As kids, the three brothers in the modern rock trio Dubé set out to make the world a better place. Known then as the band Brothers Dubé, they used their talent and their public profile for philanthropic pursuits. Now—still with their hearts in the right places—they’re harnessing their talent to make career-defining music. On Dubé’s latest EP, OK, the trio defies genre categorization in favor of songcraft and a fingerprint aesthetic.
“Music isn’t a hobby anymore. We live under the same roof, operate as a team, and put all our time into the band,” lead vocalist/bassist Jan Dubé explains. “This album is us—we found our sound.”
It’s a profound statement for a band that already has an impressive resume. It’s even more powerful considering the band’s ages are all under 20—Jan is 17 , Liam, guitar, is 19, and Quinn, drums, is 15. The Ottawa, Canada-based trio has been inspired by Kings of Leon, Radiohead, Nirvana, The Neighbourhood, and Nothing But Thieves, among others. The trio has performed nationally and internationally. Select live appearance highlights include tours of Europe, shows in New York, Nashville, and festivals such as Bluesfest, Osheaga, and the Montreal Pop Festival. In addition, Dubé has performed onstage with Arcade Fire, The Beach Boys, Seaun Paul, Tom Cochrane, Ky-Mani Marley, Great Big Sea, Hollerado, Valdy and many more.
Dubé has garnered press accolades from a broad cross section esteemed outlets including Ottawa Citizen, Globe and Mail, Toronto Sun,, Me2We, among others. In addition, the group’s music has been featured on the soundtracks of hit Canadian television shows like Degrassi.
Dubé’s latest, OK, is loosely tied together with a conceptual bend represented by the EP’s title. Jan explains it this way: “The theme of nature is a big part of the album. When you’re in nature—or really in touch with nature—you get this feeling that everything is going to be alright, everything is okay.”
The Dubé boys grew up surrounded by music, and began their careers when they were six, eight, and ten years old. Their father is a musician, and has videos of the guys in the back of the car rocking out to Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine and John Hartford. To this day, dad still sometimes jams with the guys. Early on, roles weren’t defined, and each Dubé brother had a chance to experiment and find the instrument they felt passionate about and excelled at. Over time, the band coalesced into a proper power trio, and the guys began to focus on developing musical chops as a collective unit. Learning songs not only helped whip the guys into shape, but it also taught them song structure. Milestones of learning favorite classic rock tunes like Black Dog and YYZ came and went, and soon the guys found themselves writing their own music.
It would be a tragedy in 2008 that galvanized the boys to take their music seriously. When they learned their mother was terminally ill, they began to record her favorite songs and post them on YouTube to lift her spirits. After her passing, they sought solace in busking and performing wherever they could. They soon became fixtures on the streets of Ottawa, highly regarded as “Canada’s Youngest Rock Band.” One powerful story from this formative time is when the guys performed on the sidewalk outside of the 2010 Bluesfest. Arcade Fire had just finished their big stage set and saw the boys across the street playing their hearts out and jumped onstage with them.
The brothers inherited a strong sense of social responsibility from their grandmother who raised money and hosted benefits. The guys merged their music pursuits with activism and ended up raising $200,000 for such causes as Haitian Orphans, Canadian food banks and breast cancer. The trio has earned plaudits and awards for their efforts including receiving the United Way’s Community Builder of the 2011 award, The Heart of Gold Award, a commendation from the Prime Minister of Canada, and a nomination for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and Governor General's Award. The trio have also delivered talks at TEDx and WeDay.
On the brink of releasing the new EP, and embracing a fresh era as the artistically assured band Dubé, Jan says: “It’s so meaningful to be able to say we are releasing something that is a 100% us. We’ve been dreaming about reaching this musical level since we started.” Liam chimes in: “The chance to share with people your authentic self through your art is the opportunity of a lifetime and something we take very seriously and take a lot of pride in.”