Intrigue and dark secrets: talking with Modern Day Dukes

Pic Holt’s Photography

We don’t know about you guys but there is an instinctive appetite here for music which puts the bass to the fore. There is exactly what you get with UK trio Modern Day Dukes, a two bass, one drum kit combination which creates a web of intrigue, adventure, and imagination many fully instrument loaded bands would kill for. New single Okhrana is instant proof of the band’s invention and uniqueness, a combination which hit our sweet spot. With thanks to Carl Arnfield, the man behind the new single’s great video, we settled down with the band to explore the world of Modern Day Dukes….

Hi Guys, thanks for sharing time to talk with us.

Would you please introduce the band to the readers?

We’re a 2 bass / no guitar band from Yorkshire…Pais ‘n’ Rory on bass and Jordan playing the drums. We all sing a bit.

How did you all meet and tell us about the first steps of the band.

I (Pais) met Rory and Jordan through our old guitar boy Ben Marsden. Jordan used to stand in on drums all the time when our old drummer couldn’t make a gig so when the drum stool was vacant he was naturally the guy to fill it.

We are suckers here for all bass no guitar outfits in particular MoRkObOt and Lightning Bolt. What led you down this avenue with the band?

Hadn’t heard those bands before, just checked them out and we really dig them. I’ll add them to my No Guitar / all Bass Spotify playlist.

We were a normal guitar band, but when our guitarist left, rather than replace him we decided to go for something completely different. Rory and Jordan were playing with being a bassy duo and I’d been doing some guitarless demos so we just combined them both and kept the name ‘Modern Day Dukes’ because we had a ton of unsold merch.

There are not that many bands which explore and weave only with bass and drums, a few which do but add synths too, do you think the music scene still annoyingly look down on the instrument as a lesser cousin to the guitar?

Yes. Bass is best. If you get some decent effects, you can make a wide range of sounds.  It’s weird that bass is looked down upon; it’s normally my favourite part of songs.

Did you find a readymade appetite for your set up in your hometowns of Sheffield and Leeds?

Some people get it, some people don’t. The more we do it, the more we work out what works, so it’s easier to convert people to Dukes fans. It took us a little while to find our feet.

Is Modern Day Dukes the first band for you all?

No, Pais was in Silverjet for 8 years and Rory did some shows with a band called Screaming Eagles. This is Jordan’s first rock band.

What sparked the band name?

Pais has always found posh things kinda funny. So that’s where Dukes comes from. It’s also probably subconsciously pinched from an unreleased Weezer track called Modern Dukes. Thinking about it, it’s pretty much a direct steal.

Casting ears over your Happy Now? EP, through to new single, Okhrana, your sound has not only a potent variety to it but has audibly grown release by release. How would you describe its evolution over the past couple of years or so?

We have a couple of earlier releases (These Sick Swans and PPPEP) which really don’t reflect us anymore due to changes in sound and line-up. We’re easily bored so changing things up is a way to stop things getting stale. Every release we’ve tried to come at from a different direction. When we’ve done this bass-thing for a bit we might end up trying something completely new.

Do you go out to try new things each and every time or just let things organically explore?

Photo by Carl @ Chalkman Video Studios

A bit of both, often people leaving or joining the band has significantly changed the sound because we don’t want to just try to emulate what old members did.

Tell us about the new track, for us your most unique and tenaciously mischievous song yet and the premise to its tale.

Essentially I (Jordan) was having a YouTube history binge and stumbled upon the Okhrana. It’s quite a dark theme considering what they did but for some reason it inspired.

You linked up with those great filmmakers Chalkman Video. How did that link up come about?

We know Carl of Chalkman through Rio Goldhammer from the band 1919. Rio also owns Bunnysnot Records that put out our second EP.

Tell us about the shoot and how you all came up with the idea and feel of the film with its great sinister tone and lighting?

That’s 100% Carl. We went to him not really knowing what we wanted so he did all the creative work and we love him for it. Really happy with how it came out.

Is the song typical of what we can expect in the near future from the band and what is next from Modern Day Dukes?

We’re mid-way through recording an album; the other tracks that are completed are totally different shades of Modern Day Dukes.

Tell us how the songwriting process works within the band.

Normally one of us writes 90% of a song then we work together fine-tuning it. The latest single, Okhrana was written by Jordan and in the practice room we added the middle 8 and changed up some sections a little bit.

What has the rest of the year in store for the band gig wise?

We’ve been asked to do a few acoustic with Blacklist Saints so it’s mostly that. I’d love to book a few more full-band acoustic shows; it means we get to play a mix of old and new songs with weird stripped back arrangements.

Our big thanks again, any last thoughts you would like to share?

Cheers for interviewing us Pete. Stay in school, ‘cos Jordan didn’t and now he has to play drums for Modern Day Dukes.

Pete RingMaster 01/11/2017

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PseudoNympho: Eponym

Pseudonympho pic

Having been intrigued by and thoroughly enjoying a couple of their early tracks maybe around two years ago, enough to feature them on The Bone Orchard podcast, we have been waiting for UK rock band PseudoNympho to realise the open promise and potential they offered back then. Well the release of their debut album Eponym certainly graces the hopes and expectations suggested and then steps well beyond their  limits and the fact that the thirteen track album still provides the feeling the band is only part through the destination to their ultimate sound makes it and the future all the more exciting.

Eponym is an intensive and inventive beast of a release, a deeply thoughtful, musically and lyrically, journey which asks for maybe extra involvement and time from the listener than many others but offers challenges which only bring the strongest rewards. There are times where, especially with some of its ambience woven brief pieces of composition, that it loses the less able mental interpretation of this reviewer but it immediately pulls one back on course with music and imagination that simply fires up senses and passions. Combining furies bred from the likes of hard rock, progressive metal, grunge and much more, the album is an enthralling confrontation for mind and emotions that places the band as one of the most potent and promising heavy rock bands in the UK.

Hailing from Leeds and consisting of vocalist/guitarist Wolfgang C. Bailey, lead guitarist Ben Marsden, bassist/vocalist Rio Goldhammer, 15385rhythms guitarist Sam Evans, and drummer Don Demrow, PseudoNympho open up their Bunnysnot Records released album with the brief instrumental Apotheosis. A rhythmic web within an industrially sculpted disturbed ambience, it is a provocative opening which still does not give a solid clue to what is ahead except to indicate it will be intensive. What emerges with second track Accident Of Birth is a tempest of magnetic imagination and towering sound. The start of the song gently weaves a sonic mist upon the ear, guitar and keys combining to paint an evocative sense veined by the great rhythmic persuasion of Demrow. There is a Sicilian (the best way to describe it) air to its beckoning which acts like a magnet, holding attention tight for the impending spiral of hungry beats and flaming grooves to entice further the now mighty call of the song. The strong vocals of Bailey expressively fire the lyrical narrative onto the now intensive heart of the enterprising storm brewing whilst guitars scorch the erupting energy with sonic coals of exploratory craft and heat. Dramatic and powerful, it is an immense full start to the album and evidence of how far the band has matured and come.

The following Pathetic Island Fallacy is equally as impacting, though this time it cages the appetite in a mesh of feisty rock ‘n’ roll with wanton tendencies and hook lined infectiousness lining against a more serious dark heavy metal incitement straight away. It probably does not quite match the heights of its predecessor but more than captivates full attention and satisfaction its way with skill and clear enterprise. It is followed by the short mystery of Zaphod Beeblebrox’s Morbid Prophecy, a track which intimidates and distorts thoughts as part of the overall narrative of the album. It did leave an unsure conclusion about its offering but the fun interpreting these moments is all part of the fullness of the release.

Both the caustically touching rock expanses of Sunshine And Lollipops and the excellent Buried Alive with its rapacious assault on the senses and destructive breath leave a wealth of pleasure and uncompromising impact. The second song a finely tuned brawl of predacious metal protestation and equally rabid hard rock boisterousness all shaped by a fluid and well defined merger of ideas and passion drenched energy. There is a schizophrenic air to its course too, especially in its near bedlamic climax which only reinforces its might and ingenuity, if also becoming probably a menace too far for some.

The punk /funk treat Lunch is a passing blur of dark and light, anger and peace, which sets up the melodic fire pit Big Enough For Rehab, its blues driven solos and guitar flames the skin on a heavy rock body that drives straight to the primal rock ‘n’ roll hunger waiting eagerly inside. This is then followed by the ok instrumental The Air Is Thick With A Palpable Miasma Of Willful Ignorance, another apocalyptic/industrial suggestion which inspires numerous ideas though maybe not related to the intent of the band. That is the purpose though and no matter thoughts on the presence of these pieces they do leave the listener active in finding their intent.

The excellent more grungier rock of Matryoshka with a Stone Sour spice to its temptation, provides the next highlight well into the depth of the album whilst both Educate Yourself and the closing Ugly Inside leaves Eponym a lingering presence in thoughts and emotions. Certainly there are moments across the album which raise questions and inspire talk of undiscovered promise which the band could of and will explore ahead, but it is a striking and rousing release which marks PseudoNympho as a band with a massive future.


RingMaster 27/07/2013


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