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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Duke Press Launch – One of a Kind

New collective Duke Press puts the creative back into independent publishing. Contributor Alex Lee Katz attended the launch night.

Written by Alex Lee katz

press shot new Drums 1

They’ve already been creating quite a bit of buzz over here but it looks like 2010 could be the year of The Drums. Their EP Summertime is already available to buy and they’re working on their debut album. This summer will see them touring with Florence and the Machine. We managed to speak with singer Jonathan Pierce about the band.

Andy Devine. How did you all meet?

Jonathan Pierce. Jacob and I met each other when we were very young. I think I was 13 and he was 11? I grew up in the same small town as Adam and I met him through just hanging out and being bored. We all met Connor last June. We feel very lucky to have met each other. We all share a lot of the same interests while at the same time we all bring a little something different to the creative table.

AD. You’ve been tipped by NME as a band to watch this year. Does that put alot of pressure on you to deliver?

J.P. We really have not felt any pressure at all, treat and if we do feel pressure it has not been enough for us to notice it. We just keep doing what we have been doing from the beginning and that is to write sincere pop music. Everything we do, information pills we want it to come from a place of purity and also a place of selfishness. If we do not believe in what we are doing, price then how can anyone else really? This band started as a selfish endeavour and it will end that way. Only that way can you become vulnerable.

A.D Quite a few of your upcoming gigs are Sold Out, how does that feel?

J.P. It’s really wild for us to hear that all these shows are sold out. We would have never thought that a year after we wrote our first song in our tiny bedroom off the highway in Florida that we would be traveling across the UK and other parts of Europe in a tour bus playing sold out shows. It’s very strange.

A.D. Do you enjoy playing gigs over here, how do you find the audiences are?

So far it has been a cool experience for the most part. Everyone seems to be excited. We love playing shows over here. I remember the first show we ever played in London. It was a few months back at The Flowerpot. It was packed and sweaty and wild and we could not believe that it was happening. We could not believe that people cared this much.

A.D. Have there been any notable highlights?

J. P. Playing Barfly was pretty surreal. There was so much hype and people outside trying to get in. It seemed like a movie, but it was really happening. It’s those moments that you have to just ask yourself “is this real”?

A.D. What do you do when you’re not playing in the band?

J.P. Well, since we stared the band, every minute of the day revolves around it usually. If we aren’t playing shows, then we are rehearsing, and if we arent rehearsing, then we are writing songs and if we arent writing songs then we are working on the album artwork or website. It’s very constant because we are such control freaks.

A.D. Finally, what are you most looking forward to doing this year?

J.P. Playing shows, putting out our album, and writing pure pop songs.

The Drums are part of the NME Shockwaves Tour which begins on Thursday. They will also be back in the UK in May supporting Florence and the Machine in March.
press shot new Drums 1

They’ve already been creating quite a bit of buzz over here but it looks like 2010 could be the year of The Drums. Their EP Summertime is already available to buy and they’re working on their debut album. This summer will see them touring with Florence and the Machine. We managed to speak with singer Jonathan Pierce about the band.

Andy Devine. How did you all meet?

Jonathan Pierce. Jacob and I met each other when we were very young. I think I was 13 and he was 11? I grew up in the same small town as Adam and I met him through just hanging out and being bored. We all met Connor last June. We feel very lucky to have met each other. We all share a lot of the same interests while at the same time we all bring a little something different to the creative table.

AD. You’ve been tipped by NME as a band to watch this year. Does that put alot of pressure on you to deliver?

J.P. We really have not felt any pressure at all, seek and if we do feel pressure it has not been enough for us to notice it. We just keep doing what we have been doing from the beginning and that is to write sincere pop music. Everything we do, decease we want it to come from a place of purity and also a place of selfishness. If we do not believe in what we are doing, then how can anyone else really? This band started as a selfish endeavour and it will end that way. Only that way can you become vulnerable.

A.D Quite a few of your upcoming gigs are Sold Out, how does that feel?

J.P. It’s really wild for us to hear that all these shows are sold out. We would have never thought that a year after we wrote our first song in our tiny bedroom off the highway in Florida that we would be traveling across the UK and other parts of Europe in a tour bus playing sold out shows. It’s very strange.

A.D. Do you enjoy playing gigs over here, how do you find the audiences are?

So far it has been a cool experience for the most part. Everyone seems to be excited. We love playing shows over here. I remember the first show we ever played in London. It was a few months back at The Flowerpot. It was packed and sweaty and wild and we could not believe that it was happening. We could not believe that people cared this much.

The drums-1

A.D. Have there been any notable highlights?

J. P. Playing The Barfly was pretty surreal. There was so much hype and people outside trying to get in. It seemed like a movie, but it was really happening. It’s those moments that you have to just ask yourself “is this real”?

A.D. What do you do when you’re not playing in the band?

J.P. Well, since we stared the band, every minute of the day revolves around it usually. If we aren’t playing shows, then we are rehearsing, and if we arent rehearsing, then we are writing songs and if we arent writing songs then we are working on the album artwork or website. It’s very constant because we are such control freaks.

A.D. Finally, what are you most looking forward to doing this year?

J.P. Playing shows, putting out our album, and writing pure pop songs.

The Drums are part of the NME Shockwaves Tour which begins on Thursday. They will also be back in the UK in May supporting Florence and the Machine in March.

Intro-Collection_28Unfinished Town courtesy of Jess Wilson

Ever thought about starting your own publishing house? Talk about pipe dreams…Well look and learn from the boys and girls at Duke Press. It can be done and the launch night last Thursday showcased some the most exciting illustration talent around. In the suitably stark surroundings of Dalston’s Oto Cafe, order beautiful hand bound books were strewn across shelves and confirmed that independent publishing is alive and well. This pretty unique outfit provides opportunities for really exciting emerging talents.

Intro-Collection_12Yo!Ville courtesy of Yo! Fest

Duke Press is an independent publishing collective based in London that was founded by Jess Wilson and Ryan Todd as a platform for creative publishing, illness with the aim to distribute small, medications hand-made and numbered editions. As well as providing a showcase for their own work, it’s given them a vehicle with which to invite fellow artists from around the world they admire and want to collaborate with. When Jess and Ryan were asked what Duke Press is about, they said simply “eclecticism” and it is apparent in the individuality of their output.

Intro-Collection_08Dust and Shadow courtesy of Charlie Duck

Intro-Collection_03Another Way courtesy of Ryan Todd

The books were unique in every aspect, not just in the illustrator’s personal style, but also down to the printing methods, and even the paper. The inside cover is marked by hand, telling me I’m looking at number 24 of 60; these are one of a kind little beauties! In the hand stitched YO! Ville – YO! Fest, individual sheets of coloured textured paper are inserted amongst the pages, and a miniature comic sits in the centre fold as an unexpected gift for the reader. Small touches, but ones that could never be replicated in a mass produced book.

Intro-Collection_25Yo You Youth courtesy of Andreas Samuelsson

Talking to the artists, it is clear that they relished their time working with Duke; they were given complete freedom to explore their ideas. Freelance illustrator Anthony Sheret tells me “The whole experience was so creative. So much of the work I do is commercial, producing stuff for other artists, but with this I was the artist. It was a complete labour of love.”

Intro-Collection_16Risograph courtesy of New Found Original

Standards are exceptionally high which explains why production takes so long. In Anthony’s case I find out it took over a year between being approached by Duke Press to finding the right inspiration to make his book. The Idea for Kyoto Parade came to him while traveling round Japan. When in Kyoto, he happened upon an old Japanese Stationers and was struck by ‘the ephemeral, delicate quality’ of the supplies. It is a quality that he has managed to transfer to the book itself.

Intro-Collection_22Rainy Day by Hannah Waldron

There appears to be very little hidden agenda behind Duke Press, as Jess confirms. “It’s just about promoting people we like and sharing ideas. That’s it…sharing!” Ryan adds “We certainly aren’t making a profit from it. Any money goes straight back in. It’s a platform for whatever we want to do, at the moment it’s books, but we would be really interested in doing publishing projects, like taking over a magazine, there’s no limitations”. With the corporate publishers on their financial knees at the moment, it’s going to be up to the Duke Presses of this world to keep our love of books alive and well. And if their eight pearls of published works are anything to go by, that won’t be difficult…

Intro-Collection_02

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One Response to “Duke Press Launch – One of a Kind”

  1. LoLife says:

    nice. i love books. i love art.

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