Proud Fransaskois Bastion
ST. DENIS, SK | MAY 2022
Mario Lepage made music under his name for a long time until it was no longer enough for him. “ I always felt that this approach did not fully represent me. With Ponteix, I wanted my music to represent an idea and not a person. This change gave me more freedom to express myself as I wanted. ” The adventure began in 2016 with a first EP, J’orage, immediately acclaimed by the press and the musical community, which were added numerous awards and nominations. Then, he launched Bastion in 2019, a first album where all the essence of Ponteix takes shape : the question of identity, the weight of linguistic heritage, and the call for resistance.
“ For the Bastion album, I explored my past a lot. I wanted to legitimize my French-Canadian identity, neither Anglophone nor Quebecois, but specific to itself. ” Before being the name of a musical group, Ponteix is indeed the name of a small French-speaking village in Saskatchewan that has maintained its identity in the heart of a province (and a country) mainly English-speaking. Therefore, Ponteix symbolizes both Fransaskois pride and the need to resist cultural assimilation by its name. “ Over time, I became a stronghold myself, and that’s the concept I tried to address in the album. ” To do this, Lepage draws inspiration from his personal experience by addressing themes such as loneliness, amnesia, or identity tension by observing his environment and reconnecting with his memories, privileged witnesses of his experience in a minority context. “ I found many tapes that my grandmother had recorded, audios of my brothers and me when we were kids, reciting poems and singing little stories. I was inspired by the vastness of the plains and the unique environments found in the Canadian prairies. ”
In November 2021, he released a new four-song micro-album recorded in his studio/garage in St. Denis, Saskatchewan. He explores new musical avenues with RnB and pop tones while maintaining the psyche/electro side that we know him. “ For the EP Amélia, I wanted to explore themes that previously seemed too « conventional » to me, love among others. With the help of my friend Anique Granger as co-writer, I wrote my first love song, the title track of the EP, which wants to celebrate the souls that are dear to us because the world is running out of love. I also gave myself the challenge of ensuring the production, the sound recording, and the interpretation of all the instruments, except for the piece Les Années, where my friend Blaise Borboën-Léonard provides an arrangement of strings James Bond style. ”
A talented multi-instrumentalist, it is above all the sound that guides Lepage’s creative process, whatever the project. “ The music always comes before the text. The music I write is derived from strong feelings that I feel, and it can also come from moments in my life that I want to capture. A melody often settles quite easily on a piano composition, and after that, the music informs the material of the subject of the text. ” These texts, if he writes them himself in whole or in part, are nevertheless always carried by his voice. The press has repeatedly highlighted an instrument whose color and unique timbre. However, Lepage admits to being self-taught in this field. “ I never wanted to become a singer, it was out of necessity that I had to learn to sing, and I have no regrets. It is an instrument that I am still trying to understand better. ”
In addition to a deluxe version of the EP Amélia, which will allow the release of new songs and new versions of the songs from the EP, Lepage is currently working on writing a new album that promises to transport us elsewhere. musically. “ I think my music matures from album to album. I have the privilege of working with many artists as a director. It allows me to understand their approaches, which nourishes me extremely when it comes time to embark on my compositions. My goal is never to stagnate in my methods, always looking elsewhere and exploring. ”