I would like to thank Luis and his manager Nate for setting up the interview.
Brandon Herbel: Hello, Could you please introduce yourself and tell us what you do in The Secret Handshake?
Luis Dubec: My name is Luis Dubuc and i do everything!!
Is there any significance behind the name?
Well, the name came from a comic i drew/ wrote as a kid. i was a really big dork.
I read on your website bio that you are a self taught musician, Do you remember the first time you realized you wanted to play music for a living?
Yeah, i was probably about 16. i'd been in bands before but i played some solo acoustic songs at this local fest called yuppiefest. and it was the first time people were listening to just me. I had demos for $3 and I actually sold them and I thought that meant something.
I wasn't good at anything else anyway, haha.
I've been listening to the "98 EP" for months now and still can't get enough of it. What can we all expect out of the Full-Length?
Well i think the full length is a lot more in depth. the EP was just a preview - some of the more upfront catchy songs. the full length takes influences from r&b, soul, french house.. there's a lot of electronic elements.. i think because of the EP and the songs on myspace people have been quick to put me into a category that i'm definitely not limited too.. hopefully after the full length people will see there's a lot more to TSH
Will we see alot of new material on the Full-Length?
Yes, definitely! trust me i've written more than three songs. the full length has 15 songs.. 11 of which have never been released and most of which have never even been heard live.
Did you go into a studio to record most of your music or was it mostly stuff you did on your own at home?
Yeah, i demo and write everything out at home. i record it in the apartment i share with my mom. haha. its kind of how Ive always done it.but for the final version of the record i went down to Austin, TX to my friend Cory's house (the rise, ocelot) and we, along with our friend jimmy, just hung out for a month and recorded and finished the record.
How did you go about getting signed with Triple Crown Records?
Actually my same friend Cory knew the owner and sent him a few of the songs. he came to see me play and liked it enough and the rest is history...!
Did you ever play in any other bands other then TSH?
Yeah, when i was younger i was in a couple different bands, they were all metal bands, hilariously enough. probably the most notable band i was in was thirty called arson when i was 19. i was the drummer, we were on Pluto records. we did a bunch of really really DIY tours and i think that showed me that anyone could go on tour.. you just had to get out there and do it. so that's what i did with secret handshake.
You've been touring quite a bit lately and I see you just picked up some dates for July with MC Chris. Do you have anything planned after that?
Directly after the MC Chris tour I'm going a UK tour with self against city and kill the arcade... after that I'm not really sure. i cant really see past the UK stuff cause it's so exciting and overwhelming - I've never been overseas before..
What are some of the best memories from the extensive touring you've been doing lately?
Um, yeah, well.. bamboozle was amazing. i haven't played any big festivals like that. the up north dates of the hit the lights tour were great except for the blizzards. playing in Florida at Disney world with Hellogoodbye, that was awesome. it was probably the biggest crowd i've ever played for.it's fun just getting to hang out with the other bands. whenever I'm home i just kinda chill at home and watch a lot of DVDs. so it's good to get out and make new friends and talk to the really awesome people who come out to support us.
You did a video for your song "Too Young" a while back. Whats was the best part of doing your own music video?
Well i did it with my friends in San Francisco. and they came up with the "treatment" and story line and everything. its neat because i write the songs without really imagining visuals to it, but they listen to the song doing just that. so it's interesting to see how it all came out. especially because you don't get to see what its really going to be like while your shooting it, you just do a bunch of scenes in the freezing cold rain and wondering why you keep doing it over and over. so the best part was seeing the final outcome and how it all fit together.
I filmed another video with them for "Summer of 98" too, i still haven't seen it. it should be out in July, so i'm just as excited as anyone to see what it'll look like.
Is there a story behind the song "Summer of 98"?
Kind of. its basically a nostalgic/imaginative song about the summer before high school and everything changing. but its also about looking back on any happy time in your life and then looking forward to starting fresh.
What was it like having bands like P.O.S and Dillinger Escape Plan remix your music?
It was totally awesome. you're so used to hearing your songs one way, so putting your hands in another artist is totally awesome. especially when you first get it, its like a special treat. you know its going to be awesome but you don't know how. its like an adventure.
Growing up, being in metal bands, i always thought Dillinger was THE band. they were and are so amazing to me. so it really is an honor for me that they not only listened but remixed my song. its still one of the neatest things that has happened so far.
What would you say are some of your biggest influences musically?
I'm really into producers like timbaland, and the Neptune's. daft punk, Kenna. Jay - Z, Kayne west.
The intensity of those different producers and MCs is something i've always wanted to take and make my own, even if I don't have rapping in my music. I really just listen to mainstream hip hop (make fun of me all you want) and then I listen to the classics.. like Lionel Richie, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.
So everyone wants to know where you get all the sweet ass hoodies?
I don't know. i get them from different places, i have some favorite stores in Dallas. if i see something i like, i pick it up. i don't shop at some special hoodie store, haha.
i didn't know it would become a "thing". i mean, yeah i think they're sweet ass, that's why i bought them!!
The dino one is from Dim Mak though, in case you still don't know...
If there was one thing you could change about the music scene.. what would it be?
I just really think this music scene today is too commercialized.
Even in the so called "indie" scene, major labels now sign N'sync type of bands and wrap them up in a nice little "emo" package. there are so many so called indie bands that have million dollar budgets, and it honestly bums me out.
It creates a divide in the music scene that sometimes fans can't even see. there are bands that work hard to receive a certain amount of success, and then there are bands on majors that have the same things calculated for them and handed to them.
It's not that i'm bitter or hate all bands on majors or something silly.I just think that overall it cheapens the scene. major labels are now taking the scene and marketing it right back to you. "water-down" is the phrase that comes to mind.
It just seems that kids these days (haha i sound old) are just looking to get "discovered". they try to get agents and managers and labels before even practicing. it's not about the music, it's about the money.
I guess i've always had a punk as fuck DIY attitude towards my band. when I wanted to make a living doing music, i packed my guitar in my ford escort and drove to California. I recorded and released my first full length on my own.I bought a shitty van with the money I saved, played horrible shows and slept at rest stops. a lot of bands have.
But now people think that success will come to them.. they have no work ethic or even much life experience. they don't know what being in a band is all about. it's not just about being on MTV or something.
haha uhhh... next question..
Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
If I'm not still making records i'd like to have a studio and record and produce records for other up and coming artists. id love to still be involved in music if not doing the full time tour thing. I'm sure I'm going to get worn out from it sooner than later, haha
If you could play a show with any band (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
I would kill to play with daft punk. they are living legends. And the show would be awesome. And maybe i could dress up as a robot.
What is it like being on Triple Crown records having to compete with bands like Hit The Lights, Brand New, and The Receiving End Of Sirens for attention?
I don't think it's about competing with those bands in particular, but it is hard being the "new" band. I guess I am still having to prove myself, work from the ground up
What's the deal with you and Dan from PlayRadioPlay?
I'm trying not to get into the whole "he said, she said" thing here, but basically, i've met Dan once in real life. we played a show together and he asked if he could borrow a piece of gear i had. and i said i had already packed it up. that's pretty much the only conversation we've ever had.
I think everything else stemmed from some stupid (and false) rumor that he decided to believe and perpetuate. i never posted anything about him on this site, i never posted a blog about him, and until now i've never mentioned him in an interview.
But apparently I dislike him and even more hilariously, I want to beat him up. the reality is, i don't even know him. and I didn't have anything against him until people starting asking me .. "what do you have against him?" haha
I think it's just unfortunate. I tried to explain myself to him at the very beginning, but people love drama and so it just continues on and on. i don't think we are in competition with one another,I don't think it has to be me vs him. we're both just making music and doing what we love.
So it's whatever. things seem to be going well for him, and I wish him the best of luck in his career. i'm going to keep doing what I'm doing either way!!
So now I've either ended the questions about this or i've re-opened the wound...
Well, thats about all the questions I have for you. Are there any last words or shout outs you would like to give?
Thanks to everyone at Absolutepunk.net for posting about me, even back in the day. it really helps! Oh and thanks to everyone else for saying mean things about me on here too, haha.. I'm totally not a real person or anything. Watch for my new record.. It should be out late August!
how the fuck did he get dillinger and p.o.s to do these remixes second i need to get my fuckin hands on those tracks. those are two of the best things going on in music right now.
p.o.s. was hooked up by the label. ben from dillinger is a friend of mine and i sent him some of the demo tracks, he liked them and asked if he could do a remix, or i asked if he wanted to, cant remember. the toxic avenger one is my fave though. i spin it out at clubs all the time haha