England-based, vibey singer-songwriter and producer, Henry Dukes, has just dropped his first EP after releasing several singles. Dukes crafts beats in the style of lo-fi hip hop with a chill flavour, and emotional core. Drawing inspiration from artists like Juice WRLD, Mac Miller, and Post Malone, Henry Dukes creates a sonic world all of his own.
VoiceMail is an EP spanning just shy of thirteen and a half minutes. The first track, Eight O’ Clock is classic Dukesy with some pretty hard beats, mixed in with the chilled out vibe of the lo-fi hip hop instrumental. The track has this relaxing groove set in the beginning that is pushed to the front by Dukes’ smooth, relaxed vocals. Perhaps the most impressive part of the track is Henry Dukes lyrical quality in constructing such a catchy hook that you’ll find yourself humming it every now and then.
We move into the second track, Slow Down which is relatively faster set than Eight O’ Clock. However, Dukes slows the track down with his relaxed, laid-back vocals. He plays around with the instrumental, directing it by his vocals and lyrics, which I personally think is something that is nuanced and when done right, like Dukes has, sounds absolutely killer. The track has some really vibey instruments goin on in the background that really set the whole mood and tone for the track.
Suddenly, you’re moved into Do The Same. A slow track in the middle of the EP that has so much raw emotion behind it. Henry Dukes has this quality to his voice that amplifies the emotions he tries to convey tenfold and then some more. The lonely piano with the distant hums of a stringed instrument leaves so much space for Henry’s emotional-filled vocals truly find this point that touches his listener in this primal form of need and wanting. Then Henry Dukes hits you with the overwhelming crescendo that pumps his harmonies in the chorus that just make you feel like you’re in this divine presence of primal emotions. This is then followed up by an empty opening with just a guitar and vocals in If I Die Tomorrrow
If I Die Tomorrow follows a similar formula to Do The Same, instead using an acoustic guitar and what sounds like a pan in the distance. The minimal beats add a strong kick whilst the track progresses. Suddenly we’re met with an orchestra of instrumentation that sets a really wholesome groove to accompany the already emotional vocals of Henry Dukes.
We end this beautiful journey on Goodbye. This song has so much pure raw emotion and energy behind it that it is my personal favourite from the EP. It’s the perfect way to end this emotional journey. I can’t express how much this track has to offer from the heartbroken guitar rhythm to the wailing backing vocals.
VoiceMail is an EP you surely don’t want to miss out on. Every track speaks straight from the heart of Henry Dukes to you, his beloved audience. We were also able to score an interview with the man himself. Read on below to learn more about Henry Dukes!
What inspires you to make such relaxed music? I listen to a lot of Mac Miller’s latest songs especially the album ‘Circles’ which is such an amazing calm piece of storytelling, since then I’ve tried to create a wide range of relaxed sounds and vibes that the listener can relate to.
What about your teenage years is so significant to your music?Definitely the experience of first love, most people can then relate to that and I genuinely feel so passionate about what I write and sing about, so coming up with lyrics doesn’t become a problem when you have all these emotions about that certain someone in your mind.
On your debut EP, which was your favourite track to create?That has to be If I Die Tomorrow, it’s the song that resonates so closely to me and one where I fully express how I was feeling at the time.
Which track did you have the biggest troubles with while recording VoiceMail?I’d say 8 O’clock, purely because it’s the only track with some form of rapping, it took ages trying to find the right style but eventually I found it and recorded something that I was happy with.
What is your biggest challenge as your own singer, songwriter and producer?I reckon trying to not get frustrated when I can’t write songs on some days. But then again I’m constantly reminded that not every song you write is going to be a banger, you could write 100 songs and only be happy with 1.
Would you consider working as a feature on someone’s track or would you want to have more control over the track?I’m seriously in love with writing with other artists, I find it so interesting seeing how other people create tracks, so yeah, I’m currently working with a load of other artists and learning so much!