INTERVIEW: The Secret Handshake @ Academy 2, Manchester (02/02/2008)

Date: February 2nd, 2008
Venue: Academy 2, Manchester
Interviewer: Zach Redrup

Download: None available
Stream: MySpace


The Secret Handshake profile

DEAD PRESS! arrive at the Academy venue in Manchester to interview upcoming American solo musician Luis Dubuc, in his project The Secret Handshake. After being escorted to his dressing room alongside Between The Trees and The Rocket Summer, they talk about Luis‘ influences, his plans for 2008, accordions, the perfect sandwich, and the difference between American and British Chocolate.


Zach: Which musical artist would you say has the biggest influence on The Secret Handshake?
Luis: Er… one? One musical artist? Er… Kanye West. Isn’t that weird? I don’t sound anything like him, but I had to pick one. I listen to his records and I’m like “Alright, time to write some songs!” not that they sound anything like his, but –
Zach: No, a bit different.
Luis: Yeah, I like hear his stuff and it’s like “Alright, let’s write some music.” I dunno why, it’s just for whatever reason it’s just like I was, he just inspires me.

Zach: How’s the reception been so far for ‘One Full Year’?
Luis: It’s been like really cool, like in the states and stuff it’s done really well. It’s sold like almost 10,000 records, which is great, it’s been out for like three months. Erm, it’s not out here, but it comes out in March, so I’m excited. People seem to be excited about it, so I’m excited for it to come out.

Zach: When did you first start writing your own music?
Luis: Erm, I’d say like, just kinda like playing around, you know what I mean, like just with the guitars, I was probably like 17. I did like the school talent show, you know, I dunno, do they have this here?
Ruth: Yeah.
Luis: Yeah, I did the school talent show, and it was pretty bad.
Luis: But yeah, yeah, that was pretty you know…
Zach: Did you win?
Luis: I did not win.
Luis: Like in Texas, I dunno, you know like cheerleader but dancing kind of squads, you know with the…
Ruth: I’ve seen them on TV, but we don’t have them over here. [laughter]
Luis: Yeah, it’s like that’s really popular. Something like some girls won, but I dunno, I dunno who won, something like that.
Zach: Just not you, so that’s all that matters.
Luis: No, no. It wasn’t me, it was just silly, I dunno…
Ruth: Somebody that wasn’t me, that’s all I remember.
Luis: It’s all I remember, it wasn’t me. So…

Zach: What’s your favourite fast food restaurant?
Luis: Does pizza count?
Ruth: Yeah.
Luis: Well, there’s this pizza place right by my house. It’s called Sal’s Pizza, and I order from it so much that like when I call with my phone, it pulls up on a caller ID, and they just know what I want, and I know how much it’s gonna cost. So I know, like literally, so it’s the same guy who delivers every time, he always makes some sort of comments like “You really like Pizza, don’t you?”
Luis: … yeah.
Zach: You trying to call me fat?
Luis: Yeah, it’s like, “Just ’cause I like your fucking stuff. Just ’cause you have a job. Just ’cause I employ you.”
Luis: Erm, no, it’s just funny. I just love Sal’s Pizza. I – it’s so random, it’s just this whole random pizza place I like, I just dunno why I like it so much.
Ruth: There’s one around the corner from us who’s just like that.
Luis: Yeah, you know you have those random places? You know what I mean, they’re just – they don’t have ’em anywhere else, but it’s just so good.

Ruth: What’s your favourite song to play live?
Luis: Well live I do kinda like the song ‘Too Young’ I do a medley, which is kinda like the original and then half-way through it stops, and then goes right into the remix. So that’s my favourite to play live, ’cause I think it’s cool and people are like “Awwh, this is cool.” you know, and then, it’ll come into the remix and people are like “Oh yeah.”
Luis: So, it’s something like, it’s something really fun to do.

Zach: What’s your favourite thing about the British?
Luis: About British people?
Ruth: Anything.
Zach: Anything to do with Britain.
Luis: Erm, everyone’s really respectful I think. You know what I mean? Like, I think that’s definitely like my favourite thing, it’s really just nice and cool. Like, in the states I think that there’s a lot of people who just really have an attitude for like no reason. And I dunno dude, maybe, maybe people are bad here too.
Ruth: Yeah, there’s a lot. [laughter]
Luis: Yeah, I dunno, I just haven’t like – I don’t experience it at all at shows here. So it’s like, in the states people can really like you but they don’t even want to show it. They’ll be like “Ugh!” and then the next day be like “It was a great show!”, you’re just “Are you sure? You thought so? ‘Cause I couldn’t tell.” So it’s really, so it’s definitely like that.
Zach: Nicer people.
Luis: Yeah, for sure.
Ruth: We have to give the British chocolate Zach.
Zach: Oh yeah, we got you a present.
Luis: Oh dude, no way.
Zach: Yeah, we got you a present. We got you a, erm – have you ever had a Creme Egg before?
Luis: Er, Cadbury?
Ruth: Yeah.
Luis: I had one like years ago.
Ruth: There you go.
Zach: Yeah, we – we got you one.
Ruth: They are the best British chocolate, and they only come out at Easter time.
[Zach hands over the Creme Egg]
Luis: Dude, dude, let me… oh, this is so good.
Luis: I eat – I grew up in Canada, and they had these.
Ruth: Yeah, they’re so good.
Luis: So, it’s been like ten years since I’ve had one of these. Dude, I’m so stoked. Thank you so much, it’s great. I do love – I love British chocolates, er, like I really like – I think Kit Kats in – in – in the UK taste way better, like the chocolate’s just way better for some reason.
Ruth: I really like American chocolate, I always get my friends to bring it over for me.
Zach: Like Hershey’s.
Ruth: Yeah.
Luis: I think Hershey’s is disgusting.
Ruth: I love it.
Luis: I think American chocolate tastes like dirt, and British chocolate tastes like… the best milk ever.
Zach: I do prefer Cadbury’s over Hershey’s.
Ruth: I like tootsie pops aswell. They’re nice.
Luis: I don’t like those, next. No way, but this is great, thank you.

Zach: If you were stranded alone on a desert island and could only take three things with you, what would they be?
Luis: Er… first I would take my PSP with one game, which would be Super Ghouls ‘N’ Ghosts, have you ever played that game?
Ruth: No, I’ve never heard of it.
Luis: I’ve got it, it’s impossible to beat, and I play it all the time, and so I – I could play it forever ’cause I’d never beat it. I would take… I would probably take one of those TV/DVD player things, and then one DVD I’d probably put into the TV/DVD player thing. I’d probably put like er – let’s see, like what one movie? Have you ever seen the movie Trading Places with Eddie Murphy?
Ruth: Oh, I’ve seen that.
Luis: That’s my favourite movie, so I’d probably just watch that over and over. It’s so good. It’s got Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, it’s from like ’88? I was probably – I think was like 3 years old when it came it.
Ruth: Is it that one where one’s really poor and the other’s really rich and they swap over?
Zach: Oh I’ve seen that, yeah.
Luis: There you go. It’s on TV all the time, it’s one of those like TV movies.

Zach: How would you compare touring in the US to touring in the UK?
Luis: Touring in the UK’s really different, like in the sense of the drives are so short. I think, your entire country is like the size of Texas, so it’s like kinda like 10 hour drives every day. So here, it’s definitely a lot easier.
Ruth: That’s mad. It’s like 4 hours to London in the car from here.
Luis: Yeah, yeah, you can normally like sleep-in every day, you can like rest, and like feel good. It’s like – it’s not so much a vacation, but it’s a little more.
Zach: A bit of a rest?
Luis: Yeah, as where like in the states it’s usually – you know you’re working, and you know it’s a job, you know what I mean? It’s – so it’s like, it’s rough sometimes, so…

Ruth: What’s your favourite cartoon?
Luis: My favourite cartoon is without a doubt The Simpsons. I own every season on DVD, every season that’s been – every season that’s been released out, I’ve got them all on DVD.
Zach: Have you got the movie aswell?
Luis: I’ve got the movie, I’ve got – I own every season of Futurama.
Ruth: I love Futurama, and then they stopped it.
Luis: Erm, like I’m obs– like I love like the guy, the guy that makes them, Matt Groening or whatever?
Zach: Yeah.
Luis: I just like anything he does, I’m just all about it for some reason.
Ruth: Family Guy, that’s the best one.
Luis: I don’t love Family Guy. I like it, I like it, but I don’t like it enough to go out and buy a DVD.
Ruth: I love it, I don’t stop watching it.

Zach: If you were to become a superhero, what would you be called and what would your powers be?
Luis: I have no idea. I’ve just always wanted to fly dude.
Zach: Like Superman?
Luis: No, not like Superman.
Ruth: Superman’s too good, he tries to help people.
Luis: Like I’ve always just wanted to just float around. Not even like, I don’t even wanna fly that high, I just wanna kinda float, you know what I mean?
Zach: You could be Hover Man?
Luis: Yeah! I’ll be Hover Man. I’ll hover around.
Luis: Yeah, you know what I mean? Only like this far off the ground, you know? And I’d not really go nuts with the skill, not really help anyone.
Ruth: You’d always get a good view at gigs.
Luis: Yeah, yeah. Like if you’re playing live or something, just I dunno dude, you get to the cool part of the song and you start floating.
Luis: You know, more applause. It’ll go over well. Hell yeah, I’ve always wanted to fly, for sure.

Zach: What’ve been the best and worst fan experiences you’ve had so far?
Luis: The best? I love anytime when people bring me chocolates.
Zach: I’m in your good books then?
Luis: Yeah dude. Er, the worst? I dunno dude, I don’t think I really have anything like, I never really like, like crossing my fingers right now or knock on wood, but I’ve never had any bad fan experiences. I’ve definitely heard stories of other bands, but never like had anything where I was like “Ooh, I gotta get out of here.” you know?
Ruth: Yeah, some of the fans over here get a bit weird.
Zach: Yeah.
Luis: Yeah, I’ve never really had that.
Zach: Have you heard of Bring Me The Horizon?
Luis: Yeah, I’m friends with Oli.
Zach: Yeah, they get loads of little girls chasing them.
Luis: Really?
Ruth: Yeah, last time we went to see them there was just loads stood outside, and every time one of the band members like went to the window they were like “Aaaah!”
Luis: That’s crazy.
Ruth: It was quite funny.
Zach: Yeah, they did that with… have you heard of The Blackout aswell?
Luis: No.
Zach: Well, they’re this Welsh post-hardcore band, and erm, they were like –
Ruth: They got quite angry at us, didn’t they?
Zach: Yeah, ’cause they said “Oh, are you queuing for The Blackout?” and we went “Yeah, but we’re gonna interview them first.
Ruth: “Well, this is the queue here!”
Zach: Yeah, “Queue here!”
Luis: Crazy, just to interview them?
Zach: Yeah.
Luis: That – that’s just, just so not sweet.
Zach: Yeah, but we’ve not given anyone else chocolate to anyone else yet.
Luis: Oh, well thank you so much.
[door opens]
Drummer Guy: Sorry.
[door closes, and guy leaves]
Luis: That’s my drummer guy, he just comes in. I’ve done a couple of interviews today, and he just comes in every time, and he’s like “Sorry!”
Luis: I dunno why he just keeps coming in.
Ruth: He must be just used to it now.
Zach: He just wants to get in on the interview.
Luis: I guess so.

Ruth: In your opinion, what makes the perfect sandwich?
Luis: Really good bread, just like cheese bread or something, you know what I mean?
Zach: Cheese bread?
Luis: You know what I mean? Have you ever had cheese bread?
Ruth: No.
Zach: We have cheese bread on Subways.
Ruth: Literally like cheese on bread. [laughter]
Luis: Yeah, but like, with the cheese like baked into the bread?
Ruth: No.
Luis: Awwh, dude it’s so good. There’s a kind of bread I was gonna have, it’s called Tomato Basil, it’s so good. It’s like basil, with little bits of tomato in the bread but it’s so good, it makes it so soft. It’s like you could essentially be eating dirt and be like “This is good!”
Luis: “This bread’s great!”
Luis: You know, but literally any good bread is like the key to the best sandwich.

Zach: If you could tour alongside any band dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Luis: Erm, any band dead or alive, who would it be? Dude, that’s a hard question man.
Zach: Kanye West?
Luis: No.
Luis: Er, I dunno… ’cause who’s the biggest band in the world? You wouldn’t want to tour with them, ’cause I mean they’d just own you every night.
Ruth: What, like The Beatles? They’d just sorta go – they’d blow you out of the water.
Luis: Yeah, like you play and no one would care.
Ruth: Especially as two of them are dead, that’d be quite good.
Luis: Yeah, that’d be super weird.
Luis: Zombie band. Yeah dude, I have no idea. I’ve – I’ve like never been asked that question before, so I have literally, literally no idea. How about, I would tour opening for Will Smith‘s World Tour, where he only plays the ‘Men In Black’ song… over and over and over again?
Luis: That’s what I’d do, and MC Hammer would be main support as well, I’d just be the opening band.

Ruth: Which country would you most like to visit?
Luis: I’ve always wanted to go to Japan. Yeah, I’ve – it seems so interesting.
Ruth: They eat turtles, that’s gross.
Luis: Yeah, super weird. I would not eat turtles, but I might save a few, but I wanna go there for sure.

Zach: Is there any instrument that you would like to learn to play, but haven’t had the chance to yet?
Luis: Laugh all you want, I’ve always wanted to learn to play the accordion. I think they’re actually kinda cool.
Zach: Smashing it in.
Luis: Yeah, like I’d never play it live or anything, you know what I mean? I wouldn’t come up playing the accordion, but I’ve always wanted to –
Ruth: Is that the one Rosie & Jim used to play?
Zach: Yeah.
Luis: You know, I don’t understand this, it has these keys right, but then it also has these buttons. What do the buttons do? That’s what I wanna know, and sometimes they hit the buttons, but like those aren’t keys, those are just buttons. What do they do?
Ruth: Mystery.
Luis: And I think it’s just crazy that, you would have to plan to know, like, you know what I mean? The whole thing to me seems like absolutely crazy and insane, so I’ve always wanted to just be like “Let me try one out.” but I’ve never – I don’t really wanna know how it’d go, so…
Zach: Well, next time you release something you should try and experiment, and put one in there.
Ruth: What? An accordion?
Luis: No, no, no. I’m o – I’m okay.

Zach: What can we expect from The Secret Handshake in 2008?
Luis: A lot more touring in the UK, for sure. The record comes out here in March.
Zach: We’ll bring you some more Creme Eggs.
Luis: Oh, thank you.
Ruth: We’ll post them.
Luis: Yeah, I’m gonna definitely – I think I’m gonna be here quite a bit so, I’m definitely excited about it.

Zach: Do you have your own little secret handshake that you have?
Luis: Dude, I dunno man. I have no idea. Maybe. How about that? There’s my answer; maybe.
Zach: Maybe.
Luis: Maybe, yeah dude.

Ruth: Describe your sound in one word.
Luis: One word? That’s really hard. Do you guys ask these weird questions that just never – that no one’s ever asked before so I have to think about them?
Ruth: Yeah.
Zach: We like to keep you on your toes.
Luis: Yeah dude, one word? I dunno, er… think… I dunno, dude. It’s so – it’s such a hard question. I’d say – I don’t wanna just say ‘fun’, ’cause that’s just so silly. But, I wanna say ‘video games’, but that’s also silly.
Ruth: That’s two.
Luis: And I also wanna say ‘the mall’, but that’s just silly. But I think maybe if you combined ‘fun’, ‘video games’, and ‘the mall’, that would be my sound.
Zach: So your sound is like playing a fun video game in the mall?
Luis: At the mall, yeah. It’s just like some of the songs are really fun, some of the songs are really chilled, but overall there’s definitely a good vibe.

With that, Zach and Ruth bid their goodbyes to Luis and wish him luck with the show tonight, where he actually got to be the shows headline act due to an illness with The Rocket Summer. Hopefully Luis enjoyed his Creme Egg, and we get to see a lot more from him in the UK shortly after his UK album release.

Written by Zach Redrup