Magnum is celebrating its 33rd Anniversary, HaitianBeatz.Com, had the opportunity to speak with, founder, legendary guitar player, Dadou Pasquet.
Dadou Pasquet was born in Haiti to a family of musicians. Early in his life, his family moved to New York where he found his place in the New York based Haitian Kompa movement of the 60’s. Barely a teenager at the time, Dadou started playing with Tropical (Historic Haitian band) when he was only 13 years old. Word of the boy wonder guitar player spread quickly throughout the Haitian music community. Soon Dadou found himself playing alongside artist like Richard Duroseau, Raymond Cicot , and Raul Guillaume. His path brought him to Tabou Combo in the 70’s during which 15 year old Dadou established himself as one of the greatest guitarists in Haitian music history.
Dadou remained with Tabou Combo for 6 years before he decided to branch off and create Magnum Band with the slogan “La Seule Difference”, which means “the only difference”. Magnum stood out because of their unique sound and continues to wow audiences to this very day. His favorite bands at the time were EARTH,WIND and FIRE, TOWER OF POWER, CHICAGO, and BLOOD SWEAT and TEARS. This musical influence is apparent in all of Magnum Band’s music. Dadou’s amazing guitar playing along with hit songs from Magnum Band earned him the admiration of fans throughout several parts of the world. It also earned him the right to represent Haiti and the Caribbean musically in the 1996 Olympic Games in Georgia. He was later featured in Guitar Player Magazine as “Haiti’s Six String Ambassador”.
Today Dadou continues to be a musical power house and is hailed as a legend in the Haitian and Antillean community. Most recently Dadou has created some time for his solo career and has recently released his newest project , “Evolution”. This project is a reflection of Dadou’s new musical direction. If you haven’t already done so, please purchase a copy from our “Store” page.
When did you start playing guitar?
I started when I was only 12 years old.
Who were some of your early guitar influences?
Toto Duval and Dormelas Phillip initially. Then later on Chet Atkins, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, and BB King.
Were there bands playing in your town that you could go and see live?
I assume that you mean when I was a kid. During that time I didn’t go and see any bands playing at nightclubs but I did have the privilege of watching Richard Duroseau and his band as well as Webert Cicot. They used to practice near my home.
Were your parents musical at all?
Yes. In fact I have a musical family. But to answer your question, my mother used to sing at her church and her side of the family is full of musicians. Most notably Dodof Legros.
When did you buy your first guitar?
My first guitar was a gift from my mother. It was hand made by musician/ guitar maker in the area. She paid 17 gourdes for it.
Did you begin singing around the same time you started playing?
No, I started singing when I moved to New York (in the 70’s) I advised by a mentor that just playing the instrument without singing wouldn’t ever allow me to have a long lasting career.
What specifically do you do with your left hand and right hand when you play?
My left hand plays the chords while my right hand plays the rhythmic. Fans and viewers could learn more about my playing style and take advantage of a new guitar learning program that is being developed on my website www.dadoumusic.com. The system should be ready mid July. Oupila members get unlimited lessons.
What type of wah-wah do you use?
Are there any devices which you've developed for the guitar?
My guitar-learning program is my first experiment with developing anything surrounding the guitar.
What kind of picks and strings do you use?
I NEVER use picks. I use my hands. I like to use Gibson 9’s.
Do you feel more comfortable playing in a live situation as opposed to the studio?
I love both atmospheres and feel at home in both situations.
Are your solos on record improvised first takes, or are they conceived beforehand?
50/50 about half the time I know what I am going to play. Other times, I let my hands do the talking.
Have there been songs in the past that you've written specifically as guitar vehicles?
Yes, when I was playing with Tabou Combo. There were no wind instruments, no keyboards. Guitar was played throughout the majority of the songs.
What scales do you work from?
It all depends on what my inspiration is.
Are there guitar players you listen to?
Yes, George Benson and Earl Klugh
How do you see your role as a guitarist as different from that of typical Compas guitar player?
The difference is that I am not a “typical” compass guitar player. I am a blues/jazz/funk player at heart. I incorporate these influences in all of my music.
Describe how you typically record a song?
I have a home studio that I use to create all of my preliminary tracks. Once I am close to a finished product, I move the files to a larger, professional recording studio.
Are there any specific keys you find especially appealing?
What does the future hold for Dadou Pasquet?
Well, I have stepped thing up a bit on a business level. I’ve gone through my share of managers but none have lasted. Currently I work very closely with my eldest son Elijah. Together we are taking my career in a new direction. In the passed I wasn’t well promoted as an artist and small things were neglected. However, with my new website I am creating my own products and creating new music that I am distributing independently. I will also be organizing some of my own events to attempt to raise the bar in the Haitian Music Industry. I want to offer more than just “Bals” I want to offer performances; shows. Like every other industry has. I would also like to create collaboration albums in the near future with newer artists like Michael Benjamin and Belo. (To name a few)
When is the next album due to come out?
“Evolution” was released last week and can be purchased at www.dadoumusic.com at a special Internet price. Oupila Members get a free download along with unlimited access to the guitar-learning center once it is complete. Check it out.
What should your fans expect from this album what style would it be?
It’s an album unlike any that I have ever made. There are different “World” influences combined with compass to create a new genre. It is an “Evolution” of compas.
How many song?
Are there invited guest artists?
Not on this project, but my son assisted in the production and my wife and kids did a lot of vocal work. Again, this is unlike any project that I have created.
What’s the latest with Magnum Band on its 33rd annivesary?
We are currently working on a new album. I am on my way to the studio right now actually to complete some vocal tracks. It’s going to be hot. Look out for it.
Many say you are a very mystical individual, Does that play a role in your career?
Yes, God inspires me to make unique and beautiful music while enduring the hardships of the Haitian Music Industry.
Are you a full- fledged Muslim?
I am not sure that means exactly. But I am Muslim.
With the bad stereotype against Muslim since 911, how do you cope with it?
Stereotypes are fueled by fear of the unknown. Everyone is entitled to be themselves and to worship as they feel fit. We are all God’s children. The stereotypes of Muslims are no more accurate than the racist stereotypes of blacks. Islam means Peace.
Do you still teach music?
I stopped for a while but I am starting up again through my website. I’ll teach using techniques that are designed with the recreational player in mind. I want anybody to be able to pick up a guitar and play some of my popular songs after going through the program. There will be different levels of difficulty and I will teach using different songs. I encourage parents with kids to sign up. I was only 12 when I started on my path.
Do you feel an obligation to play old hits rather than all new material in order to please your fans?
Not really. I love playing some of my older hits and the fans love it too. But when I feel like the mood suits it I play newer material as well. It all depends.
Can you offer any advice to fledgling guitarist?
Be smart. Secure your rights and be careful who you trust with your music. I’ve been through some interesting experiences in the HMI that have driven me to be independent. I sing about some of these issues on “Evolution”.
Any final words?
I would just like to thank haitianbeatz.com for the interview as well as the fans that have supported me throughout my career. Please check out my site www.dadoumusic.com and remember… Support your artists not the local bootlegger. Thanks