The Dubé Brothers are an inspiring trio of young, devout rockers with both the instrumental skills and musical merits needed to take them to the top. What began as YouTube performances for their mother has now blossomed in to a major musical endeavor, championing some seriously worthy causes including funding cancer research, inspiring other young Ottawa musicians, and even traveling to Haiti in support of a local orphanage & Children’s hospital.
It’s really not everyday you meet such an impressively talented and purely motivated band whose members are under the age of 13. Not only are these boys driven, they’ve got some real stage experience under their belts - including jamming with The Arcade Fire and Hollerado at this year’s Ottawa Blues Fest, taking top spot at the 2010 Band on the Run, opening for The Organ Thieves, and being invited to play Oshega!
A tight knit family and a really generous collection of musicians, Liam, Jan, Quinn, dad Rob and step mom Christine are 100% dedicated to the causes they’ve set out to support, while at the same time nurturing The Dubé Brothers' young, but rapidly maturing sound.
Supernova was lucky enough to have these boys play at Band on the Run 2010, and we grabbed a quick interview to learn more about how these young siblings came to form such an impressive performing act.
First, can you introduce yourselves?
Liam 13 lead guitar, Jan 11 Bass and lead vocals, Quinn drums and vocals.
And I know you have a pretty amazing story... can you tell me what got you to where you stand (as a band) today?
We started out making videos on Youtube for our mom, who was in bed fighting cancer. After she passed away, we started playing fundraisers for cancer, entered the school talent show, then raised funds - over $80K - for Haiti's orphans. And THEN we started busking... from there it got nutty!
Haha, well you guys are quite a sensation. As "Canada's youngest performing rock band," how would you describe your sound?
We have some original material, but we're still a cover band. We're working on our sound and haven't had time to jam together and explore things because we've been so busy fundraising... but that is next on our list.
From the stuff we've written, I'd say it's alternative rock; but that's not necessarily what will come out as a final product. In addition to the classic rock we cover, we have LOTS of influences... pop, metal, reggae, punk, and even big band jazz.
We can't wait to hear more from you. So far, what has been the most rewarding thing about being in a band?
Having fun while working to help others, ie: "work and helping others is fun" instead of "work sucks"... we love our job!
Was there any particular moment or event that made you realize you wanted to pursue music full time?
Watching all the bands play on stage at Bluesfest last year made us want to work hard to become a band. We met some kids from a band called Homemade Jamz, their drummer was 10... bassist was 15, and lead guitarist and vocalist was 17. When we asked them how much they practiced a day, they told us one to one and a half hours... but that when they skipped they noticed how rusty they'd become. (Jan)
What is the biggest challenge facing ‘new’ artists, in your opinion?
Writing songs that haven't been written, and getting the support you need to keep you going.
How did your band find Supernova.com?
We Googled "battle of the bands" and the Band on the Run gig came up. It's fun to be able to play with other bands and meet other artists regardless of who "wins".
So what's your secret to putting on a good show?
Get the crowd involved in the experience of a show so that they feel part of something, and they are not behind a wall. When they participate it contributes to our show; we thrive off of each other. It's hard to play a show for a wall of faces staring blankly at you.
For sure. Where is your favourite place to practice or play?
Busking in the market on Sparks Street is fun, but the rush of busking Bluesfest crowds is fantastic. People are there to see and hear music performances... they are receptive to the spirit of music, and that's all we're doing: just playing the songs we love listening to, for them. It's a place to share.
What other artists do you look up to?
Pink Floyd were creative geniuses who didn't care what others thought of their weird music in the beginning, and had the stamina to craft their sound while having the confidence to believe in their product. They stuck to their guns.
Led Zeppelin, for their raunchy hard blues approach to rock and roll.
Prince as well, because he has been able to redefine himself throughout the years; he's been through a lot and still made it.
You have amazing taste in music. Is there such a thing as ‘bad’ music?
No. Music isn't a sport, where you're "better" than someone else. Anyone's music is "good" to someone... Pink Floyd isn't too fond of Atom Heart Mother, but I like it a lot. (Liam)
Well said. Is there anything else that makes your band unique that new listeners should know?
We're all brothers under the age of 13, covering music whose listeners were only listening to it at our age... We're likely the youngest sibling rock band in the world.
What really makes us unique though, is the experience we leave you with. We're used to people approaching us on the street from afar thinking, "Oh that's so cute, little kids with guitars... it's Rock Band," and as they approach, we see them smile when they realize, "Oh my God, those might be cute little kids, but they are totally blowing me away with their rendition of [whatever it is]!"
We love taking advantage of the opportunity to pleasantly surprise people and deliver a solid performance.
The Dubé Brothers are a band that represent what good music is truly all about - passion, persistence, and playing for a cause; pillars that many older artists tend to forget. We wish the boys all the best on their trip to Haiti, and in their future charitable endeavors.
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