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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Interview: Mystery Skulls Talks Brandy, Frat Gigs, And Music

Joyce Jude Lee |
June 4, 2014 | 8:06 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

At Hangout Festival, Red Bull has their own stage which promotes up-and-coming artists. One of the acts Redbull promoted at the festival was Mystery Skulls, an indie-pop act about to burst onto the scene with smashing singles featuring both Brandy and Nile Rodgers. His debut album is set to be released this fall, around August or September if all goes to planned. After listening to “Ghost,” I was stoked to sit down for a lovely chat with the man behind the Mystery Skulls magic, Luis Dubuc (who, by the way, is as nice as he is talented).

Originally from Dallas, Mystery Skulls (Luis) moved to LA in 2012 to produce music he loves, which is music that many people love. While shooting his set at Hangout, I heard incessant cheers and screams from the crowd, who coaxed him into doing a three song encore after a solid set which, at one point, incited a male fan to shout “Dude I think I’m pregnant!!!”  There's no telling what the future has in store for him.

Neon Tommy spoke with Luis during the festival: 

On his debut record and collaborations:

MS: Well, I have two tracks on there with Nile [Rodgers]. Also, on the record I have two tracks with Brandy, so she’s on the record as well. We started about two or three years ago, cause it’s my debut record, so you kind of have a long time to work on it. And I’ve gone through so many songs, I finally got it down to a really amazing eleven tracks. It’s called “Forever.”

On recording the album and his influences:

MS: Yeah, there’s a lot. Okay, a back story, I moved to LA June 1st, 2011…or was it 2012…and June 1st to the day was the day I signed my deal with Warner Brothers. So basically, what happened then, I already had all these songs ready to go then, I was like “Okay here is the record,” and they were like “No, no, no, keep working on it; who else do you want to work with?” so I got in and worked with Nile and eventually Brandy. Every time we had sessions, and every time we would make songs that were better than the ones I already had! There a few songs on there that are pretty old, but they’re pretty great, and there are a few that no one has ever heard before.

Describing his sound to unfamiliar audiences:

MS: I think it’s somewhere between Daft Punk meets Prince. Not a bad combo. I have a song with a video out called “Ghosts,” it’s the first one out, yeah. We have this other one called “Paralyze,” it’s a survive track, you know. The main singles will be the ones where Nile and Brandy are featured, I think.

On being a self taught artist:

MS: I never wanted to learn music. It’s really weird, like I figured it out. I hang out with all these people now, and we’ll all be working together, and I’ll try to describe something and this and does this, and they’ll be like “You just described a falling scale, with a pentatonic blah blah” and it’s funny because [I say] “Well it goes to happy then it goes to sad!” I’m basing it off of records I’ve listened to my entire life. I guess that’s why my music sounds kind of weird, but it’s also why it’s fun.

Best show he’s ever played:

MS: One of the coolest shows, one of the best shows, was really early in Mystery Skulls. I had put some music online, and I got hit up by this fraternity in Pennsylvania, at Penn State. They fly me in, and it turns out that it’s not a real fraternity. They call it House Asoras, and they’ve got this huge basement, with this massive PA system. They said “Okay you’re on at midnight.” I had written that track “Ghost” literally the day before, something I thought these frat guys would like, you know. Something straight forward, you know. And they all went ape shit in this House Asoras basement [laughs] and that’s when I knew! And there were these other dudes who lived down the street in a place called Thrill House, so I grabbed all my gear, and walked across campus at this state college and played a show there. That was the second time I played that song.

Weirdest festival experience:

MS: No bad ones, but one time I played this festival called Brokechella. It was actually pretty sweet, pretty amazing.

Favorite drink:

MS: Moscow Mule, is that weird? I like Ginger beer.

Dream collaboration:

MS: Dude, I just did them. I did them, I did them! Dude, I got Brandy, like [laughs in disbelief]. One of my favorite songs ever is “Pony,” by Ginuwine. It’d be pretty sweet to do a song with him, because I feel like his time isn’t up yet. I think Ginuwine should do more tracks, and I could produce them! So yes, final answer, Ginuwine.

Favorite song at the moment:

MS: Marcus Marr, do you know Marcus Marr?  He only has one song out, it’s called “The Music” and I think it’s the coolest song ever made.

Reach Staff Reporter Joyce Lee here. 



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