Discussing the band’s history, evolution and reconfiguration
Over the past decade, Leila Moss, Luke Ford, Toby Butler and Dan Higgins have grown together in a most unique way. Moss, the current lead singer of the U.K./Los Angeles-based band, Roman Remains, met Ford back in Cheltenham, U.K, where they formed a band called Solomon. They soon melted into a band called The Duke Spirit and rippled their way into the indie music scene of Europe and America.
The English rock band based in London, described as a cross between industrial electronic and indie, The Duke Spirit touched upon a vast musical spectrum, from rhythmic “atlantic soul” and Motown influences, to alternative rock bands such as The Jesus and Mary Chain and Spiritualized. Sticking together as a band for over a decade, Moss said the six-piece group began as a “word of mouth” band, gaining traction at the 2006 Coachella festival, moving on to play a number of high-profile support slots for Queens of the Stone Age and R.E.M. and appearing on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel Live!
While The Duke Spirit took a break from touring, Ford took a one year leave to raise his newborn son. In the meantime, Moss and Butler put life into a new band persona they were developing, Roman Remains.
“It was about this time last year that we were living for a month in the Mile End recording an album with Damian Taylor, the Grammy-nominated music producer who has collaborated with superstar Bjork, UNKLE, The Prodigy, and the Arcade Fire,” said Moss. “He is simply a genius.”
This much anticipated new project is touring around the US and Canada in what is promised to be an alternative electro lovers’ dream tour. The band is currently touring on Gary Numan’s 2014 Splinter Tour, hitting major North American cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and our very own Montreal.
When asked how Moss and Butler came up with the name Romain Remains, Moss laughed.
“It’s kind of a joke Toby had written down. You see, musically we haven’t evolved that much and we have remained rather primal. Toby and I agreed that we must have moved from a prehistoric age to Roman,” laughed Moss.
Their album Zeal pushes the dynamics of The Duke Spring in a completely new indie direction. Just look at their flagship music video for the song “This Stone is Starting to Bleed.” The story follows a crystal blue-eyed shaman, that crosses the looks of a Tusken Raider from the Star Wars Universe and something out of an ‘80s horror film, performing a peculiar ritual as the members of Roman Remains watch from the shadows.
“We are growing organically and we have never really sat around the dinner table trying to define our music. The foundations are clearly electronica, it has the live show, the live drum…and it’s really a hybrid of elements we found interesting,” said Moss.
From a residency at LA’s Sayers Club, to tag-teaming with Big Black Delta and Gary Numan for SXSW, the duo has come a long way in a short amount of time. Moving at an incredible speed, Moss’ only words of inspiration are “bring it on, we want all of it. Bring it on American and European festivals, we love to see people ascend on a spiritual level with our music.”
Roman Remains will be performing at Cafe Campus on March 25, opening for Gary Numan. Tickets cost $25 in advance and $30 at the door.