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Interview: Toby Butler of The Duke Spirit

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The beautiful haunting melodies of the Duke Spirit's new album Neptune broke out at the beginning of this year with the single The Step and the Walk.On that single Liela Moss' voice radiated an eerie joy and her famous tambourine rattle bounced all over the radio waves. The British band traveled all the way to Joshua Tree to record this album. Oddly enough in the middle of the desert, they found themselves writing about the sea.

The Duke Spirit will be playing a show at the Roxy this evening. Guitarist Toby Butler was kind enough to answer my questions. Due to PR restraints I was only allowed five questions. Five! I ask you. How are you supposed to probe into the depths of someone's soul with five questions? It's impossible. Here is what I got.

What is the weirdest thing you ever saw at a show?

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We played a festival in Denmark this year called Roskilde. The Danes are known for being big drinkers and party people. Their festivals especially bring out the best in them. We played at about one in the morning and at one point during our set I saw a line of about 5 girls squatting along a fence, letting the beer out again quite openly. Not too weird given the context... but seeing it from on stage where we're being stared at by lots of people, while I'm watching them, it seemed pretty funny and bizarre.

What are your favorite albums that came out this year?

I love the Last Shadow Puppets album The Age of Innocence. Alex Turner's lyrics are always great. Interesting, evocative, romantic and funny.... As are Miles Kane's on this album. The music sounds so far advanced beyond their age. The Eagles of Death Metal's album Heart On is another favorite. It's real boogie rock and roll. Just makes you wanna shake.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Oh man, lots of things. I'd like to wave a wand that gave someone a clear idea of how to sort out the whole music industry. So bands at our level can make albums and tour without loosing huge amounts of money. Bands are really suffering because of the developments in modern technology. People have kind of celebrated because of the power it took away from record labels.... especially major labels. However, it's also the bands that it really affects.

You recorded Neptune at Joshua Tree, so you must know Los Angeles pretty well. What are your favorite things about the city?

It's a very beautiful city. I love the hills the most. The houses perched in the slopes is uniquely LA. The thought that people put into the decoration of bars in LA is cool too.

Would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf?

Vampires are far more sexy, I think. And hopefully you get to hang with lady vampires too.

The Duke Spirit is playing tonight at the Roxy! Be sure and check them out.