Following his tenure as bassist with the alt-rock sensation Heat, Montrealer Raphaël Bussières took a year-long hiatus from the frenetic life of near-constant touring—and emerged as a new artist, Lucill.
“I took the time to write and make some explorations, and really find my own sound,” says Bussières. “I think that time was really, really useful, just having the time to focus on writing good songs before starting to play shows.”
“You can tour the world and play a lot of shows, but if you don’t have time to write, I think you’re just going nowhere. You just burn yourself out,” he says.
Early on, Bussières’s influences were British and American bands, and for years he composed his lyrics in English. “But I always felt like I focused on the melodies and the feeling, then the lyrics,” he says. “And I just didn’t like the feel of the words, or my accent when I sang them. When I started to write in French, it was more about the subject and about the purpose of what I wanted to say.”
Making the switch was a breakthrough for Bussières.
“I just thought, I dream in French; I’m from here; I’m talking in French; I think in French. I wanted to be sincere in my art and I think it makes sense,” he says. “It was a really, really good feeling to just make one song for me in French. After that song, I was able to just find my voice and assume what I am as an artist and as a Francophone artist.”
As Lucill, Bussières is making a mark in the Francophone music industry. Full-length albums in 2020 and 2022 followed his debut EP, and his next album is in the works, slated for 2024 release. The first single from that album, Seul au monde (Alone in the World), gives a glimpse into the hushed, floating pop sound that’s dominated his solo career.
“I just want to take more time, maybe two years instead of one, to finish this next album,” he says. “I want to focus on the songs, one by one. I can go in really deep on every song.”
Many of those tracks will feature collaborations, and Bussières is looking forward to upcoming duet appearances with fellow artist Marie Claudel. There’s an intensity to performing solo, he admits, and sharing the stage creates an entirely different chemistry. “Playing with other artists,” he says, “just makes me feel really good.”
Check out Lucill on Blundstone Playist VI, on social media @lucillofficiel and keep updated on his upcoming touring schedule at coyoterecords.ca/en/artists/lucill.