FROM A SKATEBOARDING CHUCK E. CHEESE TO CRUISING THE MEDITERRANEAN AND ALL POINTS IN BETWEEN:
DAVE DUPUIS TAKES US INSIDE HIS ROCK N’ ROLL JOURNEY IN STYLE
We first heard L.A. noise rockers Nightmare Air back in 2010 when they absolutely crushed the Silver Dollar Room in Toronto with a vocal and guitar assault that left our ears blissfully ringing and wanting more. In a week-long citywide festival that boasts and hosts hundreds of talented bands (Canadian Music Week) Dave Dupuis, Swaan Miller and Jimmy Lucido were the easy stand-outs.
Singer/guitarist Dave Dupuis, previously of Shoegazer greats Film School, shared with us his thoughts on music, inspirations, leisure time, and the upcoming release of the band’s newest LP with Step On Magazine.
What are your current fixations?
The speed of passing time, synths, people, sounds, trees, strangers, mountains, air, songs, green and orange, hiding eyes.
Why do you live where you do?
I live in Los Angeles. Been here for about 8 years now transplanted from Oakland by way of Seattle by ways of New Hampshire. As much as a cliché as it is, the weather is pretty amazing and the reason we are still here in L.A. It’s very fitting for someone like myself that tours most of the year. Coming back to L.A. after a tour is always just “nice”. If you don’t get stuck in a hole, L.A. can be a great city to be in a band too. You’re surrounded by great and new talent popping up all around. L.A. is very much a choose your own adventure city. You can hide away in your house and tuck into the hills for weeks at a time and be totally happy, or you can go out and do crazy drugs with rock stars and actors…it’s all here.
What record/tape/cd/digital format music album inspired you to take up music?
Inspiration to actually start a band came back in the days of high school and early college. It came from the punk and indie bands that were getting popular at the time. Seeing them as the raw/ terrible musicians they were with their raw/terrible sounding instruments, I thought if they can do it with the same crappy gear I have, I can do it too! After a few years of making bad noise it worked out pretty well.
I should have bought all the vintage Space Echos, vintage guitars, and synths when they were basically giving them away in Boston Music stores when I started getting into this game. They were everywhere and pennies on the dollar to what you see you now. I remember buying a sweet Korg Poly 800 synth in the early 90s for next to nothing and having these dickhead guitar dudes behind the counter laughing at me for buying it. Who’s laughing now mofo? They were too busy collecting rack gear and processors for their bullshit guitar rigs. Oh shit…now I’m starting to collect those same processors now….oh jeez, guess I’m a dickhead too?
What should everyone shut up about?
Gay marriage and smoking weed. They are both awesome.
What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Sun, friends, tacos, tunes, stiff cocktails, weed and maybe a cool movie before the sun goes down.
What was the first LP/tape/CD you bought with your own money?
Culture Club’s Colour by Numbers. I got straight A’s on my report card and my mom gave me 10 bucks…I was just entranced by that damn “Karma Chameleon”. Funny full-circle to coincide with Culture Club, as I am writing this in our studio, I’m sitting under a 4 x 4 foot painted portrait of Boy George. Jimmy Lucido (greatest drummer of all time), acquired it from a roommate who left it at a shared apartment a handful of years ago. That Boy George has been staring at us the past couple months as we’ve been making this current record. I wonder what that has done subliminally to these new tunes.
What was your most memorable day job?
It’s a toss up between painting fire hydrants in a small beach town in New Hampshire when I was 19 or in high school when I worked at Chuck E Cheese’s and wore the mouse costume. The costume job was pretty fun actually. I was a big skateboarder at the time and because of that they sent me around to local fairs and events with the sole purpose to just cruise around on my board in a 6 foot mouse costume.
I buy way too many things that make noises. I for sure have a gear acquisition problem, especially when it’s record making time. If I think I may be able to use it I just buy it….the credit card companies’ love me.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Street tacos w/ Hendrix.
What is your favourite 90’s band(s)?
Tough one…but probably Swervedriver, Jane’s Addiction, Archers of Loaf, Quicksand, Superchunk…
What is your favourite journey?
To new unknown places with friends and guitars.
What is your current mood?
Amped for the new record/tunes. We spent most of this past July recording in Ireland at a really cool destination studio called Grouse Lodge. We came back in August with a good framework for the record, but had to leave almost immediately for another tour. Back in L.A. now buckling down, getting settled with some wild sounds and taking the remainder to the finish line. I’m looking forward to sharing our new children with the world next year.
What person or thing do you most despise?
Right wing bigots and closed-minded bible thumping fucktards.
What is your favourite occupation?
Being a musician.
What should people know about you?
I shattered my skull in a mosh pit when I was 19 and still have wires in my head.
What does the next 6 months look like for you?
Finishing the album and all that goes along with that, getting the live show together and earning money in the middle. I have a few work tours with Gary Numan coming up in the New Year that I’m beginning to focus on now. As well as play and tour with Nightmare Air, I tour manage and do front of house sound for different bands/artists. I’ve been on tour with Gary Numan a lot in the past couple years or so, a truly amazing person to work with. A lot of his new music leans to full on industrial, full range sounds which has been really fun and inspiring to mix live and loud…perhaps why I’ve been buying up a bunch of random synths lately!?
Favourite TV shows/streaming shows?
Today…Game of Thrones, True Detective…and I just finished Mad Men. Was in and out of Mad Men over the years but thought the ending was great.
Who or what makes you laugh?
When I decide I won’t wear all black one day and immediately spill coffee down the front of my white shirt….and of course when you see a person walk full stride into glass doors not knowing there was a door there. I’ve done it too many times to mention so I can laugh without apology to the people that do it.
What is your dream vacation/trip if money was no object?
A month long boat trip in the Mediterranean on a large catamaran. Love that sea. We were lucky enough to do that last summer for a couple of weeks with some friends after Nightmare Air played a festival in Greece. Greece has some of the best food, people and beaches out there. I want more Greek island time in my life.
What has been the most significant achievement you’ve had with your music so far?
I’ve had the chance to play some of the coolest and most iconic stages in rock history alongside some of my heroes. That in itself is a win and I hope it continues. But really, just being able to live off rock and roll after all these years is an achievement. Definitely feel like I’m winning this round.
Big thanks to Dave Dupuis for this great interview. We look forward to hearing the new music and will look out for upcoming 2016 tour dates.
By Dave MacIntyre