Always Never is an RnB duo from Toronto, Canada, and consists of producer Dean Guilbault and Patric Kirschner, the vocals behind these “atmospheric” RnB tracks. This duo first met in early 2015 and the two began working on a collaboration called “Tragedy” that ultimately became their debut single. Originally known as The Always Never project – and the origin of the duo’s name – centres around the theme of contradiction, which is a theme in their lyrical content, inspired by real life experiences, particularly relationship, especially when those in relationships let you down: People who are Always, yet Never, there.
We caught up with Always Never on how they met, how the pandemic is treating them, and their recent virtual show, “See You Soon (A Cinematic Experience).”
Q: How did you two officially become a duo?
Dean: It pretty much started in 2015. I was in school for audio engineering, and I was working on a school project to create an original song. Part of what I had to do was reach out to singers to work with and I happened to find Pat on YouTube and we had some mutual friends through Facebook. It was basically a message saying, “do you want to work on something together and see what happens?” kind of thing – so we went from there and made this song called ‘Tragedy’ which ended up being our first song together. It started getting millions of plays on SoundCloud.
Q: That’s amazing!
D: We didn’t expect that at all. We had never experienced anything like that before. And then, we met in person for the first time after the song was out which is kind of a wild fact about it. From there because the reception was so big off the bat, we decided to keep making music together and get to know each other more. Pretty much the rest is history from there like we moved in together, we live in a condo together right now and just make all of our music there.
Q: And I love how you guys didn’t know each other in-person at first. You don’t really hear about that a lot. You know?
D: It’s a crazy thing but the internet is a wild place. It’s a modern love story of a band coming together, kind of thing [laughs.]
Q: What first got both of you into music?
Patric: I got back into music back in 2012, it started as a hobby. I started with producing and just making my own songs and then after a few years of that I ended up posting a song on the internet which is the one that Dean mentioned.
D: For me, I started making music when I was 12. I started playing drums, and guitar and stuff. I was in some bands growing up. It was just always in me to eventually do something with music, but I didn’t know it was possible until me and Pat had come together on that song and that was really a breaking moment for me. Like, this is definitely what I have to do.
Q: Who were some of your biggest musical inspirations growing up?
D: Metallica was a big one for me. I was really into metal for a while when I was younger. That actually influences a lot of the production I do today, it’s a lot of guitar driven stuff. At the same time, Kanye West was a huge inspiration. The really early stuff – like The College Dropout and Late Registration stuff.
Q: Great album.
D: Having both tastes in hip-hop and rock and metal fused an interesting approach that I took to music. Having those two together started to fuse things in ways that I didn’t expect.
P: My parents would always listen to 80s pop- I was really into that. I was also very much into rock music like Metallica and stuff like that. In high school, I got into hip-hop. Kid Cudi and Drake were the first artists that I found on that front and that inspired me to get into music more.
Q: I listened to your album, “Shadows in My Home” and loved the vibe so much. How would you describe that type of music you create?
D: When we started with ‘Tragedy’, we made this RnB sort of mixed with electronic and really spacey stuff like – atmospheric sounding RnB. We kind of just built off of that as we went and built off of ourselves. Our debut album had its certain moments and then for, Shadows in My Home, the focus of that was really growing to a next level from the first album. In terms of it sonically, it had a lot more variety than our first album. Some of it is like our classic “spacey, atmospheric style” but some of it is a bit more rock driven, I want to say.
P: Yeah, there’s a few songs on there for sure. We wanted to see what else we could do and how we could expand our sound without changing it too drastically, you know?
Q: What was the inspiration behind ‘Shadows in my Home?’
P: It’s kind of like reminiscing on past traumas. Like relationships or family stuff. It’s like looking back on that – “Shadows in My Home” right? It’s kind of the title in a way.
D: Yeah, and the title was important to us. We spent a long time really picking out the title particularly. “Shadows in My home” is supposed to be about regrets, or past memories that we don’t really want to think about but they’re still around us. It’s the memories that hang around you that are in your home and you can’t escape it. And sometimes it can be good memories or bad memories but it’s the super memorable stuff that you can’t get away from whether it’s good or bad.
Q: Do you have a song that resonates with you the most?
P: For me, I would have to say, ‘Fade Away’ and ‘Wylin’ speak to me the most.
D: ‘Fade Away’ was definitely a special song that we both knew had to be the intro to the project. It’s just so cinematic from front to back which is our favourite kind of stuff. It has really important lyrics in it and is a big part of the story. As soon as we finished the song, we knew it was special right away.
Q: We’re all living throughout a pandemic at the moment. I know for a lot of artists had to utilize platforms to still continue working. How has the pandemic affected your work as musicians?
D: In a positive way, if there was anything positive with the pandemic, we spent a lot more time at home and in our studio this year. We were able to focus in on the creative and really creating the music and making sure it’s the best that we can make. Otherwise, it would be thinking about shows and tours and a lot more events, or branding stuff. Things that are really apart from the music creation.
P: Yeah, it’s the inability to interact with fans. One of the best parts about doing shows was meeting people afterwards and that’s practically impossible now. So, we try to make up for it. We’ve done some Instagram Live and Q&As and stuff. We recently did a live performance we released on YouTube and a lot of our fans who have been missing the concerts went to that to kind of, fill the void of not being able to go to concerts.
Q: I wanted to talk about that virtual show and Q&A you did in February. Can you tell me a bit more about that experience and how that felt since you’re not touring in person right now?
D: It took us about five months to plan it. We filmed it back in November, it just took a really long time to put together.
P: It was one of the longest projects we’ve ever worked on.
D: Because we couldn’t be with our fans in person, we really wanted to bring it to their homes. And the main people we really wanted to connect with was anyone who’s been through hard times through the pandemic. We think especially for people who are really lonely and need a distraction or something to connect with. That was who we really wanted to see the show and feel like there were with us. We filmed the show in Stouffville, just outside of Toronto in a farmland. We shot it all in one day, it was different scenes for every song. We shot it in this empty mansion. It was a really cool experience, and the director we worked with is Justin Abernethy. He shot a music video for us for ‘Fade Away’ that was shot in the same day as well.
Q: Oh no way, that’s cool!
D: Yeah, we ended up shooting ‘Fade Away’ in the first four hours of the day and then we went on the entire virtual show for the rest of the day, so it was about a 14-hour day or something like that. Really hectic but somehow pulled it off. There was a blizzard that day too, so it was very exhausting but very worth it [laughs.]
Q: Of course, there had to be a blizzard.
D: Absolutely. It helped the video though; you just see this huge blizzard going on, so it looks really cool.
Q: If each of you only had one album to listen to for the rest of your life, what would it be?
P: I would probably choose Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city. That’s one album that I can always go back and listen to front to back.
D: For me, it’s Trap Soul by Bryson Tiller. I’ve played that album so many times back-to-back for so many years even though it’s not an old album or anything. For the last five years, I’ve been playing that all the time, I have to pick that one.
Q: What’s next for you two?
D: The biggest thing is, since we don’t really know what’s happening with the pandemic it’s hard to say when we can tour again but that’s something we’re hoping to get back into. Otherwise, it’s to keep releasing music. We’ve been releasing a lot of videos over the last year and that’s been important to us.
P: Yeah, that’s all we can do for now! [Laughs.] We’re optimistic but it’s hard to plan what’s next when we’re not too sure about what’s going on with the world.
You can stream the latest Always Never album Shadows in My Home on all available music streaming platforms now.
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