Les Handclaps wants to get the whole world moving.
The pop trio, who hails from Montreal, Quebec, had its first taste of fame when one of its songs was featured in a commercial for Telus, a Canadian telecommunications company.
Daniel Saucier, organ, programming and vocals, explained the band name has symbolic meaning. It incorporates the multilingual music of the group and serves as an encouragement for movement.
“Handclaps is like the most simple music you can make with your body. It is like the union between dance and music,” Saucier said. “So when we started doing music together we found that hand-clapping was really the thing that made you dance in a song.”
The band writes songs in German and Spanish, but a majority of their music is “Franglaise,” a blend of French and English.
Lorraine Muller, vocals, enjoys the various languages employed by the group.
“It’s just fun,” Muller said. “It sounds nice. It makes you think differently and sing differently. You can express the same thing with different words. It is just a different texture for the music.”
Saucier and Hugo Clermont, guitar, programming and vocals, began playing together four years ago and added Muller to the mix two years ago.
It all began with a farfisa organ.
“(Saucier) bought a farfisa organ, and I used to stop by during my lunch break and listen to him play,” Clermont said. “We just loved the sound of it and wrote a song for a friend’s wedding.”
The pair discovered Muller on MySpace, and Les Handclaps was born.
Les Handclaps is not finished yet. The band hopes to create a project utilizing sound and images, and has begun by adding its own dance crew.
“We were inspired by ’60s music, garage bands, and there was the go-go music at this time. We wanted to see how the go-go dancers would be today,” Clermont said. “They are not actually go-go dancers, (but) they are inspired by the go-gos.”
Marie Béland and Marilyne St-Sauveur are trained contemporary dancers, Muller said.
“(They are) the physical side of the music,” Saucier said.
Choreographing for the group was a new and difficult experience.
“It was a challenge to try to find the blend of mixing go-go dancing and contemporary dancing,” Béland said. “(The goal is) doing something as simple and clear as possible, because the dance is a part of a show, and for me, a way to put the music in the body.”
St-Sauveur said she and Beland do more than jump around on stage.
“(We want to be the) image of the music,” St-Sauveur said. “Complementing what they are doing, because they are already on stage is a balance of taking space and leaving space.”
The band is awaiting the debut of their first album, which is scheduled for release in May.
“We have a lot of special guests on the album — the guitarist from Montreal band Les Breastfeeders, and Stuart Zender, former member of Jamiroquai,” Muller said. “I keep joking and saying if the people who were on the album were told a year ago that they would be on the same record as the other guests, they would never see where their worlds could meet.”
Saucier said the band was very excited to be chosen to play in the South by Southwest showcase.
“We only had a sample of a demo. We didn’t have the album done,” Saucier said. “We are quite proud and honored to be here.”
Muller said she was more surprised than the rest of the band members that Les Handclaps was selected to play at the festival.
“Getting into SXSW is impossible, if you look at the odds,” Muller said. “But getting in when you don’t have a label, you don’t have an album ... you don’t have anyone pushing for you, nothing, that is pretty outstanding.”