Dan Mongrain 使用機材
Dan Mongrain プロフィール
Dan Mongrain breathes music. Not only does he wield the guitar as a rock god, he is also a composer, arranger, lyricist and music teacher. He is however mostly known on the international music scene as a member of legendary Canadian prog-metal band Voivod.
Mongrain was a quick learner. He bought his first guitar at the age of 12 and only two years later he was playing shows and teaching the guitar.
While only 14-years-old, he formed his first band and thus became the front man of prog-death cult band Martyr (1990-2012), where he forged his unique fluid and intricate soloing style and acquired his skills in complex composition.
“At first, we were more into speed-thrash, that mid-80s sound, but I was always intrigued by the progressive and complex style from bands like Voivod, which incidentally was one of the first bands I heard, but also Coroner, DBC, Desctruction, and of course the San Fransisco Bay Area Bands,” Dan tells.
Soon Dan and his band members heard about another type of music; a faster and heavier music with guttural voices. It was an acquired taste, however, which Dan also notes:
“At first I was kind of a shock, really. It actually repulsed me,” he states.
But beauty is often in the eye of the beholder, and the more Dan listened to the heavy music something new started to catch on:
“Then something beautiful came out of this aesthetic. Band like Death, Cynic and Obliveon demonstrated that you could write in a very musical and well organized way without losing neither the aggressiveness or attitude of the genre.”
It was a live experience with Canadian progressive/thrash band Obliveon that showed Mongrain the scope of the sound and its possibilities:
“I understood the energy that came out of it. From then on we could create a very heavy and extreme sound yet with very complex and emotional color to it,” he tells, noting how later bands such as Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan have expanded the legacy of the early pioneers.
Playing many gigs locally first expanded his musicals horizon and later his professionally horizon broadened too. He ended up on the Montreal metal scene, collaborating with bands like Gorguts and touring with Cryptopsy and Voivod.
Dan tells how geographical circumstances plays a role in shaping the Montreal metal scene that he himself drew influence from.
“The main thing here in Quebec is that we are a very small French Canadian community surrounded by English from the rest of Canada and America. Our culture is a mix of basically Europe and America. It is a very unique culture, we have our own French slang and the population is pretty low, so if you get any attention there, you got to have something a bit different from everybody else,” he says.
“Originally, as the first internationally recognized metal band from Quebec, Voivod have put the standard pretty high up there in terms of originality,” Dan tells. “As a fan of their since the age of 11, I was always looking for bands like them, you know, bands that made every other bands sound ‘ordinary’.”
This very search, formed at an early age, has molded Mongrains views on what makes the best of music stand out:
“Uniqueness and originality are the first qualities I’m looking for. Next I look for an authentic feel and of course execution, musicianship, composition ideas and song structures,” he says and explains how these factors are instinctively cultivated in the music milieu of Montreal:
“A lot of Montreal based bands tend to have this philosophy. It’s an instinctive need, I think. And so even if we were influenced by some bands from there, the main goal is not to sound like them, but to find our own way through their heritage.”
From childhood fan to member, Dan was granted a dream come true, when he joined Voivod in 2008. With the legendary band he has performed in over 35 countries and contributed to their latest album “Target Earth” (2013) and new EP "Post Society" (2016).
“Voivod’s musical universe was always my main influence when it comes to composition, dissonance and structures of songs,” he says. “I play with my all time heroes and tour the world playing my favorite songs from when I was a teenager. It’s pretty surreal.”
He can’t pinpoint one single moment with Voivod as his greatest moment, because for him “being in Voivod is the GREATEST experience!”.
"I mean, opening for Motörhead, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Megadeth as well as playing huge festivals and with all my metal-hero bands of course are highlights but no matter the size of the venue or the amount of people, as far as I’m concern, every night is a highlight," he adds.
He does however take pride in honoring deceased, founding member Denis “Piggy” D’amour every night the band plays, while feeling proud that not only is he lending his guitar skills to securing the legacy of the band to future generation of fans but building upon it with his own compositions.
Always the busy musician, Dan has played in over a hundred different formations and accompanied numerous artists since the mid-90s. His passion for music work and improvement has made him dive deep into a vast array of genres – from blues, country, jazz, pop, rock, to the most mind boggling intricate extreme music – making him a very versatile player.
He has taught the guitar for the past 25 years. He has also earned a Bachelor Degree from the Jazz Interpretation program at the University of Montreal. He now teaches jazz-pop theory, harmony and transcription classes as well as technology labs, band coaching and individual guitar lessons in college at Cegep Régional de Joliette, Quebec.
Dan's teaching skills benefit both professional musicians and beginners, he even taught at Cirque Du Soleil to Gina Gleason (guitar) in pre-production for the Las Vegas Michael Jackson show “One”. If you are ever in need of a lesson, you can Skype with Dan – go to his personal website to learn more.
When he is not on the road with Voivod or teaching students, Dan rocks out with his prog-rock tribute band Jurassik Rock and as an active freelancer on the music scene around Montreal.
Videos with Dan Mongrain
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