Martin Daigle skillfully unearths the melodic qualities of the drum set on DRUM MACHINES from Ravello Records, an album featuring the works of composers Pierre Alexandre Tremblay and Sylvain Pohu. Daigle, the 2022 winner of Music NB’s “Innovator of the Year” award, performs two solo pieces that feature innovative applications of technology in this release, producing unique timbres through electronic augmentations of the drumset.

Today, Martin is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn about his wide range of musical influences, and the Paul Simon concert that still resonates with him today…

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

I would be thrilled to collaborate with the musicians from The Mars Volta. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala are two of the most innovative musicians who seamlessly integrate experimental practices within popular music contexts. This group has introduced me to some incredible drummers, mind-bending grooves, and unconventional musical forms, all of which have had a tremendous impact on my approach to music.

As a drummer, I have always been inspired by their energetic and attentive approach to rhythm. Additionally, their use of digital sound processing has played a significant role in shaping my love for experimental soundscapes.

I believe that a collaboration with The Mars Volta would be a surreal opportunity to push the boundaries of contemporary music and create something unique.

Take us on a walk through your musical library. What record gets the most plays? Are there any “deep cuts” that you particularly enjoy?

Among the records in my collection, one that consistently stands out is Ten Summoner’s Tales by Sting. While the album as a whole was popular, the track Seven Days particularly resonates with me due to its clever use of a groove in 5 that maintains a steady pulse throughout. This album showcases Sting’s and his collaborators’ masterful songwriting skills, making it a true classic.

Another album that I frequently play is Les Cinq Saisons by Harmonium. In my opinion, this Quebec-based group is the best French band that ever existed. The entire album is a masterpiece, and each track complements the others perfectly. Specifically, Histoires Sans Paroles demonstrates the group’s willingness to take musical risks and curiosity, ultimately resulting in a deeply rewarding listening experience.

What emotions do you hope listeners will experience after hearing your work?

My goal for the DRUM MACHINES album is to offer a unique listening experience that explores darker qualities in music. I want to challenge the audience to be musically curious and expand their listening palate. The inspiration for La Rage comes from a dark and dramatic book written by Louis Hamelin. The music was crafted to retell the story in a way that amplifies the emotional impact. The darker musical elements were chosen to convey the sadness of the story, similar to Penderecki’s Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima.

I’m also excited to see how this music will resonate with popular musicians who are seeking new sounds, much like the Beatles were inspired by avant-garde music, notably Stockhausen. Ultimately, my aim is to push the boundaries of genres and create a listening experience that stimulates the imagination and challenges the listener to explore new sonic territories.

How have your influences changed as you grow as a musician?

I am very interested in music and in art in general, so I am always hoping to grow and to expand my practice. I started out playing rock drums, I began a performance degree in classical contemporary music in 2013, I played repertoire with fixed media electronics which was a relatively streamline process, and graduated to the live processing electronics which is complicated and I feel I have grown through this process. Throughout my journey, I have always been inspired by many artistic approaches. I have recently started my own noise and electronics practice which allows me to grow and start composing pieces for myself. 

Over time, I have come to appreciate all types of music that are created with passion and sincerity, regardless of genre or style. I look out for music created by the heart, or at least has outstandingly interesting production qualities which make it stand out.

What’s the greatest performance you’ve ever seen, and what made it special?

I saw Paul Simon perform in 2018 with a couple of friends and was struck by the attention given to timbre. The tones generated by the ensemble were exceptional and added to the overall enjoyment of the performance. The use of prepared piano, obscure percussion instruments such as Angklung, and a chamber ensemble were particularly noteworthy. This demonstrates Paul’s broad musical interest, which includes various genres and cultures.

It was impressive to see the extent to which Paul Simon invested in the performance to make it special for everyone. Despite being a well-known commercial act, his deep musical curiosity and attention to detail were inspiring.

What musical mentor had the greatest impact on your artistic journey? Is there any wisdom they’ve imparted onto you that still resonates today?

All of my mentors had an outstanding impact on my artistic journey! I started my musical studies with Michel Deschenes in New-Brunswick, moved to Montréal to study with Ben Reimer, Fabrice Marandola, Shawn Mativetsky, John Hollenbeck, and Jim Doxas. I also had the chance to study with some other influential drummers such as Matt Gartska, Dave Elitch, and Yoni Madar.

The range of knowledge of these mentors is incredible. Each one of them is extremely passionate about teaching and performing percussion. They have all helped me develop my artistic practice and encouraged me to pursue my non-commercial approach to music making.

I also had the chance to interact with many outstanding industry professionals, although I cannot name them all. I have been fortunate to work with so many amazing people during my artistic journey.

Explore Martin Daigle’s Latest Release



DRUM MACHINES is available now from Ravello Records. Click here to visit the catalog page and explore this album.