Since 2004, they have been nominated for several awards, winning five Felix Awards, including three for Alternative Album of the Year in 2006, 2009 and again this year during L’Autre Gala de l’ADISQ on Oct. 24.
Their fourth studio album, La caverne, released in April of this year, has received amazing feedback from critics, especially considering the challenge of making a name for a French-speaking rock band on the English-Canadian and international scene.
“I’d say that, generally, we received a very good response from the English-Canadian audience,” said keyboardist and singer Thomas Augustin. “We hadn’t really performed [for them] yet even though the album has been out for a long time.”
Augustin explained that despite their musical similarity to The Besnard Lakes, their fan bases are very different, so by touring together they created a sort of symbiotic relationship of exposure for one another.
“Some people were discovering Malajube while others were discovering The Besnard Lakes every night, and it certainly is a positive thing for the both of us,” Augustin admitted. “It was really amazing for us to have the chance to get our music out there, outside of the francophone music scene.”
Even though playing on the English scene was a fun experience for the band, the Montreal area natives have never considered singing in English.
“It’s important for us to sing in French. It’s the language we are the most comfortable singing in, it’s our mother tongue and it’s the language we feel the most eloquent in,” Augustin explained. “We feel it’s a noble cause to try to make French music and live from our art in French, it’s important for us and we are proud to be French, proud to be who we are. Maybe we’d be richer if we’d play in English, maybe our lives would be completely different, but we will continue to sing in French and are not considering switching to English.”
The band members certainly have their own way of seeing things, even when it comes to their band name.
“It’s a mix of many words, like maladie (sickness), jujube (candy) of course, maladroit (clumsy), and many others,” Augustin continued, laughing. “These words are all contradictory to each other and reveal, in a sense, all the oppositions there are in music, in what we do. We always somewhat try to put something that is positive versus something that is negative in everything we do, and maladie and jujube are like two extremes, so there you go!”
Even though they have clearly evolved as a band since they started, Malajube’s latest album takes listeners back to their debut album, Le compte complet, with its pop inclinations, catchy yet thoughtful lyrics, and upbeat melodies.
Their tour with The Besnard Lakes will finally head back to Quebec this week, and will return to Montreal in December, where they say they are thrilled to meet with their fans again.
“We’re going to play songs from all the albums, but the show is mostly to present the songs from La caverne,” Augustin said. “We always give all we have in these kinds of shows, and we really concentrate on the music and giving a good performance, considering that we don’t have a lot of staging. But people can definitely expect something intense and special on the night of the Montreal show.”
Malajube and The Besnard Lakes play Moulin-Neuf in Terrebonne (950 Ile-des-Moulins) on Nov. 12 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22,50, plus taxes. They will play in Montreal at Metropolis (59 Ste-Catherine St. E.) on Dec. 14 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, plus taxes.