Following last year’s acclaimed album KIN and November’s EP Serenade, The Duke Spirit march on with poignant new album Sky Is Mine, released on August 18th (2017) via Ex Voto Records.
Produced by the band themselves, and mixed by Bruno Ellingham (Massive Attack), it also features guest vocals by long time friends Josh T Pearson (Lift to Experience) on the woozy ‘How Could, How Come’, and Duke Garwood on album closer ‘Broken Dream’.
On Sky Is Mine each song approaches, revises, steps back and looks for humanity on a planetary scale. From the shimmering melodies and prodigious power of tracks like ‘Magenta’ and ‘See Power’ to the energy-fuelled psychedelic rock of ‘Houses’ and ‘Yoyo’, the album flows with a dark, beguiling grandeur with the majestic allure of Liela Moss’ crystal vocals. Sky Is Mine looks at harm, control and lack of love but burns through it to find the essential human heart.
In this interview feature, we chat with The Duke Spirit about influences, music consumption preferences, their latest project and more.
Full Q&A along with links and a stream of Magenta below.
Let’s dive a little deeper into You, the artist and your music. What attracted you to this genre(s) or style(s)?
I LIKE SPACE, BUT I ALSO LOVE NOISE, TRIBAL DRUM BEATS AND FUZZY TEXTURES. WITH THIS BAND AND THIS RECORD, I CAN SWOOP AND GLIDE AROUND AS A SINGER, JUST PLAY AROUND IN THE SPACES THAT ARE IN BETWEEN THE DISTORTED BASSLINES AND THOSE MOURNFUL GUITARS.
What led you into this journey with music? And further, what drives you to push it out to the public?
I LISTENED TO MUSIC A LOT UNTIL I FELT LIKE IT WAS MY HOME, MY IDENTITIY I SUPPOSE. WENT TO SEE A TON OF GIGS, FOLLOWED MY FRIEND’S BANDS AROUND. IT TOOK A BEST FRIEND TO FINALLY PUSH ME INTO SINGING IN FRONT OF PEOPLE AND LAYING DOWN SONG IDEAS. I WASN’T SURE HOW TO DO EITHER OF THOSE, BUT ACTUALLY WHO DOES WHEN THEY START ANYTHING CREATIVE? A BAND OF FRIENDS JUST MUTUALLY SPUR EACH OTHER ON, IN A SORT OF ENCOURAGING YET DESPERATE AND FORCEFUL WAY SO THAT THE ‘WHOLE’ GETS TO MOVE FORWARD.
Who or what influences your creativity? Have your tastes in music changed over time?
THIS WEEK I’M INFLUENCED BY THE WRITERS ROBERT MACFARLANE AND JOHN STEINBECK. I GO OUTSIDE AND WALK IN ALL WEATHERS WITH MY FINE AND BEAUTIFUL DOG COMPANION, SHE AND I INSPIRE EACH OTHER DAILY. RECENTLY I’VE LISTENED TO BIG OLD ESTABLISHED ARTISTS I LOVE SUCH AS TOM WAITS, PJ HARVEY, RADIOHEAD AND SPUN ON REPEAT SOME SINGLES; THE NEW ONE BY THE HORRORS IS COOKING ON MY STEREO. ALL OF THE SLEAFORD MODS ALBUMS ARE ON ROTATION. I JUST WATCHED A GREAT BUT DISTURBING FILM CALLED FOXCATCHER, THAT WILL SURELY INFLUENCE MY THOUGHTS FOR THIS MONTH AND CREEP ME THE FUCK OUT, THE STORY A TRUE AND DESPERATELY AWFUL ONE. ALSO, MEDITATION PRACTICES INFLUENCE AND INSPIRE ME AND SEVERAL OF THE BAND. NONE OF US ARE TERRIBLY DISCIPLINED IN THE PRACTICE AND YET WE’VE ALL USED AND EXPLORED IT FOR YEARS. MY FELLA IS A STRONG AND INSPIRING PERSON WHOSE CREATIVE DRIVE IS MOST INSPIRING TO ME PERSONALLY..
Were you trying to accomplish anything specific on this new project? Creatively or otherwise?
TO TENDER TENDERNESS TENDERLY
What was the last song you listened to?
BACKSTREET LUV BY PROG ROCK BAND ’CURVED AIR’. I BARELY KNOW OF THEM, BUT GOT LED TO THAT TUNE VIA SOMETHING SOMEBODY SAID.
Which do you prefer? Vinyl? CDs? MP3s?
IF IM BRUTALLY HONEST, ITS MP3 TO CLICK ON QUICKLY AND PUMP OUT THROUGH A NICE LOUD TRAVEL SPEAKER. OH THE EASE OF IT. BUT I LVE TO HOLD ONTO AND STARE AT THE SLEEVE NOTES OF A TASTY 12 INCH
How about this one…. Do you prefer Spotify? Apple Music? Bandcamp? Or something else? Why?
I FAINTLY DISLIKE ALL OF THEM AND AM CONSTANTLY ANNOYED BY THE LAYOUT OF THEIR INTERFACES. I’D LOVE A CHART OF THE PROS AND CONS OF THEM ALL.EDUCATE ME
Other than the digital era overwhelming us with access to an abundance of music, what is the biggest challenge you face when trying to connect with or find new fans?
I LOATHE TOO MUCH SCREEN TIME AND YET, AM CONSTANTLY LURED INTO IT BECAUSE OF ALL THIS SHIT! …I’D RATHER BE BREATHING FRESH AIR AND TALKING TO PEOPLE.
Where is the best place to connect with you online? Discover more music?
Anything else you’d like to add before signing off?
I FELL DEEPLY IN LOVE WITH A TV SERIES CALLED ‘THE OA’AND CANT WAIT FOR MORE EPISODES AND WISH THAT I COULD GET A SONG ON THE SOUNDTRACK. JUST THROWING IT OUT THERE PEOPLE XO LM