Interview – Union Duke

I recently had a chance to ask Toronto, ON based group, Union Duke a series of questions based around their upcoming show at The Mod Club in Toronto on November 5, as well as their newly released album, Golden Days.

First off, care to introduce yourselves to our readers?

We’re a Toronto-based folk-rock-bluegrass band that travels all over the country leaving in our wake a trail of beer cans and shrinkwrap from our irresistibly buyable CDs. We sweat through our shirts pretty much every night, but we keep them in garment bags until concert time so our home (the big grey van) doesn’t smell too bad. Don’t get me wrong, it still smells bad, but it could smell a lot worse. We like nothing better than to get on stage and sing together, and we aim to make every night a party.

You released your new album, Golden Days in August, how has the response been?

Since we put out the new record, we’ve taken it on the road out to the east coast and west to the prairies, and we’ve had great response all the way. We’re really excited about this latest batch of tunes, and we’re taking our music to places it’s never been. We get awful quiet and sweet on a track or two, and careen recklessly towards rock and roll chaos on another. We’re excited to showcase some more fiddle on this record, and we’ve also added a few tracks with a full drum kit (that’s new for us). We all contributed songs to the record, so you get a taste of each of us. Just with your ears, though, please.

If you could only recommend one song off of the album to a new listener, which would you choose?

If you reaaaaallllllyyyyy only have four minutes, start with “Got You On My Mind”. That’s the first single on the record, and it’s about having someone on your mind. Specifically, You. We start off pretty quiet and end pretty loud, so you’ll get an idea of what we’re capable of. But surely you’ve got more time than that… we’ve been told we’re good driving music, good party music, good cooking music, and good get-out-of-bed-first-thing-in-the-morning music. So if you do any of those things…

You have a few tour dates coming up, including a stop in Toronto on November 5 at the Mod Club. You are teaming up with The Food Dudes for this stop, they will be catering the show, how did you come up with this idea?

We’re like peas in a pod with the big cheese at the Food Dudes, and we’re pleased as punch to be throwing this… prawn? of a party. But really, we go way back with them, and when they pitched the idea of teaming up, we knew we had the ingredients for a great night. If you haven’t tried Food Dudes food, you really owe it to yourself to try it out. They throw amazing parties, and this is our chance to introduce our fans to them and vice versa. We play a lot of Toronto shows at places like the Horseshoe and Lee’s Palace, where the music and vibe is great but often there isn’t a whole lot of food available, so this is a really good chance to get full and then dance it off all in one place.

I’m told there will be thematic food and signature cocktails, can you tell us anymore about this?

I can tell you that there will indeed be thematic food and signature cocktails, and that they will be terrific. Beyond that, my lips are sealed. Only one way to find out.

If someone has yet to see you live, how would you explain your performances?

We play all kinds of venues, from bars to concert halls to theatres to the occasional house concert, but one thing is consistent – our shows are a party. There’s dancing, there’s singing along, there’s blazing guitar solos and raise-the-roof harmonies. It’s all about having a good time and leaving your worries on the doorstep.

What’s up next for Union Duke?

We just got back from a month out on the prairies, and we’re going back up to Northern Ontario at the end of November. In the meantime, we’re gearing up for the awesome Food Dudes party at the Mod Club, and we’re playing a few concerts around Ontario. New Year’s Eve we’ll be playing Lee’s Palace with Elliott Brood, so that will be a hootenanny and a half. What’s up next for you?

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