How two Langley musicians went from jamming in the basement to running a full-fledged business

Andrew Dixon and Conan Karpinski run both a production company and a band.

Credit: Courtesy of We Make Noise

Andrew Dixon (left) and Conan Karpinski, founders of group Soul Push and sound production outfit We Make Noise

Andrew Dixon and Conan Karpinski run both a production company and a band

The early days of Spotify were wild, at least if you were Andrew Dixon and Conan Karpinski. It was 2013, and the pair had been jamming (with friends Dallyn Hunt and Tim Morrison) under different band names for a few years. They had released an EP but didn’t take themselves too seriously.

Then the popular streaming service came to Canada. “One day, we were at a coffee shop and Spotify wasn’t really a thing; it was just released that day in Canada. We opened it up said, Let’s subscribe, and looked ourselves up out of curiosity,” Karpinski recalls. “One of our songs had a million streams. We were like, What? How does that even happen? Damn, let’s keep making more music, I guess.”

The quartet have held up that end of the bargain. Their band is now called Soul Push, and while they’ve yet to release a full-length album, they’ve churned out a plethora of successful singles and signed on with L.A. record label Riptide Music Group.

Dixon and Karpinski—who met after the latter’s family moved to Langley from South Africa when he was 15—have also gone out on their own by creating a production company aptly named We Make Noise. The Vancouver-based duo compose original scores for films, commercials and TV shows, as well as work on mixing, sound design and Foley (the reproduction of sound effects for film).

“We were just experimenting with how to make sound for so long, and after doing that for years, we tried things out and realized what works and what doesn’t,” Dixon says. “And with Foley, that’s something we sort of learned to do without realizing it. We had the opportunity to do that on a couple of projects and were like, Hell, yeah, we can do that.”

A recent example is the Telefilm-co-produced Portraits From a Fire by director Trevor Mack. Dixon and Karpinski created the score and all the music for the movie. “When people start with short films, the budget is super small, so you have to be creative,” Karpinski explains. “Whenever you hear someone hitting a punching bag or something like that, it’s not actually that. Usually it’s like a watermelon dropping, or a door slamming or something. It’s really odd, but it’s fun to try things out.”

Dixon and Karpinski have taken a similar approach with their band, constantly tinkering with different styles to create songs that are hard to pigeonhole. One of their more popular tunes is “Diamonds”, which draws instant comparisons to the Swedish band Miike Snow with its hip-hop drums, piano, and high-pitched vocals.

But then there are efforts reminiscent of groups like the Arkells (the rocking guitar and shouty chorus of “Youngblood”) and Glass Animals (the low-register drawl of “Body Is a Temple”).

“If we stuck to our ways, we’d just be four dudes, one guy on drums, two guitars and a bass—there’s only so much you can do with guitars, and there’s just so much rock music out there,” Karpinski says. “So it’s sort of like, why don’t we branch out and try some stuff we haven’t before? We still haven’t put out our first album, so there’s time to throw things at the wall and see what we’re enjoying.”

With more than 100,000 monthly Spotify listeners, they have time on their side.