An Interview With Burn The Louvre
A fresh single from Burn The Louvre brings us a refreshing and bright acoustically driven indie pop track that brings something different to the table finally.
"Wish We Were" is riddled with walking basslines, scattered percussion and a ton of vocal swagger and character to go along with lyrics that you really get drawn into due to their honesty and phrasing being so damn addictive and fun.
The track builds with added guitars that float in the background and the whole thing feels almost like a live performance and it's mostly due to this intense energy that is right in your face but also has a pace to it that gives it a living breathing feel.
And this song does indeed live and breathe. It feels like it comes from a real place. It's a love song of sorts and its brutal honesty has humor and seriousness as it touches on so much in such a short time span it's crazy.
Incredibly danceable and fun, the song can certainly get you shaking your ass in your seat within seconds and it just has this special light to it that becomes infectious.
This was a soiree and it was done with a certain gracefulness and swagger that's not easy to come by and can grab your attention from across the room.
There isn't much not to love about "Wish We Were" and it's raw undertone and stripped down heart.
With such a killer release, we wanted to touch base with Burn The Louvre to find out where this came from and what's next.
Here's what happened.
TSWS: Okay so let's start with "Wish We Were". This track has a real classic swagger to it and came through super fun. Where did this track come from?
Thank you so much for noticing! So I had originally wrote "Wish We Were" for my first girlfriend when we were both 24 (I'm 31 now). Basically the premise of the song is "wouldn't it have been great to have met you sooner in life?" Well sure, but life is rarely that linear. As far as I see it, you have the time that you're given with that person and it's just up to you to try to make the most of it.
I think the great thing about "Wish We Were" is how we turn it around by the bridge where instead of daydreaming about how great it would be to be 17 or 19 again, the narrator kind of "snaps out of it" and realizes that 17 + 19 actually aren't that great after all, you know? Why long for the past when you could be living in the present and planning for the future? If Gillian happens to be reading this, I hope I did the song justice and I really hope you've found someone better. [laughs]
TSWS: I'm hearing several styles on this release. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
So this question has an interesting answer, because my influences have changed slightly from now to when I was 24 when I wrote "Wish We Were". At the time I was listening to a lot of Joel Plaskett and Sam Roberts and other Canadian artists & bands in the same vein. I am still a huge fan of both Joel & Sam, but over the last 5 years or so, I've been far more taken with female singer/songwriters instead.
Lana Del Rey, Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone, Lorde, Phoebe Bridgers & all of her side projects ("Souvenir" by boygenius is my favourite song of all-time), Heather Valley, Hayley Williams, Emily Haines + Metric, lifeandthetribe, Lauryn Hill, POLICA, The Beaches...I could go on and on...I honestly believe that women are better at music than men are. I'll gladly die on that hill. Just from my experience anyways, women just seem to be far more articulate when it comes to communicating emotions. It always blows me away how a lyricist like Lana can turn negative subject matter into something so beautiful. Female artists also seem to be far more mindful when it comes to using their voice as an instrument (Amy Winehouse and Brittany Howard come to mind).
TSWS: So how did this all begin for you really? When did you fall in love with making music?
So I started playing the drums around 12-13, played in a bunch of shitty high school and college bands. Around 20 years old, I decided I didn't want to be the drummer anymore. I had a bunch of my own songs that I wanted to play, so I taught myself guitar at 20 years old. I felt really stupid at times struggling though all these easy songs that kids can play [laughs], but I stuck it out, took some lessons here and there to try to brush up on my technique a bit. Anyways, my brother Dylan also had just left his post-hardcore band that he played in throughout high school and into college (he was the Dallas Green of his band, Our Lives Divided). So him and I both had our own songs that were very much in the same indie rock kind of arena, so we decided to start this band. We released 2 EPs together and gigged around Hamilton until Dylan decided he didn't want to do this anymore late 2017.
Which meant that I had to re-assess this entire thing and basically start again from scratch...which is when I really started working on putting together Silhouettes. It was definitely a ton of work. Fast forward almost 4 years later and here we are today! It feels good to finally be releasing these songs after all the time and effort that went into this.
TSWS: What's next for you as an artist?
Our second single "Nice Guy" comes out February 28th, so I'm currently prepping for that. "Nice Guy" is more of a pop/punk approach. I actually was listening to a lot of Tokyo Police Club when I wrote it, to the point where I initially had thought of including a synth on it somewhere, but Mickey and I agreed that it worked better as more of a folk punk song. I wrote that one years ago after a really bad first date [laughs]. I came up with most of it on the drive home if I recall correctly...spoiler alert: there was no second date. But yeah, "Nice Guy" is another fun, upbeat, tongue-in-cheek song that I hope serves as a bit of an ironic anthem for all of the nice guys out there whose kindness probably gets taken advantage of from time-to-time.
TSWS: What inspires you to write a song?
My #1 rule is that I have never forced anything as far as Burn The Louvre goes. My mind is constantly moving as is, so inspiration just tends to find me. I always have more than enough ideas, phrases, melodies, chord progressions (the odd guitar lick) kicking around in my head, that when the idea is ready to find ME, it does. Themes and ideas range from personal relationships and lately a lot more about what's going on in the world around me. I have never sat down intending to write a song. I've read all those articles with their "expert tips" about how you should be writing every day to try to get better at it...I strongly disagree with that. I tell everyone who will listen, "if you sit down and TRY to write a song...you're going to end up writing a really bad song."
But don't get me wrong though! I try to write absolutely EVERYTHING down. I've got a very well-organized folder with all my lyrics/chord charts/BPMs in there (organized by album/era). There is one folder that is just full of half finished songs, some of them aren't even half-finished! But if a really great line or chord progression (or both!) comes to me, I always, always try to write it down. If a cool melody pops into my head I will try to record a rough cell phone demo just to have a copy of the melody saved somewhere, you know? Then I just remember where they are and I come back to them when I have time or when inspiration strikes again.
: I remember reading a great quote on this topic from Sam Roberts, who I am a huge fan of. I'm paraphrasing here, but it was something along the lines of:
"The unfortunate part of being an artist is that you are never going to remember all of your ideas. Even if you try to write them down right away or record a quick demo or what have you, it is impossible to keep track of every one of your ideas. You might not always have your pen + notepad on you, or maybe your phone's dead so you can't take that voice memo...kind of makes you wonder how many great songs there are out there that just get forgotten."
TSWS: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?
Honestly, not much [laughs]. I try to read when I can, I workout because I have to, I'm a decent cook...I mean, I've got a full-time job? [laughs]
TSWS: Who are you listening to right now?
So this changes all the time, constantly (as I'm sure it does for you as well)...Lana Del Rey is ALWAYS on the list in some capacity. I've been digging a lot of eclectic stuff lately: indie pop artist POLICA, Wolf Alice, Bad Bad Hats, Americana singer/songwriter Heather Valley, who I am a huge fan of, R&B artist lifeandthetribe recently released a banger of a song, so I've been digging their discography lately...I am also super, super late to the party on everything, so for example: upon hearing July Talk's most recent single, I've just now gone through their last record Pray For It. The whole record's great, but "Pay For It" in particularly is such a beautiful song. The Kanye West documentary has inspired me to go through some of his back catalogue again and I've been messin' with some Cage The Elephant for the first time in a while again too. I've been working on an acoustic cover of "Black Madonna" that I think is turning out really well.
TSWS: Are you putting any thought into live performances?
Yes we are! Thank you for asking. We're actually talking with some venue owners in Hamilton right now about trying to set up a hometown show for March/April. It'll be good to get back out there again as up until this point Sean & I have basically exclusively played at a few open mics here or there, but not much else...which is wild because we've been getting together for rehearsals once a week for the past 2 years! #COVID19
TSWS: Do you have a home studio where you track your stuff?
I do, yeah! But I mainly use the home studio for either demoing new songs or for shooting performance videos for social media content (stripped down versions of our own songs or cover songs). I've slowly been building up a modest collection of studio gear and equipment. I've been trying to learn more about audio/video editing along with recording/mixing...I'm not very good at it yet, I know enough to set everything up and record + EQ simple demos & videos, but not much beyond that. So I am very thankful for Mickey Ellsworth! He engineered, mixed & mastered this entire record and I could not be happier with the way it turned out. In the meantime I'm going to keep learning, but I'm going to call Mickey when it's time to record again for real.
TSWS: This track seems like a big undertaking. What kind of advice might you have for other up and coming artists out there?
Honestly, when you're an independent artist running absolutely every aspect of the business by yourself while working a full-time job...time is a constraint that is very, very tight. As far as "running your own career" goes, my biggest piece of advice I can give is to keep track of absolutely EVERYTHING. I have a giant envelope I save all of my receipts in and then I record all of the money in/money out on a Google Sheet. It started out as a way to track my spending on music career essentials, but I mean, I even save all my gas receipts. I like knowing exactly how much money I spent in a year and where it went. But yes, Google Sheets are your best friend. I have a Google Sheet set up for everything: one keeps track of Music Blogs & Magazines, one keeps track of Radio/Podcasts, one keeps track of Spotify Playlists, I have another one for Apple Music Playlists...one for Music Supervisors...
You could have the greatest song in the world, but if you don't have a contact list to send that song out to, then nobody is going to hear it. It took me YEARS to put together my Contact Book, but you have to start somewhere. Anytime you're on Twitter and you see a post from a new blog, radio station, playlist curator etc. - make note of it, take a screenshot and add it to your Master List on Google Sheets later. I mean, obviously practicing & rehearsal are important, but nobody ever talks about how to run PR as an independent musician. I think the promo + the marketing are almost as important as the finished product itself, which has to be excellent.
Which brings me to my last quick point here, learn where your strengths and your weaknesses are and figure out where it makes sense to out-source work to a professional with more expertise than you. For example: most musicians probably aren't A+ mixing engineers, so for a multitude of reasons it is usually always a good idea to hire someone to help you produce your music. Worst case scenario: it NEVER hurts to have an extra pair of ears.
TSWS: "Wish We Were" is part of a full length album you are dropping a song at a time right? Can you tell us about that?
That's right, yeah! So "Wish We Were" is part of an 11 song LP called Silhouettes. We are releasing 1 song per month until the end of the year. I'm releasing them out of order and then as I'm releasing them I am adding them to a playlist we have on Spotify titled "Silhouettes" where you can listen to the album in its entirety front to back with the track-listing in the proper order. I wrote all of these songs between the ages of 24-27 or so and they all just so happen to be about women that used to be in my life [laughs], whether that be ex-girlfriends or just girls that I used to know. I'd like to think that they are all very positive songs though, even some of the more melancholic ones. So I suppose these women are Silhouettes from my past so to speak. Again, I didn't set out to create an LP, it just kind of worked out that these 11 songs fit so well together and told a bit of a story from that part of my life.
Mickey Ellsworth recorded, mixed + mastered every track on the album and I could not be happier with the way everything turned out. Because my current guitarist Sean Cooper, didn't join the band until after I had finished recording Silhouettes, my friend Andrew Billone of Hamilton rock band Silvertone Hills played all the lead guitars and bass on every song for me. Also, my friend Stephanie Deshane sang with me on "Alison".
In order to appease the Spotify + streaming algorithm gods, it seems that releasing songs 1 at a time just makes more sense now in terms of giving yourself more opportunities for playlists etc. So I figured 1 per month made sense so I could release them all as 1 LP in the same year. That was really important to me. I wanted them to be able to qualify as an LP even though they are technically being released as 11 separate singles, right? As a kid, I dreamt about creating great LPs that people could listen to on their car ride and hopefully it could make them think or feel something from it that they can relate to. In my opinion LPs are becoming a bit of a lost art now, I just really tried to do my best with Silhouettes.
TSWS: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Honestly, I just want to say thank you so much for listening, saving our songs, purchasing something on BandCamp, even following us on social media. It honestly gives me a little bit of validation that I'm not completely wasting my time doing this, you know? As long as there are people out there who enjoy what we're doing, I'll keep doing it. So a very sincere thank you to everybody who has listened so far and I really hope your readers like the rest of the album!