When Of Legends’ debut album, ‘Stranded’, winged its way into the MTUK office earlier this year all hell broke lost. Not only was the music a brutal eye-opener, not only was it yet another tentative baby-step into a newly-forming genre, but when we realised the chap at the helm was, up to now, known for being an electro-pop peddler it was like slipping into an alternate reality. Having just laid waste to half of North America on their Spring tour, John Skibeat grabbed a moment to fire a few questions at the man himself, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Luis Dubuc.
Most will know you, Luis, as the man behind The Secret Handshake. What convinced you to make the leap from electronica into metal?
Well, it wasn’t that hard to be honest and really it was just exciting to be doing something so freeing as compared to pop music.
Have you always been a fan of heavy music in general?
Yes, ever since I was a young boy. That’s not something most people know about me so I guess it can throw most of my fans off, especially my critics.
The Secret Handshake was a solo project. At what point did you realise you might need some help from others to fully realise the band Of Legends?
Well, I think it was clear I needed to have that real element, so Travis [Orbin, drums] was an obvious choice based on his talent and character. It has been a great fit.
The band is comprised of yourself and members of Drop Dead Gorgeous and Sky Eats Airplane. How did the collaborations come about?
Well, at the time when I was ready to start touring with Of Legends, the guys’ other bands were sort of ending per se and so it was a perfect fit.
Who took on songwriting duties?
On the album, I wrote everything and sent the tracks to Travis who really took ownership of the drums and tracked them. I played everything else on the album.
I’m thinking specifically of the lyrics that refer to “the humans” when I ask whether you’re a fan of Devin Townsend’s body of work?
Ha! The album is a concept album about the movie Event Horizon, so that’s why those references are made.
What would you say your influences are for writing the songs that you have?
Well, to be honest I’m a huge fan of all genres of music, but overall I really love Meshuggah, In Flames and Soilwork as far as metal goes.
The atmosphere generated by the pile-driving polyrhythms are somewhat reminiscent of bands like Meshuggah, Dillinger Escape Plan and Strapping Young Lad. How much input did Travis Orbin have with that side of things?
Well, like I said earlier, I had written the drums and he took them and “orbinated” them and really made them shine and become unbelievable. He has an amazing talent.
Your vocal style is a real throat-scraper! How did you find it trying to reproduce that kind of raw power and what methods do you use to keep it intact?
I think that sound is just my newness to the genre and overall lack of knowledge of how to scream properly. I’m glad people like it.
You’ve now got Ben Weinman (Dillinger Escape Plan) and Tim Smith (Atreyu / HORSEtheband) co-managing the band. How did they register their interest?
Well, I had been friends with them for a few years and when I showed them the album it was clear that I was serious about the project and so they decided to get involved.
What did it feel like to get that kind of backing so quickly?
Well, it was a bit of pressure but it was fun to live up to it - especially live.
Considering you performed virtually everything on the album, can you describe how difficult you found the process?
It was a bit tricky to be honest as I had done all the demos at home with virtually no pressure. The whole album was done in about 6 days so it was go, go, go!
Now you’ve covered North America, can we expect to see you taking the live shows to other countries in the future?
Hopefully soon, just taking it one step at a time right at this moment.
Is this a project that you think can run and run and, if so, have you already started thinking about what you want to do for the next album?
Yes, we have already begun writing the next album as a collective, so it’s not just me at the helm anymore. Very excited to see how it turns out.
Perhaps (and it’s only a thought) with so many members of Sky Eats Airplane on board, we might expect to see you developing a more melodic sound?
Definitely not melodic in a singing sense. I think personally I really prefer to have metal with just screaming, though I do think the music will become more technical.
Also online @ MTUK = http://www.metalteamuk.net/interviews11/interview-ofleg.htm
Album review = http://johnskibeat.blogspot.com/2011/02/album-review-of-legends-stranded.html