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François Rocheleau is a Montreal based creator and audio mastering engineer. Send François a message.
Latest News: I am working on making multi-artists albums, with artists from all over the world, to get funds for charity organizations. I act like the director of the project and as a mixing and mastering engineer for some of the songs.
I also help emerging artists to progress in their path for a potential career and to get more visibility. For example I make their bio for them, I provide them with words of advice about how to submit singles and albums, how to make sure music is mixed and mastered properly (I often mix and master their music) and I try to put them in contact with influential people of the industry to optimize their progression.
All in all, helping emerging artists and giving them the best possible sound and words of advice, especially for home recording, is what I like to do the most.
François, thank you for joining us today at VQS.
Take us back in time to how you first fell in love with music.
When being a very young kid, at the age of 2 and 3 (I still remember it), I was dancing at home on Raffaella Carrá – Song 0303456 (Italian Version)! I have absolutely no idea why, when thinking about it today, but I was totally IN LOVE with that song that my mother was constantly playing on vinyl and I was falling almost in a trance state when dancing on it! I was singing all the lyrics although I was only speaking French at the time! This was when I really fell in love with music for the first time!
Later, at the age of 9, I started listening to rock music. I was really loving the rock song “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen. Although I did not own any Bruce Springsteen album, each time I was listening to this song on radio or on TV, it became obvious to me that rock music was the best music in the world!
It is in 1986 at the age of 11 that I asked my parents to buy a first album for me: “Slippery When Wet” by Bon Jovi! I was loving SO MUCH their music! I just could not stop listening to the cassette in loop and I was showing it to all my friends! My father, who is an organ player at church, was completely exasperated when he was hearing that kind of music! For him, it was like if the devil penetrated into the house!! I sometimes needed to hide myself to listen to it or wait until he gets out of the house haha!
I was also loving Bryan Adams, especially 4 songs: “Somebody”, “Hearts on Fire” and “Summer Of ’69” and “Heavens”. I was in fact loving any music with a singer having a hoarse voice as my ultimate reference was Bon Jovi! “No hoarse voice = not good” was the way I was perceiving music at that age haha!
In 1987, I insisted with my parents so that they buy me the album Hysteria by “Def Leppard” as I fell in love with this music while listening to it on radio! I was playing the album IN LOOP every single evening in the basement of my house while playing with my friends! Again, my father became exasperated when he was hearing this while playing church music on they keyboard in the other room next to this one haha! He was calling this music “bad noise” hahaha!
The oldest of my 2 brothers, who is 2 years younger than me, started to listen to other bands on radio, especially Bad Religion and Metallica and made me discover them. I was liking their music and it opened my vision on music so that I listen to more than always the same few bands.
Then came Gun’s N Roses with Use Your Illusion 1 and 2 in 1991, I could not believe how good it was and I bought these 2 albums.
The band that changed my existence was Nirvana. This music was reaching the deepest parts of my soul, especially the album Nevermind. At that time, Nevermind became my reference in terms of “great sound” and “perfect music”. Anything that was not sounding like Nevermind was perceived as “bad music” to me for a while haha! I hated the album In Utero at that time as it sounded so different and today, I can really appreciate how good it is! But because of the death of Kurt Cobain, I tried to cure my pain by appreciating other great bands like Green Day, Sound Garden and The Offspring for examples, but it never reached the thrill brought by the Nevermind.
My father bought a Korg keyboard when I was a teen, one of the best on the market at the time ($ !!!!), so I learned by myself to compose music track by track while mixing them using the “integrated computer” and the LED screen. I composed and recorded a couple of songs of different genres, just for my own pleasure. The sounds were incredibly realistic (drums, bass, electric guitar, etc… all was sounding like real ones). I was saving my composed music on diskette as there was a 3.5 inches diskette slot integrated to the Korg keyboard.
There were INCREDIBLE speakers boxes that my father bought and connected to the keyboard, on which I was playing my music super loud, and this is when I started to fall in love with great sound! He also owned awesome professional headsets that were hooked to the keyboard and it was fantastic for me to hear the sound so clearly for the very first time in my life!! I was mixing myself the tracks that I was recording and I started to develop that passion about good sound as I discovered how to modify the sound of the 200 instruments that came integrated with the keyboard’s bank of predefined instruments. I made my own custom sounds for guitar, bass, piano, drum…. so that my tracks sound exactly as I like!
If have never really paid attention to lyrics in music. All was about the sound. I was having an almost sickly fixation on the sound of each element of the music. Sometimes I was not even able to listen to the music as I was putting all my focus on the elements that I did not like in the sound of some songs! I was always wondering why it was sounding “this way” or “that other way” as I had different ideas in my mind about how it may have sounded instead! I was also perceiving the micro-differences in the speed at which each cassette player was playing and that was truly bugging me enough so that I could’t enjoy the music if it was played 0.05 semitone too high or too low! My friends were thinking that I was crazy as they couldn’t perceive it at all!
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In spring 2018, I started experiencing with audio editors to modify the sound of music because I was trying to make rare live Nirvana songs to sound better as the quality was really bad and there were only a few bad quality recordings for these songs available, for example song “Talk To Me”. Later I tried changing the sound of official studio songs that I have always thought could sound differently and this is when I started my first channel “frfrfr751” on which I still upload my own remastered versions of very popular songs, especially rock songs on this channel.
In October 2018, I started to work with musicians and singers to master their music, by contacting them by email and offering them my services for free. Although the results of my work were not always good and sometimes even terrible haha, some artists were kind enough to give me a chance to learn, gave me constant feedback and I thank them so much today because this is how I REALLY learned! It took me a while to develop consistency in my work and I felt that I became more “stable” in the quality of my work from August 2019. This is when I started my second channel “The Magician Of Sound Official Channel” as I wanted a channel that shows the state of my work after more than a year of and 2500 hours invested in learning how to master music. I learned all the mastering techniques by myself, I never followed tutorials and my friends who are used to music production tell me that I work in the weirdest and most non-orthodox way they have ever seen haha! But 1 thing matters in the end, RESULTS!
What core values do you believe are necessary for success?
Perseverance & constant passion
Help each other
Who have been some of your favorite people/projects to work with?
A project that I love and work on as a personal hobby is to remaster well-known music and upload the remastered versions on my YouTube channels “frfrfr751” (my older channel, mostly dedicated to rock) and/or “The Magician Of Sound Official Channel” (more general music). Some of my remastered songs are linked in very popular forums and social media pages (ex: Facebook communities) . Numerous music fans from all around the world can listen to their favorite songs with a different sound!
I love working with multiple artists (especially emerging artists starting their presence on the social media) from all over the world on the production of multi-artists albums allowing to get funds for charity organizations.
I also work on promoting artists (especially emerging artists starting their presence on the social media) with great talent by presenting them to influential people in the music industry, allowing them to get more visibility.
I help numerous emerging artists by mixing and mastering their music so that the music that they publish sounds are great as possible. Most of the music I work on is from home recording sessions. I love to get the words “Thank you, I LOVE it!” after sending a mastered song to an artist!
Finally, I work with some major artists on social media to master their music and it is a fantastic experience for me to feel that “pressure” of working on music that can get several hundred thousands of views.
1) Heather Tanner (Singer / Songwriter / Musician / Music Composer from UTAH, USA): I teamed up with Heather almost from the very beginning of my journey in music, in November 2018. The presence of Heather in my surroundings means a lot to me, since she has always fully supported me (both as an artist and great friend) and helped me to improve during all this time up to now, while being positively critical about my work with her music to push myself to the limits. We have pushed each other pretty much every day to become better in what we do as we have the same vision about how hard work and perfectionism can lead to great achievements. We have worked on several projects together and I did the mastering of most of her acoustic covers on her YouTube channel. Her exceptional voice has allowed me to develop my ear to put the focus on the tiniest details. In my opinion, she is a world-class singer. I am grateful to everything that Heather has accepted to do with me over this period and I am also excited about the opportunities on which we are presently working together, plus the future ones that are planned. The dream of Heather is to put her voice for a Disney princess, and I feel that she has the perfect voice for this! See the VisionQuest Sound profile of Heather to learn more about her: https://visionquestsound.com/
2) Therese Lefèbvre (pianist / composer from Malta, based in Switzerland): Therese is one of the most amazing pianists and composers that I know. She allowed me to feel very confident while doing the mastering of piano and music overall as I also worked with her on incredible epic orchestral mixes and other collaborations having her piano as the base of the melody. We have developed an exceptional complicity and friendship over the last year. We constantly push each other to become better every day. We plan to team up for upcoming exciting projects in the near future. My journey in music would not have been so fascinating without the presence of Therese in my surrounding. YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/
3) feloefe (singer / musician from Argentina): he contributed to encourage me to improve when I was very bad with music mastering haha! He was the first artist to whom I randomly sent a mastering demonstration in 2018, using one of his covers that I downloaded from his YouTube channel, and the results were terrible haha! Instead of criticizing me negatively, he pushed me to work on the right things as he had experience with mixing and mastering. He has contributed to bring me back on track quickly to start the right way. Today, we are great friends and we plan to work on multiple projects together. I am always impressed by the unique tone of his voice. YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/
4) Elena Chang (singer / musician from Taiwan): Elena was there to tell me that I was doing a great job for her music at times where I wanted to give up and was doubting my capacity to assist artists on making their music sound better. Without her presence and encouragement at that time, I would have stopped everything regarding music a while ago, so she is absolutely one of the main reasons explaining why I am still contributing to the music community today. YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/
5) Ashleigh Hennessy (Singer / Songwriter / Musician / Music Composer from the UK): Ashleigh and I immediately developed complicity from the first demo that I sent her as a remastering of one of her songs in early 2019. I am truly impressed by the amazing talents of this artist and great friend. I worked on mastering her music for her debut album in 2019 and we presently work on her second one. Without any doubt, Ashleigh is one of the best hidden gems that I know, who has, I am sure, a bright future in music. YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/
6) Sebastien Brunner (AKA Lazy Pixel – music producer from France): Sébastien is one of the best epic / orchestral / ambient music composers and producers that I know. Today, we work as a team to mix and master music of emerging artists, most of them recording music from their home studios. We have worked on mixing / mastering a few albums together and I did the mastering of many of his productions. Working on the music of Sebastien brought my work at another level as he has such a perfect ear and he pays attention to all the little details that I was often ignoring before starting to work with him. YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/
7) Callum M (aka TheSwiftHD – hip hop singer and music composer from the UK): Callum allowed me to develop my abilities to work on great hip hop and rap music. I work with Sébastien Brunner to mix and master his music that I consider as sublime, especially considering that he is 17 years old of age (we started working with him when he was 16). We have the exact same tastes and vision about how his music should sound, so we have developed an amazing natural complicity. YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/
8) Brittany J Smith (YouTuber / singer / songwriter from Alabama, USA): Brittany is a world-class singer who makes a career on social media, having an incredible voice. She was the first “major” social media artist allowing me to master some of her songs which are sometimes viewed by many hundreds of thousand listeners. It has boosted my level of confidence to know that my work was appreciated by a major social media artist, who even got a golden ticket for American Idol in 2018 in her very first audition in front of the judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan! Brittany is a kind human being and also a good friend! Her dream is to have her voice on Disney productions and she absolutely has the talent to reach that goal! YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/
9) Rebecca Vocal Athlete (YouTube established creator and international vocal coach from the UK): Rebecca is a world-class vocal coach who has a channel that will reach one million subscribers soon. Although most of her posts are reaction videos to singers’ performances, she also posts covers and original music on her channel and allowed me to do the mastering of many of her covers and original songs, which was a “dream come true” experience for me considering the admiration that I have for her and the importance of her channel. Working on such a fabulous voice has also contributed to develop my abilities to improve my work when mixing and mastering music with perfect vocals. Having my name in the credits on such a big YouTube channel and teaming up with someone who knows the secrets of huge success on the social media is a fantastic learning experience for me and I am grateful to Rebecca for this. YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/
10) Daniel Rochon (rock singer / musician / songwriter and music composer from Canada): Daniel is one of the most hidden gems of the rock music that I know, as he does not advertise himself a lot but he produces world-class studio-quality rock music. Working on the music of Daniel has allowed me, as a mastering engineer, to put the focus on some important aspects that I was not fully paying attention to, especially regarding perfect drum “punch” with rock music. I am without any doubt a better mastering engineer since I work with this great musician and awesome friend. YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/
11) Philip Garcia (founder of VQS Studio): Philip absolutely deserves a huge shout out for his contribution to the music community and for believing is the talent and determination of so many amazing and talented artists. Philip commented positively on many remastering demonstrations on my YouTube channels over the last few months and knowing that an established professional like him was believing in my work boosted my energy to continue to improve. He allowed me to join this amazing VisionQuest Sound music community recently and I am so grateful for this! Thank you very much Philip for everything, you are the best! YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/visionquestsoundproducer
What future opportunities would you like to be involved with?
I would like to associate with professionals of the industry to bring my projects to another level and help emerging artists to get more visibility and success more quickly with innovative concepts giving them a chance to use their music to help charity causes for examples. I feel that there is so much talent out there that is ignored/wasted simply because the artists do not know how to sell/promote themselves. Often, their visibility is restricted inside a very closed circle and they cannot get out of this pattern. I would love to raise awareness of emerging artists about the importance to make differences between subscribers/followers and real fans and make sure that they invest their time and energy at the right places.
Article by François: Leveraging Social Media for Your Artist Career