If the music is fun to perform, it’s fun to listen to – Interview with OneSelf
We recently reviewed ‘Unicitude Door 5” by OneSelf, a solo project by Mario Deschenes. Impressed not only by his pretty unique approach to song-writing but to visualizing his music as well, we decided to get in touch with him and present you the person behind the music. It’s a curious read for sure. Enjoy!
Hello! Tell the world about yourself. How did you grow up to become the musician you are today?
Everything began when I was in 6th grade, this memory is still so clear in my mind, I could never forget this day. A class mate, a girl my age, brought a LP in class and she put this disc on the turntable. The song I heard was as nothing I have ever heard before. it grabbed my attention it was “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles. I was so shocked, back then I was a shy boy but I went to see this girl and asked her if I can borrow the LP. She said yes. I was so proud of myself and happy.
Then I made a copy of the first two songs on the album (“Hey Jude”). I recorded “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Should Have Known Better”. The rest of the album I found too heavy. Especially “Paperback Writer” and “Revolution” but worry not. Later I changed my mind about them as well.
I began collecting every issue, book or songs about The Beatles. I would read anything about them. I wanted to get a guitar to be like The Beatles. I was so naive. My father tried to tell me we didn’t have money for paperboy I had a little job as a paper boy and eventually I bought an electric guitar with an amplifier. I found a friend who showed me some chords. He told me I will probably stop playing the guitar at some point. But he was wrong, so wrong.
Let me tell you an important thing, I am a French Canadian, for sure I learned English in class, I sang in English before I started singing in French. I learned the D chord and with that single chord I wrote my first English song. It was about a bank that was robbed by thief. What a bad song it was.
“Oh it’s not so complicated to write a song”, I said to myself and I was so far away from the truth. I started taking guitar lessons and the teacher showed me how to play and sing in the same time. I learned to sing the notes of the guitar, I studied music theory and after one year he said I was ready to go by myself now. “Keep on working on your songs and music”, he said and that’s what I did.
I bought electronic drums to learn how to play with a beat accompanying me. I kept on following The Beatles. I wanted to know everything about them, when I read about a band that influenced The Beatles, I tried to find them, to understand how this band influenced The Beatles. I was very curious and I still am. This way I discovered a lot of bands.
I eventually bought a Fostex 4 track cassette recorder. Having enough tracks to record a song I thought why not record an album. The results were far from great but it worked out. Several years later I changed my 4 track for an 8 track. I kept learning how to record songs by myself. I didn’t have anyone to help me progress. I read a ton of books, listened to a ton of songs and tried the same I would here on these albums.
When I had enough money to buy my first computer I got the Digi 001 Pro Tools. It was a fully-functional DAW that allowed me to record, edit and master music. I spent years to improve my recording skills. I did my first three albums. Wow, I was so proud when I finished these. You fan can hear one here. “Traces Door 3” is available on Bandcamp.
I recorded everything by myself – from the first note to the last word. I created the artworks as well.
Finally I bought another computer with another system to record music – Avid (Digi Design), Pro Tools Eleven Rack.
With a lot of comments from all around the world (literrally) I recorded “Portraits of a Confidence Door 4”. It was a tribute for my late brother, I wanted an album to represent him as he was when he was alive. This is not an album to cry to, my brother was not a sad guy. He loved rock and blues and you’ll find them in my album. It took me 3 years to record it.
I created a video for every song, it’s available here.
Introduce your current musical projects and tell us what makes each one special for you!
The last 6 months I’ve written many songs but I kept 11 of them. They’re either in English or in French. I will create videos for each of them, like I did for my other albums and will begin recording my sixth audio-visual album.
I honestly don’t know what makes my projects special. They are a way to express myself. Songs pop up in my head just like that. It comes from different inspirations – a book I read, a movie I see or an expression that wakes up my mind etc.
I don’t think me or my songs and albums are special. I play with my heart and ears. If I have fun playing a song I wrote I keep it. If it feels dull it means no one will listen to it. I try to keep the lyrics though and maybe improve the text in the future. What might be special is the personal angle I take on the topics in my songs. The way I use words, the way I bring the character, it depends. None of my songs are the same. It all depends on how I felt in that moment.
You have been playing music for a long while! How do you find the drive and inspiration to keep going all this time?
I don’t know, maybe the thought that people from all over the world like my music gives me a boost to always go for creating a better song. I don’t want to disappoint the listeners but I also don’t want to disappoint myself. I know what I can do and I know what I have to do to achieve the best final result possible.
How is your local music scene in your perspective? Do you feel like you belong there?
There is no local music scene where I live, the closest one is at 5 hours away.
What is your all-time favourite record and how did it change you as an artist?
My all time favourite record is a live album by The Beatles from the Star Club in Hamburg in 1962. I don’t compare my music to the Beatles but it’s become a standard for me – the raw energy, the great songs, it will change your perception of music if you listened to this record. When I run out of inspiration a song or two from this album and the sun is smiling again.
What are your favorite software and hardware tools for music production?
My best favourite software and hardware are Eleven Rack from AVID with Pro Tools. The sonic quality is so great. ReAmp from Pro Tools is the effect to use and all plugins are very good sounding and easy to use. It takes just one look and you’ll now how to work with them. The virtual instruments also sound very authentic.
What is your songwriting process like?
It begins with a sentence or a couple of words for the chorus or the first verse It can take between 5 or 10 minutes and a couple of years. When the lyrics are good enough and I can sing with nothing but my voice, I try to find the chords with my electric guitar and my Dr 880 for the drums, with or without bass. I try different patterns, different keys, different tempos. As I said, the goal is to get a song that it’s fun to perform. If I have fun, the listeners will also have fun listening to it. From this point I begin recording.
Out of all the live shows you played, which one was the most memorable, and why?
I haven’t played live for ages. Instead, I focused on writing and recording in the studio.
What is your biggest musical goal?
To see and hear my music played all around the world. I’d like to see my music reaching not only current fans but new audiences as well.
How has being on Drooble helped you as a musician?
Drooble gave me the opportunity to promote my songs and videos. For me the best tool is the opportunity to see my music evaluated by other musicians, because they know what they’re talking about, they have similar experiences like me. Drooble helped me to be seen and heard and I hope it will keep on helping me with that.