Double Experience
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Double Experience

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF | AFM

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Hard Rock




"How a Fully DIY Band Has Booked Over 500 Shows in 16 Countries: Advice From Double Experience"

Your brand is your story, and for musicians, having a story that resonates is what it's all about.

Look at Pink Floyd's experimental narrative: they went from a typical British rock band (of the time) to one of the world's most innovative groups. The Grateful Dead took jazz improvisation, simplified it, and applied it to rock music, all while amassing one of the most dedicated fanbases of all time. Their fans call themselves "Deadheads" and wear the token tie-dye shirts. They belong to a community, built around the band's story.

And today, we have up-and-coming bands like nerdy neo-rockers Double Experience from Ottawa who embrace what makes them unique and share that story with their fans. What makes them unique? Well, for one, after their shows, they give out their gamer tags to their fans to connect with them!

Through Sonicbids, they've performed on some huge stages like Toronto's Indie Week Canada in 2015 and, more recently, FOCUS Wales. And through their own independent efforts, they've booked over 500 shows in 16 different countries. We spoke with the band's bassist/vocalist, Ian Nichols, about how they've built their following around the idea of being "a nerd."

You describe Double Experience as a "nerdy rock band." Tell us more about what that means. Does the "nerdy" adjective help set you apart when describing your music?
We're a fairly nerdy bunch of guys: comic books, video games, memorabilia, and science fiction are huge parts of our personal experience. As songwriters, it's important that we're honest in our creative process, so we write what we know and experience, and our experience is nerd culture.

I'd suggest that, if anything, using the tag “nerd rock” allows us to preempt a follow-up question. If you just state “rock band,” the follow-up question is always, “Well, what kind of rock band are you: alternative, post, grunge, classic rock?” You can't just be a rock band today, so it allows us to say that we're a simple band who like to serve up the sweet riffs with a side of dorkiness.

Take Weezer, for example. They're kings of nerd rock, but they're simply a rock band; their perspective is just what life is like from the inside of the locker they just got shoved into. Our perspective isn't too far off from that, perhaps using more imaginative imagery.

We hear over and over that building your brand is one of the most important things you can do as a band, and Double Experience is a prime example of staying on brand. What are some specific tactics you've used to build your unique brand and identity?
Branding is everything. Most importantly, what we do starts with our music. It's the only way that our message can be authentic. From there, everything else is a logical step.

A very specific example would be surrounding a video game called Destiny. We've been playing this game since release day, and I'm not ashamed to say it's become a sort of addiction for our band. It has had such an impact on our lives that we were inspired to write a song about it called “The Glimmer Shot,” which, when released, got picked up via the game developer and pushed through the community, resulting in 200k+ views on our videos for it.

Furthermore, [it] created a huge spike in Spotify plays, social media follows, merch orders, and the like. We had no expectations that this song would do that for our band; we just wanted to pay homage to a game that allowed us to dream, and it resonated with the community.

Branding should be the coming together of your music, image, merch, and message. It's the story you want to tell. We've released music on trading cards, had records housed in video game cases, we've played in pinball arcades, video game stores, and museums. We even encourage fans to show up to our shows in their best cosplay. It all comes together to create this one big package of a nerdy rock band and brand that is “Double Experience.”

[8 Ways to Build and Strengthen Your Band's Brand]

How do you think your interaction with your fans is different than, say, a more "normal" band?
The world is so connected now via social media that interactions with your fans can't start and stop the night of the gig. Even Facebook and Twitter are old news, especially in a world where bands en masse are crowdfunding records by offering exclusive one-on-one pizza nights, in-home concerts, and the like.

The most direct way we get to interact with fans outside of the actual music aspect would be through gaming. At every show, we try and give our gamer tags to fans so they can play video games with us through PSN and Xbox Live. That mode of interaction is extremely rewarding for us because it lets us talk directly with fans about things that aren't necessarily about music, yet still allows us to have that artist-fan interaction that's so important today.

The nerd world spawns high numbers of diehard fans of franchises, and we've been lucky enough to receive that same level of support from a lot of our fans, which is extremely encouraging. Fans want to buy into what you're doing, and having a strong identity goes a long way in allowing them to feel part of your world.

[How to Build a Stronger Fanbase: Connect What You Do Online and Offline]

We're incredibly impressed with your DIY work ethic, independently booking over 500 shows across 16 countries. Walk us through your gig-booking process, from the very beginning stages of planning to when you come home from a tour.
First off, thank you – we work really hard at what we do. As a DIY band, you need to get organized. Having a plan and seeing it through is extremely important, even if you have to make adjustments as you go.

I had a great discussion with a radio tracker a few months back about the tour-booking process, and his summation was this: “The difference between most independent bands vs. bands on labels when it comes to touring is the level of organization. Good labels know exactly what their artist is going to be doing three, six, nine months out, and they stick to that plan.”

So if you, as an independent band, want to achieve your booking goals, it's good to plan where you're going to be and when as far out as you can in order to ensure that you have enough time to book it yourself, which is where our process begins.

As an example, let's say in six months' time we're planning to tour Canada. So four months out, we need to start booking the venues and finding bands. A quick internet search should help identify the places to play (if you're unfamiliar with the area), and then a slew of emails followed by phone calls should get the desired results (and if not, keep calling until you get through to the booker.)

Leading up to the tour announcement, we get all of the relevant media prepared: posters, videos, social media posts, etc. And then about a month out, we'll announce. Just before the tour starts, we organize all the dates into a schedule and reconnect with the bookers to ensure everything is still good.

Then comes the tour: the driving, the loading in, the waiting, the rocking performance, the tearing down, the sleeping, and then doing it all again the next day. It's the grind that all of us as musicians crave more than anything else, and not enough words can bring it justice – go out and experience it for yourself.

When the tour is done, we like to come home and handle all of the post-tour jobs: merch inventory, accounting, van cleaning... all the things I never thought of when I started singing in bands as a kid. Once those jobs are done, where possible, we take a week off to decompress and then start the process all over again.

Having been so successful as a DIY band, are there ever temptations to put all of the non-music work in someone else’s hands, such as a big label or management company?
We absolutely love being DIY; it's a great way to separate your band from a lot of the bands who are just waiting around wondering why they haven't been signed yet. You have to make things happen for yourself before anyone else gives a damn. That's our mantra. Why would anyone external to us invest their time, money, and resources into our band if we aren't the ones who are giving it all of ours first?

I think that's the reality of the music industry today. There isn't “the man” with a million-dollar check saying, "Go be rock stars.” “The man” is waiting to see that you're working extremely hard, that you're creating a buzz for yourself, and that your songs are good. There is no shortcut if you want a lasting career.

We're definitely open to working with labels, agents, and managers; they help scale your hard work up. With that said, we're so invested in our band that I'm not sure we could just hand it all over and pretend it doesn't exist anymore. We'd still be very much in communication with our team to ensure the running of things is going smoothly.

Through Sonicbids, you were selected to perform at the prominent FOCUS Wales Festival. How was your experience there in comparison to other shows you’ve played?
We've done a few development conferences in Canada, and they really make you understand how many facets of the industry are interrelated. FOCUS Wales was a great opportunity for our band to understand the UK side of the industry. We've self-booked tours of the UK in the past, and we've previously played in Wrexham, which was where the conference was hosted. We've always had a great response there, but playing FOCUS was absolutely ridiculous.

We played in a great venue called Rewind, and it was absolutely rammed. It was so full of people that concertgoers had to stand outside of the room halfway down a wrapping staircase just to catch our set, which as a musician, was something dreams are made of. We linked that show into a larger tour of the British Isles, and it was absolutely one of the highlights of that trip and certainly the best Wrexham show we've had to date.

Once you found out you were selected for FOCUS Wales, what did you do to prepare for it?
I look at development festivals as the perfect opportunity for bands to expose themselves to a ton of industry people in a short amount of time. When you consider that for the length of the festival all of the speakers, panelists, and other industry reps are there to see live music, you may as well do your homework and identify who could possibly help your band grow. Reach out to them before the festival on any medium you possibly can, and don't take no for an answer.

So many bands assume that because their appearance is called a “showcase,” there must be industry people waiting to see them play, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Normally, there's so much going on, no one is going to accidentally show up at your showcase. You need to tell them, “Hey! We exist, and our set is the can't-miss event of this festival.” Which is what we did.

It was time-consuming doing all that research into the entire industry roster, but I managed to set up several meetings, had industry folks come out to our showcase, and I exposed Double Experience to a ton of tastemakers who have the ability to help our band grow. It was worth every moment of time spent promoting our band in the weeks prior to that appearance. - Sonic Bids

"Double Experience "So Fine""

Ottawa nerd-rock outfit Double Experience are gearing up to release their sophomore album this spring, and they have shared a taste of what's to come ahead of time with "So Fine."

Taken from the band's forthcoming full-length Unsaved Progress, the record's leading single checks all the boxes of a modern rock smash. The soaring vocals of Ian Nichols are bolstered by the thunderous drums of Dafydd Cartwright and the punchy riffing of guitarist Brock Tinsley, highlighting a huge, hooky chorus.

Speaking of the track, Tinsley explains, "Each line of the chorus correlates to one of five periodic elements that spell out the song title. Usually, topics like 'chemistry' and 'rock music' belong in very distant universes from each other. Being able to connect our music to these topics was a fun exercise in mischief that became the basis for our whole album."

Unsaved Progress is slated to arrive on April 8 through Colfax Music, but until then, take a listen to "So Fine" in the player below. - Exclaim

"CD Review: Double Experience - Unsaved Progress"

This has to be the craziest listening experience I can recall in years. First of all, follow along with me here; the press surrounding this release specifically calls it “Neo-Nerd Rock”. Okay, I’m not sure if anyone with a brain in the music industry even knows what the fuck that is other than some stupid, hipster way to create a new music genre for untalented assholes to “fit in” and peddle their public dumpster equivalent pablum to whoever gives a shit! In most cases, this kind of garbage wouldn’t even get a split-second glance from me, but since this particular P/R representative has been sending us some pretty cool shit as of late, I decided to give it a listen and I’m literally punishing myself tonight with a terrible frozen, microwave dinner for having such a close-minded view of what “Neo-Nerd Rock” could ever be.

This is clearly of Educated Stoner intellect (think Queens Of The Stone Age & Weezer getting gang-raped by Kings-X and Porcupine Tree) and bursting with vocal brushstrokes of fellow Canadian 80’s AOR standouts Honeymoon Suite. You’d be super hard-pressed to find anything released in the past decade that’s gonna scratch that more melody friendly Tool meets QOTSA (perfect example: check out the fantastic cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla”!) itch we all get from time to time. Some may experience a bit of a slow warmup to bassist and lead vocalist Ian Nichols’ semi-helium injected pipes, but I was able to start digging it pretty easily and early on, but I’m sure that’s because it harkens some of my favorite 80’s era bands. Double bonus points for the album for showcasing, the virtually unknown bloke with the weird name, Dafydd Cartwright, whose drumming lights this album up on almost every track, most notably his stellar groove in “Exposure, Exposure”. If you’re looking for something really fun, heavy on hooks and cool guitar licks, and where each track doesn’t take a lot of attention to enjoy, this is a standalone ringer for what ails you, my friend. Drop the needle, inhale, and let me know where YOU ended up! Hits stores and cyber-outlets on Friday, April 8th via Colfax Music. Very Highly Recommended. - Some Kind of Media

"Album of the Day - Double Experience: Unsaved Progress"

One of the perks to doing Love is Pop is that people send me links to all sorts of promotional music downloads that they’d like me to review. The only trouble is that I’m only impressed by about 20% of them. But of those 20 percent, an awful lot of them are things that I never would have even heard of if I wasn’t doing Love is Pop, so its worth sifting through the dirt to get to those gold nuggets. Double Experience’s Unsaved Progress is such a band and their new album, Unsaved Progress, is superb. It’s like Fall Out Boy meets Queens of the Stone Age meets Dead Letter Circus. (It’s also as catchy as scabies, though it gives you an itch that is mighty enjoyable to scratch.) Frontman Ian Nichols’ voice is a dead ringer for Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump and they also share their incredible hooks. The rhythm section, provided by Brock Tinsley, who plays bass and guitars on the album (Ian plays bass live), and drummer Dafydd Cartwright, is where the Queens of the Stone Age influence comes into play. But Brock’s intricate guitar work and the lyrics, which he writes with Ian, have a modern if not futuristic edge that reminds me of Dead Letter Circus. In other words, if Dead Letter Circus covered a Fall Out Boy song in the style of Queens of the Stone Age, this is what you’d get. You could also say it’s like Silverchair covering Weezer. Comparisons aside, the way Double Experience combines all of these elements results in a sound that’s instantly familiar but rather original at the same time. You might feel like you’ve heard opening songs like practically pop rock “SOFINe” and “AAA” before, but you’d be hard pressed to name another band that combines all of these elements so well. Meanwhile, the album’s later songs are considerably less pop rock and more like heavy metal with “Death of Lucidity” being the best song Iron Maiden hasn’t written in years and their cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla” having a mammoth sound that’s like the original version but on steroids. All in all, it’s good time music done seriously and a whole lot of fun at that. Something music nerds and casual pop fans can agree on for a change. - Love Is Pop

"VIDEO REVIEW - Unsaved Progress - Double Experience"

Sometimes you encounter a band that moves you so much, you’re forced to create a really cheesy, embarrassing video in their honor! That’s my excuse, anyway, for this video review for Unsaved Progress, the third release by Canadian nerdy neo-rockers, Double Experience, due out April 8, 2016. Chocked with 9 tracks (plus an additional 4 if you purchase the Collector’s Edition) of stunning material, the guys have really outdone themselves. - Video Review - Target Audience Magazine

"Double Experience Live in Montreal"

Sometimes, small venues with very few attendees tend to get the better hand on artists performances. Less energy, lack of interest, poor interaction between musicians and the public, alcohol abuses in the worst cases, etc. Last Sunday when showing up to the gig, the thought of witnessing one of those nights crossed my mind for an instant. Even though the table seemed to be set for it, we were served with a diametrically opposed approach from the Ottawa based band. Double Experience hit the stage in an almost stadium fashion.

Big sound, heavy grooves and powerful riffs were there for the taking (even for people playing the lottery machines in the back). With total professionalism, outstanding musicianship and genuine interactions between the band and the crowd. While watching the show through my different lenses, I had to ask myself: “Who are these guys? How come I had never heard of them?” Well, hard to say especially when I realized afterwards everything that they had accomplished since 2011. Multiple Canadian, American and European tours as well as three studio albums, one of which is due to be released on April 8th entitled, Unsaved Progress. Also to be noted, a couple of dates in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in April before their inverted British invasion from May 3rd to the 29th. Meanwhile, I suggest you do like I did, and look for them on the web (links below) and show up to the gig next time they play in your area. (even if it’s a small venue…) - Canadian Beats

"Canadian Beats"

Double Experience is a heavy rock band from Ottawa, Ontario, formerly known as Colfax. The band consists of Ian Nichols (Vocals), Brock Tinsley (Guitar), Tim Kealey (Bass) .

Want to find more out about this awesome Canadian band? Well this is your chance, as I’ve been able to conduct an email interview with the guys. Keep reading to find out more. - Canadian Beats

"Double Experience wrap up Ontario Tour"

Video game rock nerds ‘Double Experience’ are wrapping their Ontario tour dubbed “Rated M For MaTour” in Kingston on Saturday, May 31st at The Mansion.

The tour is in promotion of this summer’s release of their upcoming album ‘721835‘ on August 1st – the follow up to the band’s 2011 EP, ‘One Big Quicksand‘. - Kingston Herald

"Exclusive Summer 2014 UK Tour Recap from Guitarist Brock Tinsley"

Canadian neo-rock nerds Double Experience recently spent their Summer not only touring the USA, but also headed across the pond and, this past August, recently wrapped up their third UK tour (dates below). Entitled the L.A.R.P. Tour (The Live Action Rock Performance Tour) the band performed three weeks of show dates across England, Scotland and Ireland in promotion of their new album 721835 released on August 1st and recorded by fellow science-fiction aficionado Al Jacob (He is Legend, A Skylit Drive) - PureGrain Audio

"Double Experience and Iconoclast entertain the crowd at Zaphod’s"

Sometimes when you head out to a show, you are treated to something a little unexpected. That was the case this weekend when I headed out to Zaphods to catch a show with Double Experience and Iconoclast.

The energy on display was both entertaining and infectious. I just love it when you see a band bounce around on stage, totally lost in their performance. You’re lucky when you get it from one band, but with 2 in the same night, that just makes for a memorable show. - Spotlight Ottawa


"Unsaved Progress" (2016)
So Fine
The Glimmer Shot
See You Soon
Exposure Exposure
Death of Lucidity
Weakened Warriors
721835 (2014)
Strange Acquaintance
Horror Beyond Imagination
Wolf in the Ewe
Congratulations on Second Place 
Here's Y
Destiny Chile
Who The Hell
One Big Quicksand (2011)
P (as in Pneumonia) 
Sweet Smoke
Mojave, Mo Problems
Away With Words
iLa Pistola!



Double Experience play on the hardest difficulty settings the music industry has to offer. Since 2014, Double Experience have logged hundreds of performances across 16 countries with no additional power-ups provided by external agencies or labels. From the BBC Introducing Stage to Global TV, their global rock takeover is palpable. Their recent album, “Unsaved Progress” (recorded with Al Jacob and Kit Walters) was released on April 8, 2016 and reached #6 on Canada's National Loud Chart backed by critical-acclaim from international rock and metal press.

Double Experience's affinity for all things nerdy have found the band releasing their music on collectible trading cards, performing at video game museums, and encouraging show attendees to join the band in competitive video-games and cosplay. It's no wonder, then, that Ian Nichols (vocals, bass) and Brock Tinsley (guitar) exercise their multiplayer tendencies both in studio and onstage. Some formal collaborations include Fred Mascherino (TAKING BACK SUNDAY, TERRIBLE THINGS) and Steve Bache (HE IS LEGEND).

Recently, their song Destiny rock anthem “The Glimmer Shot” garnered praise and in-game rewards from Bungie, the developers of the game. This match-making between video games and Double Experience music had previously been realized when the band penned theme music for “The Legend of Thunder”, a YouTube personality with over 130 million channel views as of 2017. Double Experience have now begun to share their story via music industry conventions (IndieWeek) as well as ComicCon (Montreal/Ottawa) and GuardianCon to the next wave of bands who will take control of their own destinies.

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