Stéphane Dufour

Stéphane Dufour, guitarist, producer, and songwriter perhaps best known for his work with his nineties Hard Rock group Saints And Sinners (a Hairbanger’s Hairspray “regular”) who released an excellent debut album. Many years of hard work and dedication led Dufour’s sound to evolve, allowing him the opportunity to unleash his playing, songwriting and producing expertise on his own solo CD, Distortion, which is squarely aimed at music lovers as well as hardcore guitar aficionados.

MER: Hello Stéphane! Talk a little about your musical background, your musical influences, etc.

Stéphane Dufour: Well first of all thank you very much to you guys, you were the first ones who have shown interest in what I’m doing outside Quebec, and I appreciate that a lot and many thanks to Metal Express Radio.

Well, you can say I was almost born with a guitar in my hands, my father was playing, so there was always a guitar laying around. At five, I was following the Beatles on one string because my Dad would break strings and not change them — that was a start! (Laughs) I only took it seriously at 12 and would play along with the radio all day, so my influences back then were anybody! (Laughs) After that, Van Halen came around and that changed my world, to say the least.

MER: Some readers might recognize you from your early days in the early nineties “Hair” band, Saints And Sinners. You guys put out a great debut, and then … that was it. Why did the band break up? Were you guys a victim of the “Grunge Movement” even in Canada?

Stéphane: The Grunge movement didn’t help, but that wasn’t the real reason. We toured the States, and in a month we sold 50,000 copies and had a good response, but back then we were signed on Savage Records. From what I’ve heard, the President who was the son of the guy who owns Lamborghinis, can’t remember his name, gave 1 million in advance to David Bowie to do a record for Savage Records. The problem was that album didn’t do anything, could you believe it of all the albums he’s done he had to do one bad album on our label!!! So, afterwards the President’s father was pissed and he decided to close the company with our masters inside, so we couldn’t do anything and that was the end of it. I’ve seen horror movies, but this one I think is the best!!! (Laughs)

MER: It’s been some 15 years after Saints And Sinners, and you’re starting to launch a solo career. What was going on for you musically between these two milestones?

Stéphane: Good question! (Laughs) Well, right after Saints And Sinners I was offered a job with a local French singer, Eric LaPointe, who turns out to sell a million CDs over 13 years; I’ve written 95% of the stuff and produced a lot of records for him. I still work for him today. I’ve worked with many artists, writing songs, and I’ve also worked on the Distortion CD.

MER: What prompted you to decide after all these years to try doing solo projects?

Stéphane: Well sometimes it’s good to be generous and all, but you can forget yourself in the process and I think that’s what happened to me. I still have to pay bills like every one else, so when you get a great job you kind of stick there — that has a lot to do with it actually. And, sometimes you want to do things on your own, for you. That’s where I’m at right now. I want to have a career for me … I think I’ve paid my dues!! (Laughs)

MER: How did your current solo effort, Distortion come about?

Stéphane: The solo career came about because I wanted to learn more. The only way for me to do that was to try to write instrumental songs that would deal more with different scales and modes than I would ordinarily use, and necessarily to put out a record. It was for practice purposes and to see if I could do it. And, one night I went into a bar and I saw a guitar player playing instrumental songs and he wasn’t very good at it! (Laughs) So I said to myself if this guy can do it … and that was it, now I want to do more of that, and a second record would be nice for sure in 2007.

MER: How’s the reaction been to Distortion?

Stéphane: Very good here in Quebec. I’ve sold around 5,000. For an instrumental album, that’s very good I’ve been told, but not enough to live off of. I have no radio play here, I think I did two TV shows and that was it. Supporting your own artists even if they’re different is not that strong over here!!! (Laughs)

MER: On your MySpace site you actually have two videos for the Distortion release. Were these self-financed? Have they aired on Cable/TV/Satellite in any countries?

Stéphane: The TV station is the equivalent of much music in French. I was invited to go play there, but I don’t think it was aired anywhere outside of Quebec.

MER: Who played drums and bass in the videos, how did you choose them, and will they be working with you in the future?

Stéphane: The drummer is my brother … his name is Pierre Dufour and the bass player is Martin Bolduc. For my brother, the choice was obvious — we’ve played together all of our lives, and I picked up Marty to do the Saints And Sinners tour, and he was also an obvious choice. Yes, they will be working with me in the future, on the next album they’re going to be playing for sure.

MER: Speaking of MySpace … do you think the “MySpace craze” has been a boon to musicians all over, especially starting musicians?

Stéphane: I couldn’t believe the comments I got since my friend put my page up. For me, I’m totally convinced that it’s a very important and useful tool to get out of the dark. For beginners and for experienced musicians, it’s awesome and you get to see things that you wouldn’t if you had a manager talking on the phone with somebody and not knowing what’s going on. God I hate that!! Everything is clear with MySpace because you’re involved in it and that’s not a musician’s strongest point since we’re not involved in anything but the music ordinarily! (Laughs) That’s what I like about it. Another great thing about MySpace is getting direct feedback from interesting people on the site who are listening and commenting on my songs. It is motivating for me and I am very excited about focusing my time on my follow-up CD this summer.

MER: Are you finding the music scene and business to be any different outside of Canada?

Stéphane: I mainly stayed in Quebec for the last 13 years so I would not be qualified to answer that question. You see I’m not in it for the scene and especially not for the business side of it, because I think it sucks! (Laughs) I’m in it for the music and the music only. That’s the only way to get through things.

MER: You’re in the process of working on a second solo disc. Is it another instrumental release? Will you be playing all instruments again? Any target release date?

Stéphane: Right now I’m doing a score for a French movie. After that it’s going to be Eric LaPointe’s album and then mine … I would say it’s going to be this summer that I’m going to start on it and a release in 2007 for sure. And yes, it’s going to be instrumental. For this one, I would like to have real musicians playing on it, so no, I don’t want to play everything, but that depends on the money! (Laughs)

MER: Any tour plans to support the Distortion release?

Stéphane: I’ve done some shows in Quebec, and they went over fine, but there’s not a lot of places for me to play here, that’s why I think MySpace is important because I would love to play everywhere, and for me, this is the only way out. That’s why my friend did the page for me so we could get a following, exposure, friends, and hopefully get to play anywhere … that would be the goal. I know it’s a dream of mine that could never see the light of day, but if you don’t try …

MER: Do you listen to other music? If so what’s in your CD player at this moment?

Stéphane: Not too much, I don’t have time! (Laughs) In the car I’ve got a Nickelback CD, but I don’t listen to it very often. I write a lot, so I don’t like listening to others while I’m writing because you end up sounding like them! (Laughs) But, if I don’t write music I don’t mind …

MER: Any last words for your fans?

Stéphane: Well I would like to thank them for their support and I want to tell them that I promise them I’m going to work my ass off to give them a second CD as fast as I can, and I hope they will be there for me when it comes out. And to you guys at Metal Express Radio, thank you very much and feel free to ask me anything you need — I will be here for you too!


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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