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Interview with MARTIN LAROSE
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
As far back as I can remember, music has always been an integral part of my life. My parents were ardent music enthusiasts, and they introduced my sister and me to piano lessons at a very young age. My dad had a deep love for Gospel and Calypso music, while my mother favored Classical and Jazz. I still possess an old recording of Vladimir Horowitz performing Hungarian Rhapsodies, which left a profound impact on me.
This might sound cliché, but music is ingrained in my DNA; I require it as I do food, air, and water. It's as simple as that. Music provides me with a means of self-expression, and the guitar became my ideal medium. In addition to my musical pursuits, I've had a career in higher education and business management, which answers the second part of your question.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Aside from operating our commercial recording facility, I find joy in hiking, caring for my dog, assisting my sons, and cooking with (or for) my wife. It's a rather simple life, I must admit. I reside in a remote environment near a beautiful forest, which helps clear my mind and serves as a wellspring of inspiration for my music.
How long have you been making music?
Haha! Do I have to reveal my age? I embarked on my musical journey by playing the piano at the tender age of 6, so it's been 50 years... (though I still feel like I'm 25).
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I'm based in a small town called Jonquière, which is part of the Saguenay greater area. It's a stunning place, albeit quite cold during the winter. It certainly influences my music since it's such a beautiful and peaceful place. I feel privileged to live here. Our studio is located in the countryside, and it is so inspiring. We have state-of-the-art technology. Now, I know it's going to sound silly to some of your readers, but I like to think of Saguenay as a little Kingston, Jamaica. It's very remote from the larger Canadian urban areas, but the music scene is very active. Internationally known metal band Voivod comes from here, as does Jeanick Fournier, the winner of last year's Canada's Got Talent, whom I've worked with.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
Selecting just one memorable show is a tough task; there have been so many. However, I vividly recall a performance at a small venue in my area back in the 90s. At one point, we nearly lost control of the audience as people danced on the tables, thoroughly enjoying themselves. That was truly memorable (and scary!). Additionally, hosting guitar clinics lately has been incredibly rewarding and enjoyable.
If you're referring to concerts I've attended, watching The Who's Farewell Concert in Toronto in 1982, broadcast live on national TV, was a life-changing/DNA altering experience for me. It was like an awakening.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I particularly enjoy smaller venues, such as those with around 200 seats. It's in these intimate settings that you can truly connect with your audience. While it's hard to pinpoint just one favorite, Red Rocks would be the ultimate dream for me. It's an extraordinarily beautiful venue. And, of course, playing at Toronto's ScotiaBank Arena would be fantastic. The Palais Montcalm in Quebec City is absolutely gorgeous and sounds amazing.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Oh, goodness, the stage wouldn't be big enough! But, I'll give it a try:
Drums: Stewart Copeland and/or Dave Weckl
Bass: Geddy Lee and/or Billy Sheehan
Keyboards: Loren Gold
Vocals: Meghan Parnell from Bywater Call
Vocals: Ziggy Marley
Vocals: Amanda Marshall
Vocals: Chris Whitley
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
You are the captain of your own career ship; no one else will steer it for you. Keep pushing forward, and don't wait for anyone. I don't believe it's harder to make it in the music industry today; we have numerous tools to produce and share our music. Embrace the current reality of the music industry, and above all, keep practicing!
Of your songs, which one holds the most significance for you, and why?
The song titled "For Claude," which I composed for my wife, holds a special place in my heart. It was also the first song I wrote on the Harp Guitar, and I'm deeply fond of the melody I created.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
There's an instrumental piece I wrote about 12 years ago called "For Zack," named after my son. It involves a lot of intricate guitar techniques that I've developed over the years, and it consistently garners a strong reaction from the audience. I'm also immensely proud of the songs on my latest album, with "Temporarily Broken" being particularly close to my heart. Additionally, on my previous album, I covered "Stompin' 8H," the song Eddie Van Halen played during Valerie Bertinelli's appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1987. I'm extremely proud of my version, and it's a blast to perform live.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process typically begins with some casual guitar noodling and a notepad. Once I find myself in a creative flow, ideas start to pour out. Sometimes, a specific instrument or alternate tuning will trigger inspiration. I tend to work during the nighttime hours.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I might sound like an old hippy, but my music often carries messages of love and kindness towards others, musically and lyrically. To me, that's what it's all about.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My future plans involve continuing to create and perform music. I'm already working on a new album and composing music for an upcoming acoustic guitar project. I'm also involved in a special project that revolves around a song by Rush. I would love to perform more concerts across Canada. Additionally, I'll continue operating our recording studio, Le Studio Septentrio, and producing other artists. I would also love to collaborate with other Canadian artists!!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
You can keep up with my work through my official website: www.martinlarose.com. I'm also active on social media platforms like Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. Additionally, you can check out our recording facility at www.septentriostudio.com.