Who are The Dukes? What is Art’n’Roll? Well, The Dukes formed in 2010 and consist of 2 high energy French rockers; Lead Vocals/Guitarist Francois “Shanka” Maigret previously from the French band No One Is Innocent and Drummer/Programmer/Vocals Greg Jacks who has been a part of MTV award winning, 2 French Grammy nominated band Superbus. The band has previously released “Resilient Lovers” EP and “Victory” LP and their newest, which is also their 1st full length American album “Smoke Against The Beat” released July 28th 2017.
Greg took some time to speak with us about the band and the new album:
“Can you describe the sound of ‘Smoke Against The Beat’”?
It is a trip, we tried to make an album that was not boring. We tried to bring something different, it is blues, punk and electro, because you know we are French and we have to use a little bit of electro. It is not used the way it is in typical electro, we use old synthesizer from the 70s. A producer I’ve worked with in the past, he was Swedish, and he described The Dukes as ‘sweet song, with unsweet sound.’ And I think that summarizes The Dukes pretty well.
“Can you explain Smoki?”
Smoki is the story of The Dukes at the end of the day. Shanka and I had great success in the past. But The Dukes, we do everything with our own money and we are not billionaires. When we go to a friend that is a video maker or whatever they are, they are our close friends but when we ask for a budget they do not realize, it’s The Dukes and we do everything on our own. So Shanka told me ‘hey when I was a kid I used to draw, let’s see if I can do something.’ So when he was on vacation with his family he downloaded an app on his iPhone and grabbed some paper and sharpies and starting drawing. A few days later he sent a little animation he did on his iPhone of this character, who at the time had no name. He asked me what I thought and I said ‘Dude, that’s great’ it was the beginning of many possibilities. Shanka said ‘ok you like it I am going to run through the song and make a video for it.’ So 4 days later and about 880 drawings later, he came up with a video that he sat and drew with a sharpie and paper and his app on his iPhone. It was an animation video and that was the start of Smoki and his partners in crime.
“What inspired Art’n’Roll?”
Because of Smoki we decided to do everything. Every piece of visual you see from The Dukes is from us or at some point we were lucky enough to be able to collaborate with comic book artists. Every month we would reach out to some we really like and some big names, for example the biggest being Charlie Adler, he’s the guy who draws The Walking Dead. He loved the project, we said we didn’t have any money but we could donate a few hundred bucks to charity, he said he loved the project and he didn’t want any money he just wanted to be a part of it. He wanted to do the cover of the limited-edition vinyl, so he did. We have also worked other artists who worked with us because they loved the project. We did action figures, drawings, paintings, videos. And we love art. It is almost a project you could take to a modern art gallery, and expose some of the work we’ve done.
“What is behind the name The Dukes”
We are not boring. There is a song on the 1st album that we did called The Dukes, and thought that’s a great name. I loved the name and I think it summarizes the type of music we are doing now and trying to do.
“Any fall US tours planned?”
Yes, everyone we work with is here in US. It is our career and we are focused on the US, that is where we get our music, so that’s what we are doing right now. A pledge campaign is starting on 7/28 and that is awesome. We are giving the fans the possibility to acquire very cool stuff. Like some of the drawings used in the videos. Action figures that were made as unique copies, and it breaks my heart to let them go, but at some point, we need too. A limited skateboard, an amazing board, 100% maple skateboard, and of course limited edition vinyl’s and t-shirts. We wanted to really offer exclusive items that really break our hearts to let go because it’s so personal to our lives. And management and agent are working diligently to get us a tour to support the album.
The next couple of questions were from my 8yr old daughter who likes to be a part of the interviews with me:
“What got you into music?”
I was extremely lucky, I was born into the music world. My dad was a musician, so naturally it came to me. I believe it was Angus Young that made me decide, yeah that’s what I wanna do.
“How long have you played in bands (professionally)?”
Since 2000, it’s starting to be awhile.
I would like to once again thank The Dukes, Greg Jacks for speaking with me about the upcoming album and letting our readers learn a little more about the band and how they came to be. Check out The Dukes and their new album ‘Smoke Against The Beat’.