Nerd-rock band sings about science in support of museum learning programs
An Ottawa-based rock band will sing about artificial intelligence during a fund-raising concert for the Ingenium Foundation on March 2.
The band – Double Experience – performs an array of songs with a focus on science and technology themes. The upcoming show is a song release party for their latest single, AI Freaks Me Out.
“We consider ourselves a rock band with a nerdy slant,” explains vocalist and front man Ian Nichols. “We wrote this song because the rise of AI kinda freaks us out a little bit; we sing songs about science fiction – we look at what’s going on in the tech world and what excites us about that – and that’s what led to this specific show happening.”
Nichols says he and guitarist Brock Tinsley discussed the idea of a partnership with the Ingenium Foundation, and felt it was an ideal fit for Double Experience.
“We were looking for ideas for releasing AI,” says Nichols. “We like to think local, and we thought, ‘How cool would it be to partner with the Science and Tech Museum?’”
Double Experience will perform at LIVE! On Elgin, located at 220 Elgin Street (above the Dunn’s restaurant). Advance tickets are now available online, and a limited number of tickets will be sold at the door for $10. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to the Ingenium Foundation – a national, non-profit organization that supports programs and projects across Canada’s three national museums of science and innovation. Proceeds from this event will support STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) learning programs at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.
“I grew up going to all of those museums as a kid,” recalls Nichols, who grew up in Orleans. “My mom was a babysitter, so in the summertime she’d get a pass and we’d go to all the museums.”
Nichols says that while he loved all of Ottawa’s museums, he definitely favoured the Canada Science and Technology Museum.
“The Science and Tech was always the most exciting as a kid,” he says. “They had a virtual hockey game where you’d stand in front and keep pucks from going in. Plus, as a kid I always loved space – I loved to sit in the little space capsule they had.”
Growing up, Nicols says both he and Tinsley – who grew up in Brockville – had a strong interest in comic books and all things “nerdy.”
“We’re kindof nerds outside of the whole music realm; we collect comic books, and Brock is a huge movie buff so he collects movie memorabilia,” says Nicols. “We grew up playing Pokemon; I love Star Wars and Star Trek. We’re kindof quiet and unassuming guys outside of playing in a rock band – so that kindof peppered our world view and has influenced our music.”
In recent years, however, Nicols says he has watched things like comic books explode into mainstream culture more than ever.
“Talking about comic books doesn’t happen inside of comic book stores anymore – it happens inside a pub; it’s no longer a niche thing,” says Nicols. “It’s never been cooler to be uncool; you see the rise in pop culture with things that were previously uncool – Pop Expo in Toronto, Ottawa Comiccon, Montreal Comiccon – they’re seeing record attendance and every year they’re rising.”
Attendees of the event on March 2 can expect to enjoy a full night of entertainment, says Nicols. Two other bands – Dube and F8-Bit – will also perform that night.
“F8-Bit is a jazz band that does video game covers,” enthuses Nicols. “Take Sonic – they’ll cover songs that are in the Sonic repertoire, or they’ll play Super Mario Brothers – they rework it for jazz which is really cool.”
Artificial intelligence will be the prevailing theme throughout the evening, and band members will interact with the audience to discuss their thoughts on AI – and why it freaks them out.
“We’re working on setting up a video games corner,” says Nicols. “I’m trying to track down human-versus-AI style video games to fit with the theme.”
Double Experience has performed hundreds of shows around the world, and is frequently heard on Rebel 101.7 in Ottawa.
Watch the official video for The Pilot, a song about space travel and adventure.