“It’s my Life ” Moments shared with Marjolaine Castagne Labelle of The Castagnes

Marjolaine_Castagne_LaBelle_TheCastagnes_Montreal_Quebec_FindingCharlottehPhotography_TomTom_WomenMusicians

In your own words; write a brief description of your band

We’re a brother/sister duo. Phil plays guitar/bass and is the lead singer. I play drums and sing some back vocals


Name : Marjolaine Castagne Labelle

Age : 18 years of drumming and a few others without
Hometown : suburbs of Montreal ( Canada )
Nickname(s) : Marjo ..Marj and people also like to call me (little drummer girl,sugar foot,petit tambour)
Current band : The Castagne’s
Favourite place for takeout : Maybe something like Tim Hortons. I like coffee


Feature /photographs : John Carlow-Finding Charlotte Photography

 

Tom Tom: When/ how did your interest in drumming begin?

Marjolaine : Music has always been a big part of our family. I remember doing dance battle with my brother and building our first drum kit out of metal cookie boxes.

Have you ever taken lessons?

Yes ; every week for more than 5 years with a private teacher . Skating,reading and learning to play music were 3 things our mom considered important to teach a kid.

What was the first song you learned to play on drums?

Blur: Song 2 ..because of the 2 distinctive parts of the song and the rock’n’roll vibe

Marjolaine Castagne Labelle
Marjolaine Castagne Labelle at Vinyl Envy in Victoria BC

Describe your gear

Bass drum 22”,snare 13”,1 tom 13”,floor 16”,2 crash,1 ride and a Hi-Hat.
I play with an old drum that I bought on Kijiji . I use and love Remo heads and Promark ‘’5B’’ sticks. When I can afford it I prefer the oak ones. I don’t know if I can say my cymbals are custom, but I break them quickly and often so my dad always repairs them with a grinder. I reskin and tune my own kit and sometimes my brother (Phil) helps me too.

How would you describe your band’s sound?

Too glam to be Punk
Too trash to be Pop
Rock’n’roll

Where do you practice / how often ?

At home,every day,all day long

Do you write music/ lyrics?

Yes I like to write lyrics. I’m not the lyric writer for the band but I have a couple of songs that I wrote and sing. They are about life, love and relationships. I started writing lyrics at the same time I started playing drums. Phil always encouraged me to write songs and helped me with the corrections, because my English is sometimes a bit rusty. “ Buddy “ and “ What are You Doing “ are the 2 first songs I wrote. “Buddy” was written in a small coffee shop and “What are You Doing” was for one of my friend. His mom didn’t really like me, so I had the idea of writing a song about that. I was hoping one day she would turn on the radio, hear the song and love it without noticing I was singing it! (so she would like me in a way….maybe a strange teenage rebellion dream)

Describe the song writing process for the band

Every song has a different meaning and the way we make them always depends on the song itself. There’s no “one way’’ for The Castagne’s.

Do you play other instruments or sing ?

I play acoustic bass to write the songs that I sing

How did you come to learn bass?

I never really learned it. I just play it

Do you have an aggressive style in your drumming? (Do you hit hard?)

Hahaha ..maybe 🙂

I’ve seen you in action. You DO !! Do you break a lot of sticks?

One pair of sticks a day keeps the doctor away

What are the best/ most practical clothes for drumming?

Short shorts

What is in your own musical collection?

A little bit of everything. I love listening to music on vinyl, cassette,C.D.,radio, streaming,live… etc..

Who are the bands that inspire your band’s sound?

We don’t think about other bands, we just play

 

The Castagnes
The Castagnes at Vinyl Envy in Victoria BC

Do you have musical idols?

Animal from the Muppet Show

What are your interests away from drumming?

Writing poetry,recording,building guitar & bass stompboxes,booking shows/tours and building merch (CDs,T-shirts and buttons …)

Anything else?

Comic books ! ! I love the art, and I love the drawings and jokes. Also video games and comedy. When we’re on tour we strangely find time to see a lot of comedy shows

What’s on your walls in your room ?

A mix of colors spread everywhere

Tell us about the first show you played in front of an audience as a drummer

It was in a nursing home. Phil was booking the shows at the time (thinking about it, maybe he should start booking the shows with me again)

How would you describe the local scene for bands like yours?

Big. The world seems to be our local scene. We have lots of musician friends that we love and respect

What have you taken away from playing live?

Shows are like a super boost of happiness 🙂

Have you always been comfortable playing in front of an audience?

I always felt comfortable on stage; it even helped me be more comfortable generally in life.

What does show preparation involve?

Practice,drink coffee,practice,eat,practice,continue practicing,sleep,repeat …..

Pre gig rituals ?

“We call the dead’’ Every loved friend or musician that we like and are gone; we say their name. We “call them. ’’

Are you exhausted after a show?

I usually have a lot of things to do after a show; I don’t really have time to think about my level of energy

What’s the most unusual/funny thing to ever happen to you at a gig

Played in a show we weren’t part of. We were on tour, arrived in a town I won’t name and notice the venue was closed. We thought it moved to another place so we went to that other place and played a show, to then realize the next morning that our gig was really cancelled. We just played in a show we were not part of!!

I notice you toured in a van…..What do you do to pass the miles on the road?

We have different games. One of them is trying to make the shortest pit-stop ever

Marjolaine Castagne Labelle
Marjolaine Castagne Labelle

What appeals to you about a magazine like Tom Tom?

I don’t know why, but the name reminds me of a drummer I like…Bam-Bam in The Flintstones

What are your goals as a musician?

Play; and I have a dream with my music and band… it’s to win a Grammy ! 🙂

What’s in the future for you musically?

Our next albums, videos and tours.

What has been the biggest change in your life since lifting up the sticks?

Everything…it’s my life. When I’m happy I play music, when I’m sad I play music . Music makes me feel like myself. Music is a good friend to have!

Do you have advice for young women starting out in music?

I have advice for everyone who starts in music ; have fun !!

At the end of the day; when all is said and done …you play the drums because …..?

Like everybody who plays drums…. cause I fucking love it !!

 

Any last thoughts ?

Thanks ! ..You Rock !! 🙂

 

 

 

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