double magnum interview: on their writing process and the canadian music scene
by anissa dimilta
double magnum is an alt-rock band based in ottowa, canada. double magnum is composed of four brothers: nicolas(vocals/bass), maxime(vocals/guitar), alexis(drums), and felix boivin(guitar). anissa had the chance to sit down with them to talk about so much including their debut album and driving from canada to jacksonville, florida! check out the links below to download double magnum.
hey guys! how is florida? do you like jacksonville?
max: yes, yes! we’ve had a lot of fun so far.
nic: it’s warm!
alexis (al): the first thing that strikes when you land here is probably that it’s very warm and humid.
very humid, all the time! especially this week because you guys came while it’s raining. a couple of weeks ago it was nice! so, what made you guys decide to start making music together? was it something that runs in the family?
nic: so how we started was that we all live in the same house because we’re all brothers and uh, one day our mother decided to sign us up for music classes. then we all started playing our own instrument because it wasn’t the plan to be a band. our interests were in different instruments. max and i started playing guitar, al started playing drums, and felix started playing the piano. we just sort of said, “oh, that’s enough to make a band!” we decided to just write songs and try to perform them together!
how long have you guys been doing it together?
nic: seriously together, for maybe a year. we used to do lots of shows, even eight years ago we would do lots of shows together! we would do little shows here and there and even one or two big shows. almost three years ago we started recording the album that’s on the internet right now and it took us almost two years to complete it, to release it. once we released it we started making it a serious thing. now, we do it as much as we can since september of 2017.
that album is really good by the way! who are some of your inspirations, as a group and individually?
max: well, it’s a pretty classic answer, but of course the beatles are a big influence for us. i think especially an influence for us to start writing because when we first started writing the beatles was one of the bands we were listening to the most. individually, we listen to a lot of different music. i’m a big john mayer fan and i also love rock bands like billy talent.
nic: in our music, we sometimes want softer sounds like benjamin francis leftwich - he is not super well known, but he’s really one of our biggest inspirations when it comes to softer music. we also love james bay and when it comes to our more punk-rocker style we like bands like blink-182, sum 41, billy talent. i think one of our main focuses when we write our music is never to write a song that’s not even a little bit the same! because of that our inspirations go a little all over the place and we try to make them all come together in something that’s an experience from beginning to end when you listen to it
max: also, a little bit of hip-hop here and there. especially in the newer things. maybe this is an answer for a little later on, but we just released a new single that’s a little more jazz, hip-hopish.
i noticed that! it was definitely really different from the album; the album was more pop-rock and then “cascade” was jazzy. i liked it! you guys sang in french, it was cool and different!
nic: yeah! thank you!
what’s your writing process like? do you all of you write the lyrics and music or do some of you write the lyrics and some the music? how does that work?
max: well the writing process is a little different for every song. we don’t have one single process that we use every time. it depends on the inspiration, how it happens.
nic: the new album we recorded three weeks ago that is going to release probably in the summer according to us was probably our most developed writing process. since we released the first album we’ ve all had time to think of little beginnings and that's usually where we start. we all had our own melody or guitar lick and so what we did was at the beginning of the month of may, we locked ourselves in our cottage way up north in canada for a week and we wrote six songs!! with that we had our album.
where are you guys from in canada?
nic: uh, we’re from the ottowa region. it’s a pretty bilingual region in canada, so that’s why we sing in both languages.
it’s useful! it gives you a bigger audience!
nic: yeah, exactly!
how would you describe your music to new listeners? what’s your sound? i mean, i guessed you guys kind of talked about that with one of your albums being more rock-ish.
max: i guess the one word that kind of covers it all is alternative rock. i think that’s-
nic: it’s an easy inclusion. we try to make it as pop as possible without making it something that we don’t want to write. so yeah, probably rock alternative, but then a little bit of jazz. it’s the hardest thing because, for example, when you submit a song to iTunes or any promoters they usually ask you the type of music you play. especially, iTunes because if you’re not one genre you cannot submit your album! it’s always harder to describe the kind of music we do. So i would say that rock alternative is the easiest as a genre and if i could explain it would be lyrical based, melodic, guitar driven… you could go on!
a little bit of everything! if you were to pick one song off your debut album which one would be the best representation of your sound?
nic: okay, let’s all say one at the same time. let’s see if we get the same one…..1,2,3…
everyone: *incoherent song titles*
haha! okay, now everyone individually.
max: *points to al* we both said “head on collision”.
al: yeah, i think it’s just because our sound is evolving as the band is growing and we are playing more and more together and we notice what we like and what we don’t like. we experimented in that first album in so many different genres and let’s say “head on collision”, which is the first song of the album, it has this unpredictability and it also has that drive and that sort of more rockish vibe to it. when we move on, one thing that we try to keep as like the soul of all our songs is that little unpredictability in the song and the fact that you may never know what’s gonna happen, but still it makes you move. it’s nice to play live and stuff. i think that’s one thing that is not necessarily the dominant part of the first album, but it will certainly be very important in the next one.
nic: i chose “flies in berlin” because i think for the same reason as “head on collision”, but even more because in “flies in berlin” there’s like super soft parts. there’s also softer parts in our debut album, like “serenade” and “songs for jane”. then there’s the chorus or bridge that’s more rock and roll in “flies in berlin” and uh, that’s really what rock alternative, i think, is about. it’s like taking rock and alternating it, like that’s really what it means!
felix: i agree with nic more because of pretty much what he explained. what they said is a little more rock and general music… but it’s more in the middle.
what are some of your goals for the rest of 2018?
max: we want to release our second album and we also have a tour planned in the maritimes in canada for august so we’re working on that. we’re participating in a few contests in our region so for the rest of this summer we’re dedicated to the band! we’ll just see where this takes us for the rest of 2018.
nic: we definitely want to come back to jacksonville. we had only two shows, but from what we’ve learned, people could like our music other than where we live. that’s a nice thing to experience and for that we will come back. It’s very far away so it’s hard to organize that often, but we will come back, we are sure of that!
i’m glad! i’ll come see you then, definitely! what’s the music scene like where you guys are from?
max: where in the ottowa region, but we’re close to montreal as well and it’s a pretty active scene and it’s only growing. when we talk to our teachers or mentors they keep telling us, “oh, twenty years ago there was all these shows,” and i think it’s coming back. a lot of bars are now open to live bands. i think it’s expanding and growing and there’s more and more room for indie bands like us. it’s exciting to see that! it’s still a struggle to find venues every week, it’s getting there though!
what inspired your self-titled album?
nic: that first album was a much longer process than the album we recorded a few weeks ago because it was our first one. from all our songs we have written in the past we wanted to take our best six or seven songs and put them in an album that would describe us in the best way. i like to say that in the meaning of the songs - it’s kind of cheesy - i like to describe it as the ups and downs of love and life. we try to write about deeper things, i mean love and life are pretty deep, but deeper things than that. we want every song to have a specific message, which can sometimes be a good one or a bad one. usually that’s what inspires us; love, life, lovelife, the struggles of real life. that’s what we try to convey in our songs.
what do you feel is the best song you’ve released and why?
max: oh, well since they’re all so different i think that it’s hard to say. i think that in the new album coming, “cascade” is on that album, that’s the best material we’re going to release. it’s a boring answer, but wait and see! the next album will have the song that’s the best one we’ve released. if i had to answer now, i would say “cascade” because of the process behind it and the way released it. we released it with a video and we are starting to think about those little details that takes the song to the next level! so, “cascade”, but dot dot dot. that’s my answer!
felix: i feel like it really depends on how you are feeling in the moment you listen to the album that changes which song you prefer.
i don’t know if you guys do anything other than the band, but if you were not a musician what would you be doing?
nic: during my pastime i am a law student. i study law in ottowa and i finished my second year in law in april! i’m taking the summer off for the band and then i’m starting again in september. so, i would probably be a lawyer i guess!! i have a bachelors degree in biology so i really like biology as well. i think right now, if it wasn’t for music i would probably be in some corporate law firm, which is not as exciting as being in jacksonville for the first time playing music, but law is a very interesting occupation. if i could take music and law and put them together and make something out if it, that would be perfect!
felix: i’m actually more of a skier.
max: he’s in an elite team in canada!
felix: i spend most of my time away on ski trips or training somewhere in the world. there’s not much else i do.
that’s exciting though! your two hobbies are exciting!
al: i am about to go into design at university in montreal. during my regular job life i mostly take pictures for bars, venues, that stuff… sort of like what you do, but not focused on bands.
max: if it wasn’t for the band i think i would still be a musician, but like a hired gun where if other bands need a musician or a sub. i’m currently finishing my bachelors degree for music in montreal.
you guys are really fun! do you think being related makes it easier to be in a band?
felix: we’ve been doing this forever and yes, sometimes we get into arguments, but we’re brothers and we’re always gonna have to be together the next day! whatever happens, we’re family!it brings us closer.
nic: it also lets us be one hundred percent honest. i’ve been in other bands before where someone has an idea and you want to stay nice so you say, “okay, maybe i’m not gonna tell them that.. i’ll just go with his idea,” even though i would think something different. with us, we don’t let that happen because we know each other so well and we can say “let’s change it up.” of course we listen to each other, but i think being completely true to each other is one of our strengths and being brothers makes that even easier.
al: also, the logistics of the whole thing you know? nic’s in law school, max lives in montreal, and we live in the ottowa area. so just the practices are very hard for us, but it’s only doable because we’re brothers. if we weren’t brothers we couldn’t spend as much time as we do doing the band and doing other stuff, like law and music school.
last question, if you could play anywhere in the world - any venue, any city - where would you play?
nic: a bunch of questions we’ve never had before, she asks nice questions! if i could go anywhere in the world - not taking into account playing in that place - i would say japan! it’s a culture that i have no idea about and if i could go there - even with the band - and show that culture what we do and if they like it would be awesome. it would be a very good experience of discovering. my dream venue is probably paris or new york. playing in one of those cities would be a dream come true. well, every show we do is a dream come true because that’s what we want to do. as far as it takes us, we’ll be happy!
max: there’s also a legendary spot, red rocks. it’s somewhere in the u.s. i’m not sure! for me, it would probably be red rocks because being the guitar player, i’m always on youtube and all of the legendary guitar players i’ve seen have all played at red rocks. if one day i get to play at red rocks, i’m up there with them!!
al: for me, it’s new york for sure! yeah, a nice show in new york.
felix: well for skiing i’ve traveled to europe a few times and i’ve traveled through a bunch of little villages and thinking of being with my brothers, playing and just traveling that would probably be the best thing i could think of.
click the links below to download their debut album on different streaming platforms: