If you’re a child of the 90s, you’ll recognize Mystery Skulls as a reference to a nostalgic Nickelodeon television show. However, if you’re a Spotify user, or you’re known to fall victim to YouTube click-a-thons, you know that this name is still alive and well in the form of a one-man electro-pop outfit who’s recently been blowing up the airwaves and interwebs.
There’s a certain energy that comes with talking to fresh performers who are living in the moment, and watching their careers take flight. That excitement is palpable with Luis Dubuc, a magnetic and incredibly handsome LA-transplant who took some chances and is now having the privilege of watching it all pay off. This year marks a lot of milestones for the impressive young artist whose debut LP, Forever, and 2015 tour alongside Nashville electro-funk duo Cherub, has not only put him on the map, but has helped solidify him as one to watch. “I went into Forever trying to make a great record,” Dubuc says. “I wasn’t sure if people were going to like it, and I was definitely hanging out the night before [it was released] thinking about that, but people love it,” Dubuc says. His thrilling debut album shows off a wide range of Dubuc’s talents, including both production and live vocals, which are so crisp and clear that you’d never guess he was self taught.
Forever chronicles an important time in Dubuc’s life. “I had to live all of these songs in order to write them, which sounds crazy, but its true,” Dubuc says. “A lot of the record is about when I moved to Los Angeles, and it’s about transition and growing.” He still gets surprised when he hears that the album has found its way into the everyday lives of his fans. “I’m amazed by the impact when people say, ‘Oh this is the record I drive to work to’, or ‘This is the record I work out to’, and I think that’s really cool,” Dubuc says.
In addition to being highly relatable, infectious and downright sexy, the album also boasts impressive collaborations, not only worth noting for an up and comer, but for just about anyone. “Someone that I know said ‘I’m going to show Nile Rodgers your music’, and he called me an hour later,” Dubuc says. “He sang his own song to me, just to confirm who he was: ‘It’s Nile Rodgers from Le Freak – Ahhhh Freakout!’ and I had to laugh. I said, ‘Dude, I think I’ve heard that song like once or twice.” Rodgers and Mystery Skulls laid down the track for Magic (the song also features vocals from Brandy), which has taken off as one of album’s singles, and the two remain close friends. “Once I had [finished] that song, I felt inspired to write some of the others. It was empowering, in a way,” Dubuc says.
Mystery Skulls has helped expand his fan base by collaborating in other arenas as well. As a cartoon lover and self-proclaimed 90s nerd, a working relationship with the well-known YouTube animator Mystery Ben fell right into that wheelhouse. “Ben made this video called Money a few years ago, and he used my song in it. It blew up in the gaming, artist and comic book community,” Dubuc says. The two later met at SXSW, and Ben proposed a new video for Forever’s debut single, Ghost, which would use Dubuc’s autobiographical electro-pop tune about leaving his hometown of Dallas, TX as the soundtrack for a Scooby-Doo-inspired anime short, which has gone on to generate more than six million views, and counting. “We’d already made a video for Ghost, but I thought this might be something people really liked,” Dubuc says. “But I couldn’t imagine [they’d like it] this much.”
Fresh off a performance at this year’s SXSW Festival, Mystery Skulls shows no signs of slowing down with a packed festival season and upcoming European tour in the works. When he’s not on stage or in the studio, he stays true to his name though, catching up on the 90s throwbacks that have lent themselves to his fun loving persona. “I took Mystery Skulls from an episode of Are You Afraid of The Dark – 90s Nickelodeon shows have no shortage of dope band names,” Dubuc says. “I definitely nerd out; I have every season of that shit downloaded.”
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