Ruby Luce meets The Ruby Dukes.
5 piece local band The Ruby Dukes are made up of Zak – singer, Josh – guitar, Rick – guitar, Ollie – drums and Mike bass. With their new EP ‘Bright Lights + Plastic Pints’ out I thought it would be awesome to talk to them and find out more.
To my knowledge The Ruby Dukes have been out for nearly a year October/ November time as the present line up. This was when first tune Elephant Dance was written with Zak as vocalist. The name of the band came about when Josh suggested “The Saboteurs”, Mike said “ The Dukes” and Rick said “The Ruby Tuesdays” so for them as a band they felt it was right to just mix them together and become – The Ruby Dukes or as Josh says “The Ruby C***s”. Rick facebooked the name and found a random woman from the USA named Ruby Dukes; they all thought it would be a novelty for the band if she liked the music page.
Laughter erupted when I asked if there were any silly nicknames for each other. Everyone points at Mike as he told me the nicknames he calls the lads; “Duke of Edinburgh”, “Grand Old Duke of York”, “Duke of Newcomb”, “Nissan Duke”, ”Baby Duke”, “Mama Duke” and “The Thin White Duke”. I just wonder which person each nickname belongs to, they wouldn’t tell me!
Each lad in the band has a different influence which all comes together within their sound. Josh says “I like pop music but not sort of like Rhianna and that!” “Zak is sort of the mod” Josh says as Zak’s influenced by Iggy Pop and Paul Weller. They said as a band they include alot of different genres like punk, northern soul, psydeclia and blues. Zak says, “Were a musical ‘Karma sutra’ we come at you from all angles”. They have been compared to Kasbian, Arctic Monkeys, The Charlatans, The Rifles and The Ramones. Josh likes the new stuff like Band of Skulls and The Black Keys as music seems to get heavier and that’s the way there turning. “It all just comes together!” Mike goes around each member and says George Craig & One Night Only for Josh, Alex Turner for Rick, Keith Moon for Ollie, Iggy Pop for Zak and Miles Kane & Pete Doherty for himself. I asked what they’re lyrical influences are and Zak says he’d been listening to Pink Floyd trying learn something from them or something from a different era. Local music wise The Ruby Dukes are fans of; The Fortuna’s, The Black Mirrors and Vellocet. I found out that The Ruby Dukes and The Fortuna’s are really close so I asked if there was to be a collaborate and straight away it was “no”, they’ve thought about it but they wouldn’t be.
I asked them about their EP and they told me little bits track by track. Girls Not Fun starts the EP off. Mike, “You’ll find alot of our songs are about girls” Josh, “they’re not all about girls though not specifically A’ girl”. The lyrics were made up from random chippings in from everyone Rick writes most of the material, Josh writes the riffs, Ollie writes for the drums. Ollie the youngest writes “mega hard tunes” that no one understands. Lyric writing takes place in random situations for these dukes like; sitting in the car on a break at work or even just putting a fag out. With Cut The Shackles Mike rang Josh up and told him he’d wrote a poem so they got together and came up with a sound to go behind the words. Mike adds “this one is definitely about girls”. This track got bigger and better over time and the feedback was unusual but positive for them, it was named “likes a 90s Suede tune”. The Secret Song which they call The Happy Song, Rick wrote purposely acoustic for himself but as a band they play it electric. All of them seem pretty confident they have a track that will top Radicals Rising once again; it may be released Christmas/next year time.
Local music festival Hippy Horror sees’s great performers and sounds arising and one band who will be appearing is of course, The Ruby Dukes. They are no longer opening the festival but that doesn’t stop them pulling out all tricks and treats they have up their sleeve. I asked if there were any surprise planned they said “yes that’s classified”. Josh wanted to appear as Amy Winehouse and then requested they dress up as fruit or nurses. The song they will be walking on to has been confirm with Mr Richard Buxton and it’s The Lion King.
They have a special ‘The Ruby Dukes’ shake at Hippy Hippy Shake it includes – Crunchie, golden syrup, butterscotch sauce and cream. Ollie says, “It’s nice but a bit sickly”. So going on from this I asked if they could design their own what it would be.
Josh- “Rhubarb, custard, Turkish delight and liquorice – not kidding” Zak adds on to this “instead of a Flake a Picnic bar, nicest chocolate bar ever!”
Mike- “Skittles, champagne and banana”
Josh- “WKD blue and marshmallow or mint sauce and mash”
They jokily say “The head of James Blunt and the pube of James Morrison”.
If they could tour with anyone past or present they would choose?
Mike- “obviously Libertines, Pete Doherty, Babyshambles”
Zak – “Sex Pistols”
It was simple for these twin dukes to decide but it took time for Josh, Ollie and Rick to choose the right person/band.
Josh- “The Black Keys”
Ollie- “The Who or The Beatles”
Rick- “Ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars David Bowie”
If they could have any member from any band joining them who would they choose?
Ollie-“Jimi Hendrix”, this took no hesitation for him to say.
Josh- “Bob Dylan or H from step” Guess H was a joke, or actually I’m not sure!!
Zak- “Bowie he’s dead versatile”
Mike-“ Joe Strummer”
These lads really thought about this and one said “ like we’d write the songs and let them enhance them”.
As it became apparent Josh loves One Night Only so I asked them what their guilty pleasures were.
Josh – “One Night Only” this came about when he brought their album at 15 and now he’s good mates with them, he later on adds “Christina Aguilera”. The first single he brought was Afro Man – Because I Got High, Wheatus and Scooter.
Mike- “Beautiful South” and the first album he brought was Definitely Maybe – Oasis. His first single was “Blue dappa de dapper da”
Rick- “Sugababes has about 4 good songs”
Zak- His first album was Travis – The man who and his first single was Sophie Elis Baxter.
Luckily I had first listen of their new single and I promise you The Ruby Dukes will treat you when it’s released. Josh after playing tells me “this is the first time I’ve ever played to anyone without being p***ed out my face”.
Watch out for The Ruby Dukes gigging around especially at The Full Moon, where… wait for it… they are supporting Drew McConnell from the Babyshambles! Good luck to them and it should be an awesome night if you attend.
Thanks to the lads for a great laugh and chat about their music, random facts about themselves and the nickname, Ruby Luce.
By Lucee Clarke