Here’s a Canadian band that definitely needs to be on your radar – Burn The Louvre are a Hamilton-based indie rock duo that caught our attention with their first single, “Wish We Were”. They’ve just released the follow up, “Nice Guy”, so we caught up with the band to chat about the new single, their favourite Canadian bands, and their superhero alter egos.
From The Strait: Tell us about the new single, “Nice Guy”.
Burn The Louvre: “Nice Guy” is a pop/punk meets folk punk rock n’ roll hybrid. The result is a fun, upbeat, tongue-in-cheek anthem for nice guys everywhere. I wrote it after a really bad 1st date that got progressively worse as the night wore on. I literally came up with most of the lyrics and the melody/song structure on the drive home and I finished the rest of the song shortly afterwards. I was listening to a lot of Tokyo Police Club at the time, so I think the musical influence came from that while the lyrics were inspired by this girl whose name I can’t remember now, it was so long ago [laughs]. But I would like to thank her for this song. Spoiler alert: there was no 2nd date.
FTS: How did Burn The Louvre get started as a band?
Burn The Louvre: So I actually started off playing the drums in a bunch of really bad high school & college bands until I decided that I didn’t want to be the drummer anymore. I had my own songs and I couldn’t write chord progressions for them behind a drum kit, so I took up the guitar at 20 years old. I felt really stupid at times struggling through 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 Burn The Louvre (the name came from a Fight Club quote). 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 this LP, Silhouettes. It was definitely a ton of work recording “as a solo artist” with some help from friends. So as soon I finished up recording this new LP Silhouettes late 2018 with my producer Mickey Ellsworth, I received an email from guitarist Sean Cooper, he was answering a “Musicians Wanted” ad that I had put up on Kijiji months ago. I honestly thought I had deleted that ad (I got frustrated after getting flaked on for the 20th time). So we ended up going for a beer and talking and a week later we got together to jam. We’ve been getting together to jam on average of once a week ever since. I don’t think we’ve ever had a “bad practice”. I was extremely impressed with the way that Sean came in and added his own unique lead guitar parts and harmonies to songs that had already been mastered. So the way we play these songs live is definitely a little different from how they sound on the recordings, but it works either way, so I honestly think it’s great. Re-imagining Burn The Louvre as a duo really added a new dynamic to our sound and I am so glad that Sean wanted to be a part of this.
Fast forward to 2022 and here we are today. It feels good to finally be releasing these songs after all of the time and effort that went into this.
FTS: As a band, who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
Burn The Louvre: So Sean & I both have very different musical influences which I think blend together really well for what we’re doing. Great example: Sean’s more into The Rolling Stones, whereas I grew up on The Beatles. Beyond that, I’m kind of all over the map. I love me some good hip-hop (see: Mos Def, Kendrick Lamar etc.), I love my indie punk music (see: The Dirty Nil, PUP etc.), but I have a huge soft spot for female singer/songwriters. Some of my favourites are Lana Del Rey, Phoebe Bridgers, Emily Haines, Amy Winehouse, Heather Valley, Hayley Williams, Joss Stone, lifeandthetribe, POLICA to name a few. Sean has really excellent taste in music, he likes a lot of really cool bands, there are a bunch that he introduced me to actually, so that was a nice bonus of having him join the band [laughs]. Sean likes anything that’s got an experimental spirit. He loves rock n’ roll, but is very particular about it. He likes bands and artists that think outside the box like Pavement, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Strokes, Beck, Galaxie 500, Jesus & Mary Chain, The Replacements, The Byrds, a lot of bands like that.
FTS: What are some of your all-time favourite Canadian bands?
Burn The Louvre: Oh, this is an easy one because there are very few wrong answers here [laughs]. There are obviously so many great candidates, I grew up on a lot of The Guess Who & Neil Young thanks to my parents. Two of my favourite Canadian songwriters are Joel Plaskett and Sam Roberts, their work actually really helped inspire the sound on Silhouettes. But yeah I love all of our great Canadian music from genre to genre, to name a few: k-os, Shad, Alexisonfire, Protest The Hero, The Dirty Nil, PUP, Metric, Tokyo Police Club, Hollerado, Sam Roberts Band, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Arkells, The Beaches, I was a huge Sum 41 fan growing up…but honestly some of my absolute favourites are local independent artists like: Heather Valley, Silvertone Hills, Young Rival, Thomas Duxbury, lifeandthetribe, Captain Wildchild, The Ruddy Ruckus and again that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I feel we should be pretty proud of all the amazing music we have up here in Canada.
FTS: If all members of Burn The Louvre were superheroes, what would each of their powers be? And their superhero names?
Burn The Louvre: What an excellent question! So this is kind of funny, this girl commented on our promo photo that at first glance she thought Sean was Benedict Cumberbatch! Which I thought was awesome. I joked that he’s basically Dr. Strange because he’s a wizard with the guitar. So now, upon reading this question, I just can’t not see Sean as Dr. Strange right now [laughs]. Which would make sense because he kind of did create a Burn The Louvre multi-verse whereas the songs sound different on the album (which was mostly recorded in 2018) vs. how they sound now when we play them live.
Going along with this Marvel theme, Spider-Man was always my guy growing up. He was by far my favourite superhero and here’s why: I feel that even as an 8 year-old boy, I understood that here’s this guy fighting crime in New York City, he’s juggling school, a job and a girlfriend while he’s doing that and it’s not like he’s living large like Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark or some of these other superheroes are. So here’s an every man who’s fighting for the people because he’s one of us. If it’s in the cards, I would very much like to carve a career out in music with the same mentality because I definitely understand how hard it is juggling multiple responsibilities at once. One could argue that was Spider-Man’s greatest power of all (forget the Spider-Sense or the wall crawling & the web slinging). If I were a superhero I feel like I would want to be a poor man’s Spidey.
Check out “Nice Guy”, the latest single from Burn The Louvre!