The Duke Spirit are an English rock band, whose sound has an allegiance with the early noise rock and grunge bands of the late '80s and early '90s such as My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and the Pixies (a band the Duke Spirit has covered live) and also displays a primal take on Rock & Roll, Soul and Blues allying them to groups such as The Gun Club, Spiritualized, The Cramps & Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
* Liela Moss - vocals, tambourine, harmonica, piano
* Luke Ford - guitar, backing vocals, farfisa
* Dan Higgins - guitar, backing Vocals, autoharp
* Toby Butler - bass, backing Vocals, guitar
* Olly 'The Kid' Betts - drums, glockenspiel, percussion, backing Vocals
The band formed from the meeting of Liela Moss and Luke Ford at an art college in Cheltenham where they were studying painting and photography, respectively. They moved to London together and began writing songs. After a short time they convinced mutual friend Toby Butler to join the band and they began to perform under the moniker 'Solomon'. During this period they shared a flat with various other people trying to make it in their various facets of media. One of their flatmates, artist Dan Higgins (he designed all their sleeves for Cuts Across the Land and resulting singles) turned out to be a guitar player looking for similarly minded musicians to make music with. After a chance meeting with drummer Olly Betts, the band developed as a complete unit with a new name, 'The Duke Spirit' by early 2003. The band released their first single Darling You're Mean in May and played their first gig at the Brixton Windmill later that year. The band's debut album was due to be released in September 2004 until their record label, City Rockers, ran out of financial steam in the pre-summer months of 2004. After, as singer Liela Moss describes it, "feeling at sea and making a record that they didn't know for certain would be released" they moved over to Loog Records/Polydor and released the album in the UK on the 16th of May 2005. After headlining the TMF Rock Festival (now known as Offset festival) in the UK, the album was released in the U.S. and the band found themselves touring through America for much of 2006, including a highly praised performance at the Coachella 2006 festival, California. The only release of 2006 was a downloadable E.P. and limited 7" single titled 'Covered In Love' (released through Velo Recordings). This was a collection of songs, recorded to 8-track by the band, written by recently deceased heroes and heroines (Arthur Lee, Desmond Dekker and Jessie Mae Hemphill). In early 2007 the band signed to 'You Are Here' a new independent anglo/Canadian label. The track 'Mayday', a collaboration between UNKLE and The Duke Spirit was released on the latest UNKLE album 'War Stories' in the U.K. on the 9th July 2007. The track was recorded with Chris Goss at the Rancho De La Luna studio in Joshua Tree, California in May 2006. The Duke Spirit returned to work in the same studio with Goss in April 2007 to record their own second album, "Neptune."