Interview: Mario Lagassé

Last weekend I noticed Mario was at both of the shows I was shooting. It was about 10:30 or so on St. Patty’s Day. I think it seemed weirder at the time because I was drunk? But it put this big smile on my face.

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Mario playing at the first show, Cluster Festival, with SC Mira

Mario’s been playing in a number of acts in Winnipeg for a while. One act just released a video, actually. I’ve noticed him a few times, and noticed that he doesn’t really say much. Mostly just played the bass. Maybe that’s just my experience, granted I’d never really had a conversation with him, but the way he contributed to stage presence, it felt quiet yet present.

So I decided to interview him.

J: Last night you played at the WECC and the Good Will. How?

M: I know, right? I’ve never played a double gig before, and I’ve wanted to… Itt was hard. I wanted to have the best night ever basically. IT was weird because I didn’t know that I had two shows that day until about two weeks before and I realized I had accidentally double booked myself. I knew I could make it work because I had a show at 8 and another at 10, and yeah. I just made it work. I tried not to put all my energy into the west end show, and I had so much energy for all night that it didn’t even matter. I wound up going to sleep at like 7 in the morning. 

J: You’re a great performer. How does it feel when you play on stage? Do you feel like you’re on stage, like are you aware of the audience or do you feel like you’re kind of in a bubble up on stage?

M: It’s a lot of things. It’s really complicated. I’ve always done that, since I was like 16, I’ve always been that kind of performer. I always felt that you should move the way you want people to move to your music. You should be the inspiring factor in people having a good night. I love it when people come up to me after and say “I love how you performed, watching you  made my night.” It happens and I love it so much.

It is a matter of being in a bit of a bubble. You have to perform no matter what the audience is doing. For instance, at the WECC it was a sitting down audience. No one was going to go crazy and I knew that. But, we ended up having people dancing and stuff like that because we all perform that way. It’s just a matter of feeling the music. I try to move the way the music is going to happen. It helps me. I like my bands to be really organized and sonically sound and tight. and I love to know when things are going to happen and a lot of that comes out when I’m playing. 

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Mario at the second show ft. costume change

J: How many bands to you play in right now?

M: I play in four or five. SC Mira is my main thing pretty much, Bye Bye Blue is another pretty much main thing that’s getting there and I love it. I play with Bunny, which I love, they’re a ukulele duo. I play in the Watership, their backing band. I play in Mario and Maria, which is like my solo act. 

J: Do you always have song writing on the go for yourself?

M: Oh yeah. 

J: You tend to play a supporting role and you’re not one of the front stage people…

M: I love that. That’s what I love because, for instance in SC Mira, Sadye is the show. She is the best singer ever, her voice is the band. She is the lyrical factor. We all write together in terms of music, but it all comes from her. I love being able to lend that big bass in that band. For Bye Bye Blue, even though it’s like my music, and I struggled with this for a while, where it was like “I want to do everything and be the only person on stage and that kind of stuff,” but after a while I realized it doesn’t matter because I believe in my team and I know all of us have a role to fulfill. I feel like when it’s like Mario and Maria, I can do whatever I want pretty much, but in all those other bands, there has to be a certain arrangement that’s happening. I don’t want to be the one playing too much because I feel it muddies things up. The more tight things can be, the better. 

J: So with Bye Bye Blue, knowing you write many of the songs, do you write like a bunch of parts for it, like a bass part and drums and vocals?

M: Sometimes, but not necessarily. If I make my own demos, I always write stuff. A lot of songs I’ve written parts to beause I’ve been playing them for so long. But, these days I usually write a thing and bring it to the band and everyone does it. And over the next two or three rehersals we’ll really go over everyone’s parts and make sure everything fits together.

J: So people have a chance to write their own bit then.

M: Yeah, I like it that way. We chose them for a reason, because we know they’re super good and they’ll bring ideas we didn’t have. Like, sometimes we ask others to change stuff, but all in all it has to be a somewhat cultured sound. It has to be tight.

~

Honestly, we talked about a lot more… but I’m short on time at the moment. Must update later!

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