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Francis d'Octobre


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Francis Roberge, a.k.a. Francis d’Octobre, grew up in a scientific family in Drummondville, Quebec, far away from any musical influences. At 15, he discovered Nirvana and Pearl Jam, and decided to rent a drum kit. It was love at first sound, and the young man soon found out he was a born drummer. At that time, however, he was also a budding poet with dozens of poems to his name, and drumming was not enough. He learned a few guitar chords, considered studying literature, but ended up taking music instead at Cégep de Drummondville, where he took part in a variety of projects, including one that led to him competing in the national finals of the “Cégeps en spectacle” competition. He then completed his university studies, majoring in, of all things, Latin percussion, a field that offered a broader rhythmic and sonic palette than plain drumming, while relating to a fascinating culture at the same time.

While at university, d'Octobre met the singer Catherine Major and Alfa Rococo’s guitarist David Bussières, and joined the gypsy fusion group Ipso Facto, which later released the album La Spirale de l’Escargot. His intense four-year creative collaboration with Catherine Major produced a number of shows and Par-dessus bord, her début album. During the same period, Jean Bournival proposed a collaboration with the traditional folk group Les Tireux d’Roches on the Roche, Papier, Ciseaux album, whose release was followed with more than 200 live shows in Quebec, and throughout the world. Other activities included stage appearances as a drummer/percussionist for artists such as Louise Forestier, Ève Cournoyer and David Marin.

D’Octobre also wrote theatre music with Dom Hamel (Gatineau, Orange Orange) for T’as aucune chance, and released Égale 2, an EP recorded through the Jeunes Volontaires program that included two of his early songs, “Un homme à la mer” and “Notre Légèreté,” which he later performed in a classic tour of small Montreal bars. Encouraged by audience reactions to his music, he registered in the Granby International Song Festival, reaching the famous Francophone competition’s finals.

Following further participation in the Francouvertes competition, the Tacca Musique label, whose representatives had heard perform as an opening act for Alfa Rococo, singed d’Octobre for his first release, Ma bête fragile, a life-inspired album of moving and accessible original pop songs co-produced with Dom Hamel.


Ma bête fragile (2010)

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