I must, by way of advance disclosure, confess that in the past few months I’ve felt a slowing down in my excitement about new pop music. I thrive on that instant, thrilling “fuck me!” sensation you get when you hear a song that drives you immediately to find everything that the artist in question has ever recorded and post about them on social media, making good use of the We Have Decided To Stan Forever meme. But recently? Not so much.

I mean, of course there’s been a ton of new music, more and more and more every Friday – you make your best endeavours to trawl through all the new releases and identify the ones you could viably see yourself bothering to listen to again but, to me, in the race to be heard and reach wider audiences, pop music has – of late – felt particularly samey, to the point that it’s much more difficult for a new pop release to stand out from all the rest.

And then towards the end of February I got sent the latest music video from French act Canine. The PR blurb spoke of “shamanic soul and gospel sounds” but I didn’t let that put me off. 30 seconds into ‘Twin Shadow’, I knew I’ll be listening to the whole song (not a given, nowadays) and by the time the chorus finished its first spin around the 1-minute mark, I - well… I decided to stan forever.

The production here is rich and treads the right balance between accessible and eccentric. Meanwhile, the vocals - synthetically pitched to an almost genderless timbre - call to mind Planningtorock. Indeed, for Canine (an entity that shies away from being pinned down in terms of gender binary distinctions and questions about whether it’s a solo artist or a group) at the heart of the music is the concept of voice: multi-faceted vocals that defy a single definition.

The entity itself has described the sound as “[v]oices that come together like an ageless, sexless choir. Vocals that express internal conflict, reconciling all the many different personalities that exist within each and every one of us.”

Following the release in France of 3 tracks back in 2016 (‘Laughing’, the excellent ‘Glow’, and a torch-song reinterpretation of FKA twigs’s ‘Two Weeks’), Canine played a much-talked-about show in The Church Saint-Eustache in Paris, winning over a burgeoning French following.

Last month saw the release of Canine’s self-titled debut EP on Polydor and this made for a perfect opportunity to throw some questions their way and learn a bit more about France’s most mysterious musical export.

How did Canine come to be?

Since I was a child, I always had the feeling of being out of place. I could not stand any authority and living with myself was very complicated. Despite this difficulty, I felt great joys even if great sorrows were also part of my life. I wanted to get by, by any means. Music, which speaks to the head as well as the body, has been my ideal refuge. Canine is the consequence of this struggle and now the "territory" that serves me as a struggle and allows me to unite with other sensitive souls.

For you, does all the media speculation about the identity of the caractère behind Canine distract from the music or do you think it contributes to a mystique that is necessary to it?

For me the essence of Canine is music. I spent a lot of time polishing it, wondering about the choice of each sound, each structure. I thought and wanted my music to be closer to my truth, that of emotions and feelings. I did not necessarily play the mystery card. But I was also fed up with these projects that use the cult of personality to exist and ultimately they do so because the listeners vicariously live a life that they think is better, but they forget about the music. We live in a time of individualism and these musical projects give me the sensation to be the perfect illustration of it. That the media has been interested in the mystical side of my music has served to make sure they do not talk about me as a person. They talk about the project and its values and I trust people to come and listen to the music.

The project has been characterised as pertaining to plurality. Can you explain what that word means to you in this context?

It's quite fair. The Canine project is originally a solo one since I wrote and composed all of it. Nevertheless, I thought of it as a collective project from the beginning. I have in my head several voices that speak, console or fight each other. I have from the beginning of my compositions wanted to give freedom to all these voices in me, to these internal dialogues. Then I started working on the concert and decided that each voice, each instrument would be interpreted by a musician. For me, Canine is a solo project that draws its strength from the collective. The values of Canine are those of the group, the one that allows fraternity, struggle and mutual aid. Nothing gets done alone and Canine, while I am a great loner, allowed me to become aware of it. I see it as a pack, made of particular entities that create a whole.

Does plurality come into the songwriting in terms of the themes behind the tracks on your EP, or would you say that there is a cohesive concept behind the four songs, tying them together?

This is an excellent question. I think there is a common thread between all the songs. As in a pack, they are all different but all go towards the same goal. For me, their common goal is to continue to struggle beyond doubts and low self-esteem (‘Saturday’, ‘Twin Shadow’), to experience hypersensitivity and anger (‘Temps’) or hope to stay in a world - refuge (‘Could We’). So, for the content, I would say that the common threads are the fight and the hope. In terms of form, they are all different but the choice of strings and choir on all tracks – despite the difference in rhythms and instruments - also create cohesion. I wanted brutal and elegant music and I hope that the 4 pieces of the EP bring out this contrast.

The video for ‘Twin Shadow’ is sinister and beguiling. It was directed by Justine Bo, who’s worked extensively in the documentaries sphere. If the visuals for ‘Twin Shadow’ are a documentary, what kind of world do you think they document?

I wanted to create in this video a feeling of strangeness. For me, the house is the main character and her inhabitants are her emotions that create a whole. If ‘Twin Shadow’ was a documentary, it would describe a world of emotions, dreams, desires and the unconscious. It would be the world of our inner dialogues when different feelings collide within us or sometimes makeup. It’s our inner world that also seeks a form of spirituality, which wants to create a link with the invisible.

How was the concept behind the video devised - did it come from you or from Justine or was it a collaborative idea?

The idea came from me. Justine then made the video.

Artists like Jam Rostron have used voice-pitching technology to help the music transcend beyond a sound that is easily attributed to a particular gender. Similarly, with Canine, the gender identity is far from clear – how complex was the process of refining the essence of voice you wanted Canine to have?

The voice of Canine has been a long process so that it can be organic and real. I wanted a voice without sex and without age. A voice that would be an entity in itself, which would feed on emotion and be more universal. The voice of Canine is the child we have been, the old person who we’ll become and lives already in us; the man and the woman that we are. It is the addition of all these beings that makes us complete.

What is your overarching vision for bringing the recorded Canine output to a live stage setting?

The live stage is the home of Canine. I chose to create a stage crew of 10 women. At first, it was obvious that each choir voice would be performed by a woman as these voices are an extension of the voices I sang and recorded. Then, when I had to choose the instrumentalists, I realised that finding women to play drums, bass and double bass, as well as piano, was not easy. So I wanted to avoid at all costs creating a group of women singers and men behind instruments, which is a recurring model in music. So I searched and found excellent instrumentalists. And when we play, our energy is that of a pack of wolves advancing together and creating a whole.

Canine by Canine is out now on Polydor France.