LET THE PEOPLE DANCE: AN INTERVIEW WITH MYSTERY SKULLS

Rising dance music star, Mystery Skulls, is a one-man-dance-party whose electronic beats are laced with funk, soul and disco. His performances have so much energy and infectiousness, one might find it hard to believe it’s just one guy up there. Mystery Skulls, aka Luis Dubuc, sings his own vocals, lacing them over layers of beats and poppy melodies. We caught up with the rising star before he took to the decks to DJ our very own “Future” issue release party.

 

LA CANVAS: So, you released an EP in 2011 and in 2013 you signed to Warner. When can we expect your next release?
Mystery Skulls: I’m putting out a single in December through Warner and then we are going to do another single in the early part of next year. Then the record is going to come out in Spring of next year — so it is mostly written, I’m just kinda finishing it up right now. It’s really cool, there are some interesting people on the record.

 

LAC: You grew up in Toronto when you were younger, and eventually moved to Dallas — have either of these places influenced your sound at all?
MS: I think Toronto definitely did the most. I was really young, and the thing about Toronto, for whatever reason, there’s just so much European music. I remember there were bands I liked when I lived in Toronto and I remember when I moved to Texas, no one had heard of them. It was all radio and Matchbox Twenty and whatever. And I was into like Daft Punk, and Chemical Brothers and Portishead – I was fucking cool! ::Laughs:: Anyway, the thing about Texas, I sort of picked up this other side. There’s just a different type of music that they like there, and it did rub off on me. It’s not all bad.

 

LAC: I read that you’ve also done metal music, yet you also really like doing disco. Is there one that you feel you make stronger music in, and why did you gravitate toward this genre or sound rather than metal?
MS: Well I wouldn’t even say it was disco…to be honest with you, I just love all music in general, I know it sounds super cliche, but I think to me it’s sort of one in the same – they are both really rhythmic genres. I don’t really know how to describe it. The thing about metal too is it’s just such larger than life personalities, and it’s sort of these people attempting to be something else, and with dance music it’s also these people trying to be something else. You would think there wouldn’t be so many similarities, that they are just polar opposites, and I don’t know, I just love that…

 

LAC: Do you think that you would go back to making metal music? Or are you just going to do dance for now?
MS: I don’t know about full time, no. I have so many friends that play metal for a living and we’re still great friends, so I think it’s fun. To those dudes, what I do is so foreign. They tell me I’m so lucky cause I get to fly with a laptop, and I’m like “oooo  you can be in a van for dayysss.”

 

LAC: You’re a transplant now here in LA. What do you love most about the city?
MS: I love everything about it. I’m such a fan. I wake up constantly and just think “I’m so fucking lucky to be living here.” I really like having my windows open all the time, so that’s kinda my favorite thing. Other than that, musically, it’s the best place. Movies – you can see anything!
LA is the main place. I love it.

LAC: Speaking of music, are there any LA bands we should be looking out for that you really like?
MS: I like that band, Tapioca and the Flea. I played with them the other day, so they are the only ones really fresh on my mind. They are really cool

 

LAC: I read somewhere that you really like Halloween, and that you have like a whole tattoo in its honor. Why is that such a favorite of yours?
MS: I don’t know, it probably goes back to that thing about getting to be someone else. You just get to put on this personality of something that you are totally not. You get to put on a mask and just be that, its fucking awesome. There’s something super precious about that.

 

LAC: It’s kind of magical.
MS: Yes! And it’s super awesome that adults do it too.

 

LAC: Do you have plans on expanding your tattoo at all?
MS: Yeah, I’m pretty tattooed, so I definitely have plans

 

LAC: People have described you as a one man dance show. Are there other people out there that you think are doing something similar? 
MS: I feel what I do is a little different – I’m a little more visual. Im DJing and singing, I don’t have drums or a band. When I perform, there’s more of a vibe and a story – it’s less visceral. It’s deep in a way.

mystery-skulls_mid

LAC: You mentioned Nile Rodgers and working on the album with him. Is there anyone else you have collaborations with on the horizon?
MS: Yeah, I’m working on a track right now with Viceroy and I did a track on the new Kimbra record.

 

LAC: Lastly, the issue that you helped us celebrate was The Future Issue, so I thought it might be fun to ask – if you could travel forward in time, how far would you go?
MS: That’s a really interesting question. You don’t know how interesting that question is. I think if I could go any length of time, and return, than I would go thousands of years.

 

LAC: I guess I was asking more of how far you would want to go to see yourself?
MS: OH! I was just thinking of going realllly far – uhm yeah, I don’t know…I would like to see myself in 20 years. I have so many goals and ambitions, so it would be cool to see that come to fruition. As cheesy as it may sound.

 

Photos: Frank Maddocks

21 QUESTIONS: ABSTRAXION

abstra2

Abstraxion is that dude. Since the release of his debut album, Break of Lights, we just can’t seem to get enough of the kid. His brand of house music is heavy in shadow and darkness that is brought to light with soft guitar rifts and futuristic beats, but remains just as infectious. To get a glimpse of the man behind the music, we railed out a series of questions for the 28-year-old London producer before he gave us the boot, but at this point, we’ll take what we can get. Check it out below:

So what’s up?
I’m in my studio right now in Marseille, south of France, finishing a session.

Can we get you something to drink?
A glass of rosé, from Miraval please.

Favorite thing to look at?
Waves

Rock, paper, or scissors?
Rock

Do anything last night?
Yesterday was my birthday, so I stayed with few close friends at home, that’s one of my favorite moments.


How late did you stay up?
Not that late, 3am, as I had to wake up early to work around the release of my album.

Favorite hometown landmark?
I don’t have anything specific in mind but I would say Les Calanques of Marseille in south of France. It’s limestone rocks, peaceful creeks with intense, clear turquoise water.

Live instruments or computer software?
Live instruments as I compose everything with analog instruments in my studio

Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party? Must be alive.
Maybe James Murphy, Brian Eno or Roger Federer. All at the same time.

If life could resemble any film… any film score?
Man on the Moon of Milos Forman… Vangelis film score for Blade Runner

Who would you commission to take/paint/draw your portrait?
Kandinsky

Your worst vice?
Internet


Describe your music in three words?
LIGHT DARK HEART

What was the first thing you said aloud this morning?
BONJOUR!

What are you listening to?
Arcade Fire & Darkside LP, Mount Kimbie remixed by Dj Koze.

Your dream collaboration?
James Murphy, Grizzly Bear, Thom Yorke or Richard D James (Aphex Twin)

Where and when can we catch your next show?
Birthdays in London 6th December, and I’ll be in New York on 14th December at Cameo Gallery for my debut US performance.

If we gave your $50, what would you buy?
I’d probably buy some Vinyls & CDs from Rough Trade.

Last 3 Google searches?
1 – Boiler Room
2 – Homeland S03E10
3 – rough trade NYC

What are you doing later?
I’m gonna have a nice dinner at home, then I’m going out!

Can we come?
No! 😉

21 QUESTIONS: LISSIE

LISSIE_AWH_4929_small_credit-Andrew-Whitton

Lissie is the epitome of a rockstar, in the sense that she breaks the rules, and doesn’t seem to give a fuck about playing the fame game. She’s been compared to Stevie Nicks, but fiercer (yeah, we didn’t think it was possible either, but have been proven wrong). Her take on the sounds of the 70s and 80s is done just right–it’s seductive, sultry, and even a little mean. Her latest album, Back to Forever, has yet to disappoint.
We catch up with Lissie as she takes some time out of touring to answer a few (or 21) of our questions.

So, what’s up?
Hanging out in Denver about to play at twist and shout record store before our gig tonight.

Can we get you something to drink?
Always!

Favorite thing to look at?
Pretty nature bliss

Do anything last night?
Yes drinks and bowling with old friends!

Meals or snacks?
Meals

Tom Petty or Bruce Springsteen?
Bruce

If life could resemble any film…any film score?
Labyrinth

Your biggest fan?
My family or this nice guy Ryan who gets me tattooed on him

Listening to anything right now?
Yes but I don’t know what it is

Who would you commission to take/paint/draw your portrait?
William Eggleston to photograph

When was the last time you really froke out at someone?
Froke?

What was the first thing you said aloud this morning?
My vocal exercises which are like bubbling my lips while singing scales

Last 3 google searches?
Bahn me sandwich restaurant
The Crocodile in Seattle
Pretty Lights

LISSIE_AWH_5137_small_credit-Andrew-Whitton

East or west coast? Biggie or Tupac?
West – Tupac

What’s the most embarrassing song that you know all the words to?
Friday by Rebecca black

Favorite book?
The Clan of the Cave Bear

If we gave you $50, what would you buy?
Food and red wine

Cats or dogs? Why?
Dogs, I’m allergic to cats

If you woke up as the opposite sex, what’s the first thing you would do?
Check out my peen

What are you doing later?
Playing at the Gothic Theatre in Denver then driving to Salt Lake City

Can we come?
Sure!

Get tickets to see Lissie at The Fonda, Monday (12/9) here

NOBODY LISTENS TO TECHNO: LA’S UNDERGROUND DWELLING LIVES ON

venuecollage_RESIZED

Los Angeles may be known for its glitz and glamor, but our fair city is good for more than snooty bouncers, exorbitant ticket prices and arbitrary dress codes. Might we direct you to the places and parties which dwellers of the underground embrace. In contrast to the recent meteoric rise of commercial electronic dance music, left-field dance music has had a home here for over two decades, starting out in clandestine warehouse parties and eventually finding itself in the mix with slightly more established venues and parties.

With the proliferation of the internet and its social media megaverse, we’re not sure that anything is truly underground anymore, but let’s give it up for some of the movers and shakers of the scene still imparting the underground spirit of techno, house and drum’n’bass.

READ THE FULL FEATURE ON LA’S UNDERGROUND VENUES HERE

venue
t
ext VI NGUYEN