The teased us with a free Duke Spirit download from their early awaited new album Bruiser, set for release in early 2011. They then spoiled us by announcing that they will support BRMC on the December tour. So we thought it would be great if we could grab hold of fierce and enigmatic front woman Leila to have a look at their dark and brooding rock’n’roll world.
US: It has been a while since your last album, what is the idea behind the new album and how does it compare to your past stuff?
Liela: This album is sonically leaner and meaner. We have been reductive in our approach on this record, so tried to avoid two guitars hammering fuzz throughout all the tracks. We have broken up the rhythms and generally experimented with replacing one instrument staple with percussive stuff. It has meant the first few gigs back have been really exciting, triggering percussion smaples, playing piano live and throwing in queer little omnichord parts. Sounds great!
US: Cool, so how does the songwritting happen for you guys, what comes first the lyrics or the music?
Liela: Guitar parts nearly always come first. I then sing wordless melodies for a few hours until words start to come together and a bit of a story emerges. A couple of the songs on this album cycle started with me on my own playing piano…but that is rare…I’m pretty slow!
US: How long did it take you so get the sound you have, is there any effects you couldn’t do without or something you haven’t yet got but want. any disasterous experiments?
Liela: This record took about 6 months of buying and selling different guitar pedals until the guys finally settled on a box of tricks! I’m searching for a small electric piano with the perfect weight to the keys…apart from that we have just built up sounds gradually. No disasters, just spillages bruises and a couple of cracked ribs in the studio…a hugging incident that went wrong.
US: Haha! Do you pay attension to the first band on at your shows, have there been any bands that have got your attension recently?
Liela: Often we do. Sometimes all the guys catch a bit from the side but quite often im a bit too excited and nervous to concentrate so I’ll be at the hotel room until the last minute or fretting around backstage. I can’t concentrate before a show on anything except what we are about to do!
US: What do you guys do to relax when you’re in london, any favourite hangouts or places of interest for fashion and music?
Liela: Café otto in dalston, the lexington for seeing bands up close, climpsons for coffee, crow bar in town, koko to zai for weird shit, barley mow and reliance in old st,the approach gallery in bethnal green and having beers underneath, bistroteque for sunday brunch if you find you have a bit of extra cash for once, walking around soho, gordon’s wine bar in the candle-lit cellars…
US: What has been your record of the year so far and why? is there anything from recent artisits/bands that influences you on this new record?
Liela: Well you always get influenced by what you have been listening too most on tour buses and long drives…things that stick in my memory are Moondog for percussive cycular ideas, Tom Petty for great hooks, Beach House, First Aid Kit, Alamo Race Track, O’Children, Tenebrious Liar and Motorhead.
Thank you Liela. To hear new material from the Duke Spirit check out the LiveBuzz sessions they did, one of them below.