Recently Montréal Antifasciste published a long exposé on the neo fascist organization Atalante Québec. The article discusses the group’s international ties, as well as identifying key members in Québec City and Montréal.
The section devoted to the Rock Against Communism (RAC) band Légitime Violence made it clear that for recruiting purposes this sort of organizing inevitably strives to make inroads into certain milieus, especially the countercultural music scene, metal music in particular, tattooing, politics, the universities, and the computer gaming world. As such, the work of identifying these people has only begun.
In the coming months, we will be publishing a series of short articles titled “Atalante and Its Supporters.” Our goal is to expose public figures who are members or close sympathizers of Atalante, and who play a role in popularizing and normalizing the organization.
In this second part, we will be focusing on the folk scene and introducing you to the group Folk You!, three of whose members have links to the far right, and to Atalante Québec in particular. These links go a long way to explaining why Légitime Violence have an assured place to play when they want to do a show in Québec City: Studio Sonum.
Sylvain “Vevin” Cloutier, the “Repentant”
“De suprémaciste blanc à chanteur folk” [From White Supremacist to Folk Singer] is the title of a March 2018 Le Soleil darticle devoted to Sylvain Cloutier, the vocalist in the group FolkYou. This article is part of the musician’s alleged redemption after his many years as part of the most radical wing of the far right in Québec City.
Ste-Foy Krew, the Fédération des Québécois de souche, neo-Nazi bands like Prison Bound, Elyab, and Dernier Guerrier have all had the “student with a BA in music from the Université Laval” in their ranks. He has also showed up in groups like La Ferraille, where he dressed up like a pirate.
“Être un gros chr… de raciste et être un nazi, c’est stupide. Du racisme et du nazi, tu n’en trouveras jamais dans Folk You.” [Being some big fucking racist or being a Nazi, that’s just stupid]“Vevin” Cloutier insists, adding: “S’il y a des gens qui veulent me faire tomber moi, fine, mais pas le reste de FolkYou. Je ne veux pas que la m…. retombe sur le reste de mon band, car ils n’ont absolument rien à voir là-dedans” [If there are people who want to take me down, fine, but not the rest of Folk You. I don’t want that shit sticking to the rest of my band, because it has absolutely nothing to do with them].
Our research tells us that that statement is total crap. In fact, it didn’t take a lot of work to uncover not one but two other white supremacists who have been associated with Folk You from its very inception
Steve “Rebel” Labrecque, the co-founder
Founded in 2014, the hard core of Folk You seems to be Sylvain Cloutier, Félix Latraverse, and Steve Labrecque. While it’s not always easy to clearly establish the links between the far right and Folk You, that isn’t the case when it comes to Mr. “Rebel.”
In fact, the banjo player proudly flies his “1488” tattoo on his knuckles. His most recent Facebook profile photo doesn’t leave a lot of room for doubt about his neo-Nazi allegiance nor does his Totenkopf patch.
A quick explanation, “1488” is code used by neo-Nazi militants of every stripe since the eighties. The 14 refers to the “Fourteen Words,”a quote from David Lane, a member of the neo-Nazi paramilitary group the Order, and the 88 stands for “Heil Hitler” (H being the eighth letter of the alphabet). As to the Totenkopf, it was the symbol worn by the Nazi SS officers in charge of the concentration camps during Hitler’s reign. That doesn’t leave a lot of questions unanswered.
Oddly, it seems that Steve Labrecque left the group a few weeks before the publication of the Soleil article, in 2018. Coincidence?
Félix Latraverse, le guitariste
In December 2018, the Montréal Antifasciste collective published a complete dossier on the neofascist groupuscule Atalante Québec. It was while working on this dossier that more information turned up on the third founding member of Folk You, Félix Latraverse, who, it is worth noting, was found marching with Atalante Québec in September 2016.
As well as playing with Folk You from its inception, Latraverse is also the current guitarist in Atalante’s flagship group Légitime Violence. Among other things, this allowed him to tour Europe with the group in November 2018, making the rounds of some of the neofascist strongholds in the old world.
Latraverse has been very active musically, particularly in the metal scene, which makes him the right man for the job of creating links between Atalante and its politics and the musical counterculture. Using the pseudonym “Fix,” or sometimes “Ti-Wis,” he has played in a number of groups, including Neurasthène (with Sylvain Cloutier, also part of Folk You), Haeres, Aborgnon, Délétère, Blood Plot, Hollentur, Hymen, Dimentia, and Dèche Charge, to name just a few.
Studio Sonum, a final fallback
We learn in the dossier produced by Montréal Antifasciste that Félix Latraverse works at Studio Sonum in Québec City. And what do you know, the most recent Légitime Violence concerts all seem to have been at Studio Sonum (the group is no longer welcome in the vast majority of performance venues in the capital city). Just another one of those odd coincidences no doubt?
Studio Sonum, in the Saint-Sauveur neighbourhood of Québec City, is home to practice spaces and recording studios for local musicians. Numerous bands have locals there, including La Corriveau and Never More Than Less. The company’s promotional video, which is posted on YouTube, suggests that the members of Légitime Violence are Studio Sonum regulars.
How is it that Studio Sonum not only tolerates far-right music groups but even uses an image of Légitime Violence in its publicity? Why does the company provide a space for concerts by the cream of the crop of the Québec neofascist movement? Is this just something that Latraverse wangled, or is the administration complicit in what’s going on? Whatever the case, it’s troubling that a business catering to the public at large allows Atalante’s flag to fly on its premises.
A successful infiltration
Over time, Folk You has successfully infiltrated the music scene in Québec City, passing itself off as your run-of-the-mill band. Pulling this off has allowed Folk You to open for folk groups in no way associated with the far right, among them the Québec Redneck Bluegrass Project, Les Chiens de Ruelles, Irish Moutarde, and Capitaine Salaud.
In addition, the group has played at La Ninkasi, the Anti, La Barberie, the Festival celtique de Québec, and the St. Patrick’s Day celebration organized by the Québec City municipal administration. The group has also performed at events organized by the municipalities of Sorel-Tracy and Sainte-Flavie.
Obviously, if the folk scene—generally fairly progressive—can be penetrated by far-right ideas, then no milieu that is immune.Only by deception and obfuscation was the group able to slip through the cracks and perform in spaces that would never tolerate the presence of an openly far-right band.
This makes it clear that everyone involved in cultural production must pay attention and learn about the groups active in their milieu. In this instance, producers, owners of performance venues, and bands have a responsibility to acknowledge the true nature of Folk You. We humbly propose that the “band” be banned without question from all musical networks, full stop.
Martin Lussier, with Montréal Antifasciste