For two interviews only, the State Of Music returns. Due to reasons unknown, my original State Of Music bands from Arkansas and Vermont decided that they were unable or unwilling (I genuinely do not know which) to donate a track for any of albums which accompanied the original series. So for a brief few days a month or so ago, I got back on the saddle in a mission to track down suitable replacements.
First up is Arkansas musician, The Duke Of Norfolk - who at the time of the interview was about to uproot to neighboring Oklahoma...so we managed to catch him just in time to become our representative for "The Natural State"
Press play and and enjoy the music while finding out all about the man behind the regal moniker.
CMM: Welcome to Choose My Music, first off who is Duke Of Norfolk and where in the world can we find you?
The Duke of Norfolk is myself, Adam Howard, and I am currently living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Until just recently I was in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. So I’m mostly in the northeast Oklahoma or northwest Arkansas area.
CMM: How long have you been making music under the Duke Of Norfolk and how did it all start?
I have been making music under the name ‘the Duke of Norfolk’ for about two years now, and this February will mark the two-year anniversary of my first release.
The name started mostly with the hope of sort of "starting over." I had the previous year released an album of piano based music called Shadows and Shapes under my birth name. While I wasn’t ashamed of the tunes that I had written, I definitely wanted to distance myself from most of the words that those tunes carried. The other, less important, reason was simply that my name was very common, and I was afraid that it would get lost among the thousands of other Adam Howards in the word.
CMM: And why did you decide to call yourself after an English county?
When I decided to adopt a moniker, my only idea of what to go off of was the sort of fairytale wish to be royalty. So in thinking about what to proclaim myself as I looked a bit at my name, Adam Thomas Howard. So as the Dukes of Norfolk were mostly all Howards and many of them were Thomas Howard, I decided to place myself amongst them.
CMM: So tell us about Arkansas, how would you best describe the state?
Arkansas is, simply put, a green and beautiful place with rolling hills and trees in high supply. It’s rather rural, but not too much so. I spend three months in Northern Ireland last fall and I would say there could be a lot of similarities noted between the two places. They’re quite different, but they’re also quite similar.
CMM: And what is the music scene like out there?
The music scene is mostly whatever you make of it. While I was at University, and I just graduated last spring, I didn’t do too much gigging; mostly just whatever shows I was asked to play. The shows I did play were mostly all very well attended and overall good shows. So, I suppose you could say it’s a "good scene." The population of Northwest Arkansas is flooded with University students, so it’s a constantly changing and dynamic population which I think is good for independent music.
CMM: When we first got in touch you were in the middle of a US tour, so what were your favourite states and cities to play?
That’s a difficult question, mostly because they were all just so different. I think though that my favourite show was near Seattle, but I really enjoyed the east coast a lot as well.
CMM: Musically how would you describe your sound, and do you find influence within the state of Arkansas?
I would describe my sound as something that is rooted quite firmly in folk. Wherever it goes it will still contain some element of folk music. But I’m "growing up" and changing as I do, and my music is much the same. I think that it’s growing up and ever changing. I will always, I think, love synthesizers, banjo, brass, and eclectic percussion.
My music is almost like a pot of warm stew. It’s filled with all sorts of things and while sometimes you scoop out some potatoes and carrots and other times a bit of beef, it all has that broth that holds it together.
CMM: Could you give us a run down of the music you have released so far?
Two years ago in February I released my single "To the Greater Audience of Robert Herrick," shortly followed by The Lazy Sunshine EP. The following summer I started an EP series (5 EPs) themed after seasons of life and named after migratory birds. Right now I am soon to release one more EP and near the beginning of next year I will be releasing my first full-length.
CMM: And finally, where can people reach out to you online to find out more?
There’s always my website or Facebook. My official press contact email is email@example.com. But I personally am always open to questions or whatever at my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.