Incendiary speak to the mighty Duke Special

Incendiary speak to the mighty Duke Special

 

IN: So, Peter, are you keeping well?

 

P: Great, I think the last time we met I was worse for wear. So sorry about that...

 

IN: It's been a weird festival so far. My drunken fool of a co-editor bust his ankle so we had to get him bandaged up, then I lost my wallet, so I spent the night worrying about that, and then my ipod died and we eventually got back to our tents and deflated all our airbeds so that was a disaster, but (and a big but) I came in today and someone had handed my wallet in replete with cards and money.

 

P: and they put in a gift voucher as well...

 

IN: Not quite, but I think that says it all about this festival

 

P: Indeed, these smaller festivals, or Batik festivals as they are often called always have a really great atmosphere and you feel like you're playing a part of it as opposed to the feeling that you're just angling, nay scrambling for a slot...

 

IN: The problem in the UK is that the festivals are all to a greater or lesser extent corporate whereas this started off as a village altar boy's picnic replete with a couple of bands... the same guys still run it so you still have a great atmosphere... After I spoke you last time I was really excited to see you here, especially as you were playing the Spiegel Tent which you said was one of your favourite venues...

 

P: Yeah it's been really special, last night and tonight... its been a real busy three months with the Divine Comedy and our first real big tour in Europe, which was in itself great, and to get a slot as good as that... We (me and Neil Hannon) have become friends and he's guest starred at a few of our shows, and we've recorded a song together, singing with Neil and Romeo from Magic Numbers, which went really well... And we were really busy in Europe recently playing a lot of festivals and showcases.

 

IN: Do you think the tour with the Divine Comedy has given you that extra bit of momentum?

 

P: When I last spoke to you it was the beginning with the label and the tour. There's a momentum that I've got through the Jools Holland show and Top of the Pops, which has actually helped me prepare to write and go through that whole birthing process again as regards to new songs! (Laughs). I want to do something new and creative again, you know it feels like you are wrenching something out of your guts and to be honest I feel like I'm ready to do that again.

 

IN: Do you think you are going to carry on recording the way you do, with you going as far as throwing your band mates into doors to get a particular drum noise, or are you going to take advantage of the record company's finances to explore further?

 

P: Label or not, I wanna go down a few blind alleys during the writing process and just try some stuff out. I love to get vinyl pressed up of the current songs and use them as backing tracks. I've also just bought a lovely old gramophone and I'm going to start listening properly to some old 78s... I think I want either really to be huge, with all the songs really big and uplifting because the last record was really dark and dramatic, so I could see the next one being really happy, unless I want to make another depressing LP! (Dissolves into laughter) I have started recording five songs by Kurt Weil from his Huckleberry Finn the Musical, which were written in 1950, but sadly he died before he completed the project so we're going to release that on a vinyl EP, so its obviously something a little different, in that it's not Kurt Weil's well known stuff but they are five amazing songs.

 

IN: Do you have the wooden box with you?

 

P: I have, do you want one? (explain Daims - ed)... its been really exciting working at this level and meeting other musicians, and being able to do things like the Wooden Box set... Gary from Snow Patrol has really linked me up with a lot of contacts, and it's really strange

 

IN: Did the creative aspect from meeting people help, I mean bouncing ideas off people like that?

 

P: Yeah just meeting them and watching them go about their daily working lives was really inspiring and educational, because you've gotta really keep on... I don't wanna be an artist who just makes one record and finds that's that. It's a constant challenge being creative and being confident in your own ability to let go what you've done before, that's the main challenge because it is really scary leaving stuff you've done before behind, in the context of the music business especially.

 

IN: You see lots of bands who turn up and say "I want to do this and that" but don't, and quickly run out of ideas because all they wanted to do was the initial fame thing...

 

P: I think the creative thing has got to be way more than commercial success. I think you've gotta keep digging and see what comes out...

 

IN: Indeed!

 

Words: Damian Leslie