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Broken Social Scene side project La Force a solo endeavor for Ariel Engle

The musician is also in a band, AroarA, with her husband Andrew Whiteman.

Ariel Engle, the songwriter and musician behind the

Ariel Engle, the songwriter and musician behind the electronic-flecked pop of La Force. Photo Credit: Norman Wong

When a member of a group – or in the case of Ariel Engle, the songwriter and musician behind the electronic-flecked pop of La Force, both Broken Social Scene and AroarA – releases a solo effort, it’s a major transition. But while recording her self-titled debut album last year, Engle faced a much more daunting change, with the passing of her father.

“My father was dying in our family home, which is close to where I live,” she says. “So, I was saying goodbye to him, and I’m a mother of a small child – I was feeling that liminal state of losing my parent while becoming a parent,” she says.

The resulting record is one with moments of loss and doubt, but also one with celebrations of love -- a balanced outcome from a tumultuous time.

amNewYork caught up with Engle to talk about her father, solo work and love songs.

Where do you hear the loss of your father the most on the album?

I hear it on “Mama Papa.” I hear it on “Lucky One,” to some extent. “Can’t Take” is about post-partum depression, which was also happening [during the recording]. … I felt like his Mini-Me, you know? I was losing my Maxi-Me. It was a real turning point, so some of that is expressed in the music.

You’re a member of Broken Social Scene, and you’re one-half of AroarA with Andrew Whiteman. What’s it like to step out on your own?

It’s presented as a solo project, and it is a solo project, because at the end of the day, these are all things that I approved. But, I think it’s a bit of a misnomer in a sense that Andrew, who I’m married to, and is part of Broken Social Scene, was a big part of the writing process. Then I invite people to come in and play, and I’m open to their ideas. … So there’s a lot of people involved in a solo project. At the end of the day, I make very few compromises. That’s the big difference. I get to be the dictator of my own project.

One of the album’s pre-release singles was the upbeat love song “You Amaze Me.” How do you write a song about love and make it sound fresh?

Do I even say the word love?

Maybe once?

I think the first thing is to maybe not say love. [Laughs] Like a “show it, don’t say it” kind of thing? I feel the music that I’ve made that I’m happiest with is music that has lead on a feeling more than a thought. I think the reason why “You Amaze Me” was satisfying to me when we finished it, was that I felt the words supported this feeling, as opposed to being told and then hoping the feeling matches, do you know what I mean? You’re like, “I love you ‘cause you’re the best and I can’t,” you know, all that stuff, and you’re like listening to this whole long, sort of poem about love that you don’t necessarily feel it. I’d like to think that maybe the song could be translated into a language that I don’t understand, but still feel like it’s about love.

If you go: La Force performs at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at Mercury Lounge, 217 E. Houston St.,, $12-$15.


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