Edgar Duke

Edgar Duke is trippy – both in their music and persona. Tom O’Reily on lead guitar and vocals, James Raymond on drums, and Luke Strange on bass. With their eccentric nature and nonchalant approach, the Leeds-based band is oozing with potential. Blending together a sense of youth and a distinct old soul (as acclaimed and crafted by their influences), they capture an essence of nostalgia and a unique uniting spirit of old and new – which only makes us want more. We spoke with the band about their music, inspirations and aspirations, their beginning, and the future. And their fascination with organic vegetables. Read the interview below and listen to some of their tracks while you’re at it.


How long have you guys been making music?

4 Months

How and why did you guys start making music? What inspired you?

Tom O’Reilly: I had been writing songs with bands since I was 14, but seeing The Cribs’ Leeds festival set in 2012 was like someone forcing a stick of dynamite up through my nose and into my brain. Subsequently, my mind was blown. Ever since then I’ve been writing more and more,  pushing myself to write original and moving songs. Songs that make you think or just songs that grab you by the balls. I’ve been playing guitar since I six so I can’t remember the specific reason for starting other than the fact my dad played. Seeing other bands has obviously made me want to write and play more, living so close to Leeds Fest, I was able to get discounted tickets; and I’ve been going since I was 14, seeing bands like Queens Of The Stoneage, Eagles of Death Metal, The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys made my thirst for making music insatiable.

James Raymond: From a young age my parents had brought me up in a house full of great music from the Beatles to unknown albums from Future World Funk. At the age of 6 I started learning the piano. I had a real love for it but as I became older and started to watch bands I was always thinking ‘damn I wanna be a guitarist in an amazing rock band touring the world ‘but the don’t we all. After reaching grade 6 on the piano it seemed to be more of a chore and I left it behind, I fully regret this choice. After joining a new high school in year 9 I joined the music group and was asked what instrument I played, not wanting to admit I was a pianist I randomly said I was a drummer after maybe sitting at a drum kit twice in my life. As I began to learn basic songs on the drums I became obsessed and sat down for hours practicing harder and faster pieces. After a few weak attempts at typical high school indie bands I bumped into Tom at a gig that both my old band and him were playing and got chatting. Then I gave him a call started practicing and my previous band slowly fell apart but I got in touch with Luke the bassist and asked if he wanted to come and play bass. Then slowly after a few gigs we find ourself at the stage we are now.

Luke Strange: I started off playing guitar in primary school aged 8 after having tried almost every other instrument available to me. I soon became extremely motivated to improve my ability as a guitarist and started having lessons outside of school every week. Having always been interested in playing music, I found that guitar was well suited for me. However, only in the last few years did I decide to take up bass guitar after seeing an incredible video of a slap bassist, which I thought was the most amazing thing ever. Subsequently, I went out the next week and bought a bass guitar, which I have been playing ever since.

Can you describe your music?

Tom:  I’d describe our music as… Psychedelic funk, a sprinkling of pop melodies, with a side of punk. Heavy enough for the boys, but sweet enough for the girls.

James: It’s quite varied but it’s always getting crazier as we try and make it even more challenging to play but I’d say fun and funk fuelled. Probably could have chosen better words…


Who are your biggest influences as musicians/ that can be felt/heard in your music?

Tom: Our biggest inspirations as a band are probably the Jimi Hendrix Experience (we love playing the Blues) Tame Impala (their innovative song writing style is something to aspire to) Drenge in many heavy aspects, and more recently Queens of the Stoneage

James: Each song is full of different influences varying from fairly new small bands to the big old classics. I’d have to say that Beyoncé is probably the strongest influence in Tom’s singing.


Who are your inspirations as a musician?

James: Ginger Baker mainly as he’s just a god on the drums can’t really be described…

Tom: My main inspirations… as a guitarist; Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgommery, Ryan Jarman, Steve Vai. A songwriter; Lennon/McCartney , The Jarmans, Josh Homme, Ian Brown, Bowie, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed… As a person; Hugh Greenwood. As a musician in general; Fela Kuti.

James: Yeah, Fela Kuti he’s pretty fucking good.

Luke: Victor Wooten, Jaco Pastorius, Flea, Jimi Hendrix, Organic Vegetables

What do you want to achieve in your musical careers?

Tom:  We’re going to take over the world by creating a bubble made up of pure music, a sphere of vibration, if you will. And we will drown the world in sound. We refuse to settle for anything less.

James: P.S I don’t really know this guy…but in my mind I see something like the LMFAO music video for Party Rock Anthem which will lead to global power!

Tom: I hate LMFAO! We also plan to grow our own vegetables.

Luke: gotta grow them vegetables

James: I will have fulfilled my career when Kendrick Lamar features on one of our songs.

Luke:  I’m not too sure to be honest. I’ll just go with it day by day and see where it takes us


If you could make a change with your music, what would it be?

Tom: If we could change something about our music it’d probably be the lack of an orchestra. A 100 piece orchestra would add something quite magical, Hans Zimmer would also be very welcome to join the band.

Luke: I think we should also add to that the lack of organic vegetable band members

James: I’d get a different guitarist and bassist or maybe just have a crowd of drummers…


Tell us something about where you’re from

Tom: Where we came from? We were born like a phoenix, rising out of the ashes of our previous bands, flaming wings stretching, waiting, preparing to shimmer in musical innovation.

James: Also known as Leeds. Leeds is a great city to form bands and is full of awesome gigs 24/7. What really stands out to me is the fact Leeds is one of the only cities in the country you don’t need a license to be able to busk! Which is really great for new talent.


What’s next for Edgar Duke?

Whats next for edgar duke… As many gigs as we can physically handle, start planting organic vegetables, maybe start selling free range eggs… then…. we take the world. (Tom and Luke have a bizarre obsession for organic veg at the moment)

James: everything we can do really so keep an eye out for gigs and new material as it’s gonna be great!

Follow Edgar Duke on Soundcloud and check them out on Facebook.


special thanks to Tom, James, and Luke


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