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l'Octopus: Blissful Grooves & Bass Ingenuity

Published by: Meta on 21st May 2015 | View all blogs by Meta


Presenting the lovely Quebecoise, Claudia Gagne, a bass playing, grooving phenomenon with a songstress flair, and many tentacles.

M- Hello! Thanks so much for being on the second episode of sirens, Selkies, and Songstresses! You are one of three Quebecois on this show, apart from Mia Lotus and Zaza le Terreur. What part of Quebec are you from and what is the music scene like there?

CG-Hi! I'm very happy to participate to this radio show. Thanks again for the invitation :) . I live in down town Quebec City. There is a great musical scene in here! I am part of an artist collective called La Palette.

La Palette is an independent record label. There are really good artists and musicians that I admire a lot such as Jane Ehrhardt, Gab Paquet, Simon Paradis, Stéphane Robitaille and Pascal Pico Larouche. We do a lot of shows and cabarets together in Quebec City and Montreal. We also have a collective band with all the artists of La Palette : Le St-Jean-Baptiste-Country Club. It looks like a big party everytime we play together.. it's fun :)

There's is also a great project called Le Pantoum. It's kind of a concert hall /studio / loft/ repetition center /bring your own beer place. They do underground concerts with bands from everywhere in Canada, Europe, United States, and even Japan! It brings a nice vibe here in Quebec city.

M- That bass playing you do is pretty original and percussive. Have you played bass since you were very young?

CG- Thank you!:) No, I started playing bass when I was thirteen or fourteen years old. My brother, wich is older than me, is a bass player too, so he inspired me a lot. I started to play in rock bands when I was in high school. At cegep, I decided to study classical doublebass and to continue in jazz music at University Laval.

M- Who are your favourite bass players who have inspired you?

CG- It is difficult to say because I don't really have a favorite bass player. But when I started playing bass, I learned almost all the songs of Red Hot Chilli Peppers. So thanks to Flea! Now I know how to groove! :)

M- What kind of bass do you play? That is so neat.

CG- Thank you!! My acoustic bass is made by a Quebec luthier that is name Benoit Lauzé of Les Guitares Dièse. He is based in St-Jean-Port-Joli, a beautiful village. Sincerely, I tried a lot of these instruments, and the ones of M. Lauzé are awesome! He does acoustic guitars too! You can find him on Facebook as Les Guitares Dièse.

M- Wonderful!

I like the way you introduce your band members as tentacles. Where did the name l'Octopus come from?

CG- Haha this is funny.. well, many years ago, I watched a documentary about octopuses. I found that animal so intrigant, mysterious and incredible! It changes colors and shapes as it wants... When I started my solo project, I thought again about that documentary and I decided to go into that idea : the multitasking, the colors, etc..

Also, because the percussions takes a lot of place in the songs, I found that the word Oc-to-pus sounded very percussive. I added the `L'` to take off the english meaning ( I sing in french so that's also a good reason) and keep the sound/image of the word.

M- Who else plays with you?

CG- Last year, I introduced Hugo LeMalt to the project. He plays acoustic and electric guitar, and lapsteel too. He helps me a lot with his great musical ideas. I just added a new member in the band : my brother David Gagné. As I said earlier, my brother is also a bass player. As the third tentaclule of the Octopus, he his on the drum! In fact, the co-producer of the album Hugo Lebel thought about adding a small drum kit in the songs. The idea is too have a background beat that supports the songs, in the low range.

M- Can you tell us a little about the song Yukon?

CG- I wrote this song when I went to Yukon two years ago. I was Treeplanting in north BC all summer. Me and a friend decided to make a road trip in Yukon after de season. So that's what we did. It was so amazing! I just simply fell in love with the place. There is something so special.. the energy, the vibration.. I don't know. The song just came, like that, just like it existed already..

M- Do you tour around? What are your musical goals for the next few years?

CG- For now I don't do a lot of shows because I am working on my first album! It will be released on november 2015. I did a lot of shows around Quebec City in the past year. For now, I need to focus on the songs and the musical aspect of the project. I will start to tour after the release, in winter 2016 and summer for festivals.

M- How did you meet Mia Lotus? She is a fellow Selkie on the show.

CG- I never had the chance to meet Mia Lotus yet, but we talked a lot on facebook. I met her because she asked me to be part of her project as a doublebass player. Because I'm already involved in a lot of projects, I had to decline her offer. But we realised that we share lots and our passion for music is very similar. The drummer she plays with, Alex, is a friend of mine. We had a band many, many years ago... Like we say.. the world is very small (this is an expression we say a lot in french.. haha)



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