LET THE PEOPLE DANCE: AN INTERVIEW WITH MYSTERY SKULLS

By VI NGUYEN
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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.

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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

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