(Unicorn Digital)


Few albums of instrumental rock hit home as solidly as the third album from Karcius. The Montreal based prog-fusion band achieve a new level of sonic wizardry on their 2008 album, Episodes. The band’s first two albums on the Unicorn Digital label laid a strong groundwork and Episodes is clearly their finest CD yet. Produced, recorded and mixed at Studio Victor, Episodes features group guitarist Simon L’ Espérance backed up by group members Dominique Blouin (bass), Thomas Brodeur (drums) and Mingan Sauriol (keyboards). While the Karcius sound blueprint may owe a lot to prog innovators like Canada’s Maneige and Finland’s Pekka Pohjola, the band clearly updates the classic prog-rock sound for the new millennium with the masterful sound of Episodes. www.UnicornDigital.com

Guitars Center Stage
Guitarists making waves in the music world, their new recordings and gear!

an interview with Karcius guitarist
Simon L’ Espérance

Musical Background

I’ve been playing guitar since the age of 11. However I began practicing very seriously at 16 years old when I decided music was my real attraction in life. In 2000 I began the music school and finished my degrees at university in 2005 in jazz guitar. My musical background is in a great part rock music like Hendrix, Steve Vai, Slash and many others but later on I really got into fusion-jazz with John McLaughlin and Chick Corea. It’s hard to resume but I am right now listening to so much different stuff. I discovered Daniel Lanois’ stuff this year and I love it, but also I’m listening to a lot of jazz and funk music. Think of John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Coltrane, this music really means something to me but also I enjoy listening to Radiohead, Pink Floyd or anything more progressive and well produced. Like I said I just love music and each day my influences and my tastes are growing. Music is infinite.

New CD

Episodes was recorded in the summer 2008 at Studio Victor in Montreal. A great historical room, built in 1941 by RCA Victor engineers. I work for this studio so I got Karcius a great deal for recording and mixing. Basically I recorded the drums, the bass and the rhythm guitars together. Then we did the grand piano, the B3, the Fender Rhodes, overdubed the guitars and add some percs. After all we sat down and finished the recording with synths and programming. I wanted a recording that reflects the band’s live energy and we did well. With a great and solid core the music can grow up easily. I like being in the studio with the other guys and work the music together, polishing stuff and change the songs at the last time. It’s more of a jazz approach for the basic parts and then we build more complex stuff over our ideas. I think it’s exactly my music approach in guitar too. Working some good riffs, compose stuff and then add spices and funky flavors with improvisations. Gives some interesting things.

Favorite Guitars

I used my Les Paul plugged into my Mesa Boogie Nomad Stack for the whole rhythm parts, no effects. Then the combinations changed for every songs, some parts were made with my ‘52 reissue Telecaster in my Fender DeVille amp for a more dirty and vintage sound. For that I used some old RCA ribbon mics and I used my Electro-Harmonix tremolo and phaser with a combination of Boss and Line-6 delays. Also I used a custom guitar made by MF in Montreal for jazzier stuff also with the Deville but using a Neumann U-47 for mic-ing and some times adding a little mini Q-tron by Electro-Harmonix. And finally I used my Brian Moore guitar for whammy bar stuff and wacky solos in “Combustion.” I also made some acoustic parts with a Gibson SJ 200 acoustic guitar and some classical guitar parts with my Taylor Ns-32. I think every single song needs the perfect tone for it, depending of what I want to play I decide which guitar, which amp and which mic will give me the best combination.

Musical Influences

Okay, let’s do it by style. For rock music, let’s say Slash, Hendrix and Vai. No albums in particular, I love them for their contribution to music. Also let’s say albums like Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd, Blood Sugar Sex Magic by the Red Hot and In Abstentia by Porcupine Tree. For jazz it’s infinite: I really dig Coltrane stuff, Miles Davis’s whole carrier, John McLaughlin’s Indian stuff and of course the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Chick Corea’s Return To Forever and electric projects, Herbie Hancock funk stuff and more recent stuff by Pat Metheny and John Scofield. I can’t live without The Way Up from Metheny, Uberjam from Scofield, Momentum by Joshua Redman, a good Marcus Miller bass solo and some Herbie Hancock grooves. I know it’s a big list but I just love music. Finally I don’t forget some more popular stuff like Sting, The Beatles, Daniel Lanois and some great composers like Stravinsky, Messiaen and Beethoven.

Web Site

The web site of the band is www.Karcius.com
and you can find us on MySpace also at www.myspace.com/karcius
or www.myspace.com/simonlesperance
You can find any information you need on these sites and there is some great music there.


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