want it to grow old with its time. We’re already looking to release a new album in the spring, just to keep things moving.”
They announced the launch of their first online album Sono Savate during their show last Wednesday at Club Balattou on St-Laurent.
From the moment you walk in, it’s obvious that Club Balattou used to be a strip joint. The venue still has its original retro decor, minus the stripper poles, of course. You’ve got a row of mirrors behind the stage and all along the walls, a DJ booth made up of disco ball mirrors, Mardi Gras masks and beaded necklaces hanging from the light fixtures, neon purple lights surrounding the bar, and a string of red pleather half-moon sofas facing the stage.
While watching Boucan set up, it was hard not to compare them to the exotic dancers that must have stood there before. Rather than women in skimpy outfits were white boys with dreadlocks and Volcom hats.
By 11 p.m., there was a healthy mix of hipsters and hippies in the house, most of them friends of the band, and they piled onto the narrow dance floor.
“I’m On a Roll” is quite possibly their best song. Though the lyrics are still infantile, they’re immersed within a catchy beat that makes you want to move your feet and for the anglophones in the audience, the song’s chorus is sung in English by guest vocalist Phil C des Hangers.
While performing the song live, however, Phil C began to freestyle, singing “Eeny meeny mo, eeny meeny mo,” leaving me to wonder, “Where did the ‘miny’ go?”
That being said, it’s hard to criticize them. On stage, they look so happy and they clearly love what they’re doing. You have to give these guys props for throwing a massive party and getting the crowd going. They really are a party band.

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