Yann Beauregard-Lemay and Julien Bidar, the duo behind the publishing startup Outloud, are driven by a deep-seated desire to do things differently.

After honing their skills in the various businesses run by Sébastien Nasra – Bidar is an alumnus of Éditions Avalanche, and Beauregard-Lemay of Disques Vega and the M for Montréal festival – the two friends decided to join forces and create a publishing company that they intend to keep nimble and innovative, two crucial elements in this constantly evolving music industry.

Says Bidar: “We work with smaller budgets in an industry that generates less money than before. That, however, must not stop us from moving forward and being dynamic for the bands we represent as publishers. For example, we don’t wait for an album to come out in a given territory before encouraging that band to tour there. That’s the case with Coco Méliès, who are currently touring Europe for the second time – thanks to our contract with Kalima Productions, and despite not having a record contract. The first tour was profitable. So for us, that was a development effort with a return on investment.” (Editor’s Note: On April 26, Audiogram announced that it was signing Coco Méliès, whose catalogue will now be managed by Éditorial Avenue.)

Bidar and Beauregard-Lemay work in close collaboration with all the bands they sign. That’s a necessity when one manages a catalogue that’s mainly centred on emerging talent, such as Secret Sun, Orange O’Clock, Fred Woods, AléatoireTechnical Kidman and Dr. Mad. “We establish partnerships after meeting with the artists. We want to bond with them, sharing a vision,” says Bidar. “That allows us to come up with strategies that are in their image and in ours.” To them, managing musical works is synonymous with the development of an artistic process. If this seems very close to a manager’s job, both men keenly deny that they want to meddle. “Our job is not making sure everything runs smoothly during a tour, or that they have water bottles next to their mike stands,” says Bidar. “That’s very important, but it’s not our department.”

“There’s always a lot of luck involved, but you need to always be pro-active” — Julien Bidar of Outloud

Right from the get-go, in 2014, they managed to land two successful ad placements in Europe, which gave their publishing endeavour strong momentum. They placed a song by Jean-Sébastien Houle in a TV ad for the Bank of Austria. Outloud also placed a song by Locksley – a work in a British catalogue, So Far, managed by Outloud – in an ad for Polish beer Zywiec Warianty. “There’s always a lot of luck involved, but you need to always be pro-active,” says Bidar who’s made it his specialty. “I send at least two or three pitches a day to get only one ‘yes’ back every 50 pitches or so. The goal is to create the perfect match between a song and a product. An artist’s notoriety can influence the outcome, but it’s not the only factor in play.”

Bank of Austria ad with Jean-Sébastien Houle’s music:

Hoping to get as many placements as they can, the aptly-named Outloud intends to make as much noise as it can. That’s where Beauregard-Lemay comes into play, a man that Bidar likes to jokingly call “the man who can’t walk down the street without everyone recognizing him.” Beauregard-Lemay is in charge of the social media accounts of the many bands represented by Outloud, which means he maintains close ties with a sizeable number of music blogs. He also manages to get stories in more traditional media. Beauregard-Lemay concurs that this approach yields a lot of credibility: “For us, this link with the media and social networks feeds into a band’s image, and facilitates the ulterior placement of their music. We don’t bill our bands for this work, because we believe we come out winners as much as they do in carrying out these promotional efforts.”

And this online presence is encouraged by Outloud in many different ways. To wit, Bidar and Beauregard-Lemay told Coco Méliès they should release a song created for a pitch as an online-only single. Same for Aléatoire, who managed to reach 150,000 plays with a single song on Spotify. They’ve encouraged Secret Sun to have their material remixed by various producers, like ­ Foxtrott and The Posterz – in order to maximize their variety of styles. “When you want to place music in visual content, you need to be versatile,” says Beauregard-Lemay.

Sonically and territorially boundless, Outloud maintains a versatile and global approach, masterfully piloted by these two businessmen and their common passion for music.

Dan Boeckner is trying to respond to the question, “How many bands are you in right now?”

It’s a trick query, but considering the indie renaissance man’s relentless writing, recording and touring schedule across an ever-changing list of projects, it needs to be asked.

“I’m in two right now,” says Boeckner, during a load-in break for a radio appearance at WFUV, 90.7 FM in New York City. “But Divine Fits is kind of in hibernation mode, so three.

He pauses. “I guess.”

Besides the dormant Divine Fits, which Boeckner shares with Spoon’s Britt Daniel, the two things dividing his time right now are the re-united Wolf Parade – with whom he’s doing a series of shows throughout the summer and fall of 2016 – and Operators, the reason why he’s hovering around a Brooklyn radio studio at the moment.

“When I was working shitty jobs, all I could really dream of was having enough time to do music all the time. I get to do that now.”

“I think my time will be split between the two, maybe a bit more for Wolf Parade, but nearly 50-50 until November,” says Boeckner of his Operators-Wolf Parade work-work balance.

Operators – formed after Boeckner’s band Handsome Furs, with ex-wife Alexei Perry, dissolved along with their marriage – also features Macedonian keyboardist Devojka, drummer Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks) and bassist Dustin Hawthorne (Hot Hot Heat) making propulsive, new wave-inspired dance rock. The band’s first album Blue Wave came out April 1, 2016, and Boeckner says all his past bands are reflected on it.

“With the Operators stuff, it’s really a culmination of a lot of tools I’ve learned to develop in both those bands, Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade,” he explains. “It’s really an extension of Handsome Furs in a lot of ways. In retrospect, I regret that I couldn’t just call this band ‘Handsome Furs,’ but… you know. Life doesn’t work that way.”

Much of Blue Wave was inspired by Boeckner’s time spent living on the “have-nots” side of Silicon Valley, consuming dystopian Phillip K. Dick novels. This has informed Blue Wave’s songs with an ugly, Blade Runner-inspired, retro-futurist edge. Indeed, echoes of New Order (the bounding “Cold Light”), The Clash’s dance punk (“Evil”), and a very direct nod to Laura Branigan’s “Self Control” (“Space Needle”) inhabit Blue Wave‘s synth-heavy new new-wave.

“I lived in this suburb that was not reaping the benefits of the incredible growth and wealth that’s concentrated in Silicon Valley,” says Boeckner. “And that’s a dissociative, strange feeling I tried to convey.”

In the end, though, it always comes back to the music. It’s why Boeckner’s in at least two-and-a-half bands right now.

“When I graduated from high school, all I really wanted to do was play in a band,” says Boeckner. “Not just play in a band, but specifically write songs and perform them for people.

“I still feel a sense of awe that I have to show up somewhere and be at ‘work.’ When I was working shitty jobs, all I could really dream of was having enough time to do music all the time. I get to do that now, and I’ve done it for the last 10 years. So if I don’t take advantage of that, and if I lose sight of that, then I’m kind of an asshole.”

Andy Shauf was in high school when he first discovered songwriting. “It was empowering,” he recalls. “I realized, ‘why play other people’s songs when you can play your own’?” Not long after, unable to land a job in the summer before his graduating year, Shauf, who grew up as part of a musical family in rural Saskatchewan, decided he would “stay home and make a record,” eventually selling it to his peers for pocket money.

While he’s relieved the album no longer exists (“it’s still pretty embarrassing”), the impulse to make and share his music had taken hold. Upon graduation, Shauf worked odd jobs, but only to support his life on the road. “I was always touring,” he recalls. “I have always toured. I would get in the car and go and play for months.”

Now nearly 29, Shauf is making a name for himself thanks to his quirky, imaginative approach to songwriting and a distinctive voice that has drawn comparisons to Elliot Smith and Paul Simon. In 2015, he signed with Arts and Crafts in Canada and Anti- in the U.S, and is gearing up to launch his latest full-length album, The Party, in May.

“My focus in on the day-to-day, song to song – to just keep writing.”

While he is hesitant to call it a concept album, Shauf, who “prefers writing in stories” more than in “personal narratives,” says each song is centered around a party and focuses on mundane moments and an awkward cast of characters – from a girl who dances alone and un-selfconsciously in the middle of the room, to a guy who steps out for a smoke but can’t find his lighter. “I think they’re all awkward, because they’re filtered through my personal awkwardness,” says Shauf, who admits he’s shy.

Shauf is also the first to admit that he’s controlling when it comes to making music. That’s the reason he scrapped the first iteration of The Party, which he started recording with a band in Germany in 2014. “Those sessions didn’t go very well,” he says simply, explaining his decision to start again – alone – at Studio One in Regina, the city he currently calls home.

As with his 2012 LP The Bearer of Bad News (created in his parents’ basement over a four-year period) and his 2009 EP Darker Days, Shauf plays all the instruments, with the addition of strings played by Colin Nealis. “It’s just easier for me to work by myself and to come to a conclusion that’s mine,” he says of his solitary creative process.  Shauf’s desire for solitude ends onstage, however: he tours with a band (they’re currently in the U.K. opening for the Lumineers) and appreciates when his audiences connect with his music.

But while he’s proud of his latest album, Shauf is clear he won’t let success distract him from what matters most: writing and recording. “My goal right now is to just try and get better each time I make an album or write a song,” he says. “I think you would drive yourself crazy if you were trying to achieve different levels of fame or whatever. My focus in on the day-to-day, song to song – to just keep writing and to try and keep having ideas for new songs.”