Canadian-Folk Band, THE DUHKS, Answer Questions About Their Beginnings and Where They See The Band Headed Next!
Posted On 23 Jan 2015
Tag: 95 South, All Access, All Access Music, Artist Interview, Banjo Roustabout, Beyond The Blue, Canada, Cape Breton, Compass Records, David Crosby, Doc Watson, Dolly Parton, Donal Lunny, Donna The Buffalo, Garage Band, La Bottine Souriante, Mike Seeger, neo-folk, New York Times, Preston Frank, Quebecois, Roustabout, Spinal Tap, Steve Wickham, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The Bothy Band, The Chieftains, The Duhks, U2, Will You Be Back Tomorrow
The Duhks (pronounced The Ducks) is one of the most musically adventurous bands to come from the roots scene in the past decade. Hailed by The New York Times as one of the artists at the forefront of the neo-folk movement, The Duhks have won admirers as diverse as David Crosby, Dolly Parton and Doc Watson.
The Duhks released their latest and long-awaited studio album Beyond the Blue last June through Compass Records. Learn even more about The Dukhs in the following interview:
Can you offer us a brief journey of your musical career thus far from your perspective? Please tell us how you got you to this point in your career?
LP: Since this is an online article, I could write two pages for this answer. It’s been quite a Spinal Tap-ian Experience, especially for a folk band. It’s essentially looked something like this: Getting a record deal, then being up at the top of the acoustic scene for a while. Hitting a wall, reconfiguring, doing okay again. Hitting a wall again. Breaking up. “Taking a break,” but owing money so secretly doing the odd gig here and there to pay off the debt. Secretly having fun again. Putting together a new touring crew with Jess the original lead singer and me. Raising money, making a record, but not raising enough money. Investing again with a new team. Making folks happy with folk music. It’s pretty fun.
I’ve listened to your new album and find it very difficult to categorize the genre of music. Have you noticed other people feeling the same way?
LP: That’s the Duhks! It has always been that way for us and probably always will be. We play folk music, we love many styles, and it affects what comes out. There isn’t an effort to blend certain traditions… it just happens.
Can you pick a favorite song from your album, Beyond The Blue?
LP: My fave is “Roustabout.” I love the use of electric guitar, and drums.That’s what I originally wanted to call the CD and make the biggest deal about. But we went for Beyond The Blue.
How is the music scene different in Canada then in the US?
LP: It’s smaller, because there are less Canadians than Americans. But it’s just as diverse, probably even more so. We don’t have a Canadiana Scene, we have a folk scene. Acoustic music in Canada is influenced by traditions all over the place. And regional trad style, Like Cape Breton or Quebecois tunes, are credited with their particular region. The experts in those fields are more proud of their region and how it fits into the mosaic.
Festivals are mostly non-profit organizations with massive volunteer organizations. Although we have an extremely right wing government, they still fund the arts. They recognize the instant economic effect festivals have on a community, as well as the added community spirit.
The largest cultural event in Winnipeg is the folk festival. Consider how much impact that has: When 30,000+ folks spend $250 for their ticket, camping gear, gas, rental, hotels, fuel, CDs, flights…. The spin off is huge. So, I’d really say, everything I said before was B.S.: The difference between the two scenes is that in Canada, there is a true recognition that we are living in a society, where the arts are funded.
Who are some of your musical influences? Who are some of the new artists who inspire you and who do you think are going to be the next big artists in the future?
LP: I wish the music that inspired me would ever be considered to be “the next big thing.” Mike Seeger, Doc Watson, The Bothy Band, Donal Lunny, The Chieftains, Preston Frank, Donna The Buffalo. La Bottine Souriante. If someone else in the band wrote this the list would be totally different.
How are you using social media networks and sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram to interact with your fans? How often do you post?
LP: As we build, we are doing more. We post quite a bit from the road, and we are redeveloping our website. Jess is quite up on all of these. We’re hoping to get some help.
What is your approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes? How do you capture your idea for a new song when the inspiration hits you?
LP: Again, we’re all different. I tend to do what my ex-girlfriend called “singsong.”
That’s when you sing your thoughts at the moment you are living at that exact time.
It doesn’t need to have any rhyme or reason; you sing what’s on your mind. That’s how I wrote the song “95 SOuth.”
95 SOuth 95 SOuth
That is the way to my baby’s house
5am in Richmond town
Can’t stop now, Cackalacky bound.
How are you using new music technologies to record music and in your personal life?
LP: I cut a track for a pal using voice memo on my iPhone, and I have Garage Band.
I haven’t really explored that as much as I’d like to. Kevin is really into recording. He has proper mics, and has experience recording. Colin is also a gear head. I’m just starting to get into it. I have my own Laney 10 inch amp, a delay, and a distortion pedal that sounds awesome with the banjo.
If you had the opportunity to work with any artist/band from the past, present or future, who would it be and why?
LP: That’s a tough one. Maybe U2. I’ve spent over 30 years listening and loving their music. I could always hear the Irish influence. With their choices of melody, however, I always wished they had a melody instrument aside from electric guitar in their music, or an instrument to incorporate a traditional sound. They hinted at it on their early records a couple times with Steve Wickham on fiddle on Sunday Bloody Sunday. And also “Will You Be Back Tomorrow” on October, they had an Irish piper. I always wished they had explored more of that in their music. They lightly brushed traditional blues in the late ‘80s. Then got all digital. I like what they are doing a lot these days. Folks are pissed at them a bit because of the iPhone thing. I wish they hadn’t done it that way myself. However, the music is fantastic, and there is a good reason they are the biggest band in the world. I would love to play with them.
Why is this lifestyle (recording, singing, traveling) one that you are all willing to follow?
LP: Good question!!! I always wanted to see the world, long before I wanted to play the banjo. Luckily the latter helped the former.
All the time between gigs can be great and very tough. Either you are flush or you’re broke. Either you have to plan for upcoming gigs, or there are no gigs in the up coming future. Or you’re on vacation or at home with your family. It runs the gamut. But when we are on stage, in a great room, or at a great festival and there is a whirlwind of energy, mostly created by the audience, it’s a wave to ride like no other. Can’t seem to shake it.
What is your favorite song to perform live and why?
LP: Right now my favorite song to play is “Banjo Roustabout,” mostly because it’s a contemporary take on an old song, but you don’t have to dig to deep to find the roots, as the actual arrangement is traditional.
When you all aren’t performing and writing new material, what do you like to do in your spare time?
LP: Prepare for upcoming tours, do taxes, keep the books, sleep, watch airplane documentaries. I’m a major nerd.
Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians?
LP: no matter what , if you’re good, you’ll always be up and coming, even if you get famous. but who gives a shit what they say, Keep on rockin, and making new art!