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An Interview Duke Charelle

A new release from Duke Charelle brings out an absolutely addictive and colorful form of funk rock that really takes you for quite a ride from beginning to end with soaring choruses and blistering guitar work that just comes through with such heart how long would vocals that you can groove with all the way through.

"Enchantment Asperity" is endlessly fun and holds a few surprises around some corners but the main thing about the song is how infectious it is and how this band absolutely has a pure love for their craft.

That's one of the most evident things about this track. These guys feed off of each other's energies the entire time giving the song an almost live performance feel but everything is so pristine and crisp.

The way it was mixed was also incredibly well done and thought out because something like this incorporates so much colorful instrumentation and harmonizing vocals both up front and back, that it must have been quite a challenge.

Most of the time you'd think about how the song was arranged and how the performance needs to line up to that in order to really boast the power it needs but in this case the performance is so right in your face that it grabs hold of you and you find yourself shaking your ass in your seat.

This is an absolute banger. A song that you dance around the living room and sing along with your hands in the air and as loud as possible.

Listening to this track makes you want to see these guys play live because that energy is so heavy-handed on the recording that live you figure it must be completely crazy.

And that's a major part of what's so appealing about this group and these songs.

You already kind of feel like you're a part of them and they feel great to listen to. I miss music that feels great to listen to and I think that it's about time that we have something that lets that happen the way it should.

This track was done with heart and soul which bleed through from the start to the end, and you find yourself wanting to find out more about Duke and the band.

And if you find yourself digging around, then you'll be in luck because there is a soiree of outstanding releases that you can find each with its own two legs to stand on and each bringing something a little bit different to the table.

With such a wonderful single release, we wanted to have a sit down with Duke himself to find out where this track came from and what might me next for him.

Here's what happened.

Buzz Slayers: Okay Duke, let's start with "Enchantment Asperity"! This single has such great guitar work and tons of soul! How did this track come about?

Well, the song began a bit after I finished my first album in 2019. I started writing a bevy of new material. Enchantment Asperity was written during this session. Often, when I get the urge to write, I write lyrics and music in one sitting, one after another, and then present them when ready to record. As we are starting to do all writing together in one sitting, this was a piece I wrote the progression for, and made a quick change in chord progression, adding a 7#5 chord as a passing chord in the pre-chorus, and tried to make it dreamy and evocative with the chorus chord change. An A&R rep named Loren Israel, who stated he is a fan, then asked to do some work with me on the song, and while I did not utilize his final idea, we did agree to make a quick edit to the song, changing the pre-chorus from an 8 bar pre-chorus to a two bar pre-chorus, like the Beatles did, to make the section pop. I did a final edit of the verse, and that was it. I then called a buddy of mine named Dumminie Deporres, who is also a guitarist, and let him improvise some leads over the vocals, and he and I split the lead solo guitar at the end of the song. We don’t step on each other’s toes, and have our own styles, which are both vocal, and melodically driven, which ends with both of our solos playing at the same time at the end of the song. Greg “G-Rock” Sanders, with whom I also work with in the band P Funk Outlawz under leadership of Lonnie Green, aka “Kount Funkula”, came and laid the bass, Dean Ragland of Funkadelic laid the drums, and Joel Joseph of Nelly Furtado laid the keys. We then let Bad Karma sing the backing vocals that I pre-laid, and the song was complete. I like to let them figure out their parts, and trust them, so they can speak through their playing. Hendrix did the same, and it always brought out the best results. It just seems more natural that way and coming from a little bit of a few month-long tryst, definitely aided ti the feeling and vibe of the song, lol!

Buzz Slayers: How did this all start for you? When did you fall in love with music?

I have always been in love with music. My mother said they knew I was going to be a musician. It has a bit of a spooky back story, as a woman came to my grandmother’s house and saw my picture while asking to use the phone. They asked her who was in the picture, and they told her my name. She said I was going to be a musician when I grew older. She didn’t use the phone and she left. Then they noticed whenever music played, I would just get energetic, and go wild in my seat. As a child, I was a bit subdued, and only reached to what I liked, and when I had that, I would be fine and didn’t need to be supervised, as I typically behaved myself. I have always had a love for music and started playing classical clarinet when I was in third grade, then Jazz in 8th grade. When I started playing music, my mother then told me about what the woman said who visited my grandmother, which was intriguing to say in the least.

Buzz Slayers: What kind of things really inspire songs for you?

Everything. We could have a normal conversation, and I could be drawn to one line you said. Our song that placed on Billboard in 2021 at #22, “Liquid Galaxies (Grains of Sand), started from just a conversation. Watching a hawk fly inspired “Tantric Dance”. Sometimes, I force myself to write just to write and play, and it develops into a cool piece, like the song “Light The Way”. Anything and everything, and sometimes just the act of putting in the work, all inspire me to craft music and just the love of music itself. Music is my all-powerful mistress. Can’t fight against her. This song has some great styles combinations on it! Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically? Prince. Jimi Hendrix. Funkadelic. Guthrie Govan. Joe Satriani, Steve Vai. Greg Howe. Allan Holdsworth. I also love a lot of metal, and new school R&B that had the New Jack Swing Style. I also have a love of old head rap like Busta Rhymes and try to institute that in my word play sometimes, like on Tantric Dance, which I wrote front to back in one sitting and never really edited, I tried to bend the words to rhyme like Eminem did, that faux rhyme style. Anything that gets my blood pumping I will add to my style.

Buzz Slayers: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

I teach music. I also do IT stuff, but most of my time is on music. No music makes Johnny a bored boy, I suppose.

Buzz Slayers: Who's in your headphones right now?

Guthrie Govan and Polyphia.

Buzz Slayers: Are you doing any live performances right now?

Yes, we have some dates booked, one for June 24th, another for August, and I am actively booking right now. I also have performances with the P Funk Outlawz, such as Hash Bash April 2nd, and one June 2nd (which is a surprise, so I cannot spoil it, but it’s in West Virginia and televised, and honors someone dear to us in the music world, so be on the lookout for Kount Funkula and the P Funk Outlawz in West Virginia during that time).

Buzz Slayers: Did you record yourself or hit a big studio for this?

I paid for studio time with Rudy Marvin at Studio 221 B in Oak Park. We have known each other from his days at the Sound Collective, and his accolades include being a Grammy nominated producer and Engineer. He has also done work with Royce Da 5’9. He’s honest and easy to work with, and really has a drive to make authentic art, and that’s hard to find in a world of clout chasers. Authenticity makes your music come to life, and that is the gift he always brings to the table.

Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

We have new material coming out here soon. The full second EP “Through the Looking Glass” (a little Alice in Wonderland reference for you) will be out soon, as well as a new song that has some amazing personality that we all spontaneously wrote together with the rhythm player Rodney Todd will be out soon as well. We are in a writing frenzy, and plan to keep it coming.

Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

First off, thank you! I really appreciate you all for taking the time to listen. As I prefer to be down to earth and approachable, I genuinely appreciate when you take the time to listen, to share our music, and to support us in making more art. We are sharing the most naked parts of ourselves in many cases in this material, and so everything that you do to help is appreciated. As an act, and in many cases, more than one act, we appreciate the time you take to look at all our material from our numerous projects. Please join our community and musical family and share with your friends. We would love to build these memories with you and share some true precious moments with you that cannot be recreated as they are in the moment, in the now. And for those of you who are fans who wish to pursue music, follow your heart, and use your head to create the environment and situations that will bring your dreams to fruition. It doesn’t matter if you must work as an engineer during the day, or if you set up stages for other acts. If you remain focused and driven, being dedicated, you will reach your goal. You only live once, make the most of it with authentic connections with people, and you will reach your destination. We feel this is true for any part of life, not just the creative venues, and nothing is better than true love and appreciation. We hope to see you at our next events, and if you want us in your town, tell all your venues and radio stations. Let’s build a new force in music and community. Thank you again for being a fan and joining our community. We are here for you!

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