"Art'n'Roll" Band "The Dukes" Combine Rock Music With Drawings

"Art'n'Roll" Band "The Dukes" Combine Rock Music With Drawings

Album "Smoke Against the Beat" is available July 28!
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Francois "Shanka" Maigret and Greg Jacks, also known as " The Dukes ," have a way of making rock music unique. Both have been in successful rock bands in the past - Shanka was a guitarist for popular French rock band No One Is Innocent, and Greg was a drummer for the multi-platinum, French Grammy Award winning Superbus. Now that the two of them have teamed up, they combine music with art and travel the world to share it.


Shanka Maigret: Hi! I'm Shanka. I write songs, play the guitar, and sing in The Dukes.

Greg Jacks: I'm Greg. I try to play the drums. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail.

That's life! You fail 90% of the time, but you learn from it.

GJ: There's no failure. Only happy little accidents. A lot of very successful businessmen will tell you that 90% of the time, as you said, it fails. But the most important thing is to never give up.

Because if you give up, you'll never succeed.

GJ: The difference between somebody that succeeds and someone who doesn't is that they have the courage to stand up again after they've failed.

What's the coolest place you've played a show with The Dukes?

GJ: Playing in Sweden was super fun.

SM: Yes. Absolutely.

GJ: We played in a super cool club with The Subways, who we were supporting for a few months on their European Tour.

SM: That night was epic because [The Dukes] had a couple of days off after that show, and I had to go back to France because [No One Is Innocent] had five gigs with Motörhead. So they left me in Stockholm. I spent 3 or 4 hours in the city that night, and I took a cab to the airport and took a plane to France, did five gigs with Motörhead, and then took another plane back to Berlin to finish the tour.

You've both had years of experience in different successful bands, but what are you currently working on with The Dukes?

GJ: We recently had the opportunity to record some tracks with the legendary producer Kato Khandwala. He's the producer for The Pretty Reckless, and he did Breaking Benjamin...we got on a call together and he was like, "I want to work with you guys!" And we were like, "We want to work with you!"

We just finished our newest album, Smoke Against the Beat, which will be released all over the world on July 28. We'll be doing some U.S. gigs in the fall as well. Our single, "Black Hole Love," is already out.

Yes - I love it! It's so good.

GJ: We actually entered the Billboard rock chart for it! Right behind Queens of the Stone Age and Nothing More. Francois and I have done a lot of stuff [with our other bands], but that, to be on Billboard, I'd put it above my French Grammy. This was my dream since I was a baby.


How many songs made the cut to the album - and how many total did you record?

SM: Good question. I think we had about 16 songs, and we kept 12.

Do you ever release the B-sides?

SM: Absolutely. All 16 were good, but we wanted to keep a few tracks for extras, freebies, or events.

GJ: And we love to do covers.

How do you decide what songs to cover?

SM: We'll have a song that we really like, to the point where we're obsessed with it. You hear it in your head all the time so a good way to set you free is to do a cover, actually.

What about your original songs - how are they composed?

SM: It's pretty funny the way I compose. I just sit down in my chair in front of ProTools - I don't take any instruments. I just close my eyes and ask myself, "What do I hear?" And then the riffs and melodies start flowing. It's a good way to avoid being too "classic" - it helps you be more original, because it's what's in your head that prevails.

Then after I record the guitar, I ask myself, "What does this make you feel?" Then I write a couple of lines, figure out the melody, and I keep building on top of that.

That's really fascinating. I'm an artist too but I'm a visual artist, so I get the process but I could never do that with sound.

SM: Yeah, it's a bit different. I'm a visual artist too - I draw and I do stop motion animation with cartoons and puppets. The creative process is different, but the core of it is the same. You have to have an idea and know what you want to tell people. You don't doodle using just your skills, you have to mean it.

That's the most important thing. If you don't have substance then you won't be able to convey any kind of message.

SM: It's all about substance! For example, a drawing that doesn't mean anything is just going to be decorative at the most.

GJ: Have you seen any of our videos or live shows? Here [at Warped Tour] it's complicated because we play during the day. During a typical show, video projections of our drawings and cartoons show up on our equipment as we play.

SM: It's all synced to the music. I do video mapping and it's projected on the kick drum, the amps, and stuff like that.

GJ: It's very cool looking because it's DIY. It's not like the [stereotypical] iTunes type of video.



Pre-order Smoke Against The Beat here.

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Cover Image Credit: Sophie Harris

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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