"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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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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