Music Interview South Africa

Subscribe to industry newsletters

Search jobs

#MusicExchange: Dukes of Note return with a twist

Founded in 2014, Dukes of Note is a carnival rock band from Cape Town combining elements of Balkan rhythms, gypsy punk, vintage blues and swing with good old-fashioned rock 'n roll; an eccentric blend of dark yet playful theatrics.
Image supplied: Nick Knightshade of Dukes of Note
Image supplied: Nick Knightshade of Dukes of Note

The band consists of singer and guitarist Nick Knightshade, bassist Andy Abels, and drummer Matthew Cox.

The band has new music out, a wonderful take on a classic Hit the Road Jack.

I chatted to Knightshade ahead of their show in Cape Town on 29 Jan with Matthew Mole and Will Linley…

What is your job description?

I wear many hats; Guitar teacher, voice actor, singer, guitarist, artist, writer, producer, and performer.

What does music mean to you?

Music has always been a bit of a mystery for me. The more I discover, the closer I feel to unlocking the mystery - only to find yet another rabbit hole to go down.

My music is about…

A whole lot of fun and imagination.

What is your motto?

You need to dare to dream, and then dream some more.

Fame is about…

What other people think of you.

Retirement will happen when…

There is literally nothing left to do.

I would love to co-write with…

Danny Elfman

Where do you go for inspiration to create?

All I really need is a quiet room

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?

On stage, singing my heart out.

The song you must do during every show?

Voodoo - it was written for the purpose of breaking the disconnect
between the band on stage and the audience watching us. Let the fun begin.

Any funny moments on stage?

It takes a certain kind of skill to burp off-mic between singing your lyrics - don’t drink fizzy drinks.

My heroes are…

Hard-working individuals with real creative talent and the drive to make their ideas come to life.

My style icon is…

Jack Sparrow, or as most call him, Johnny Depp.

Which living person do you admire most and why?

My parents - they’re an awesome team and I mean, I wouldn’t be anything without them - literally.

What is your most treasured possession?

My laptop - it’s got all my creative projects on it! Boring, but true…

It’s your round; what are you drinking?

I’ll have a shaken margarita and a gold tequila on the side.

Dream gig to do?

Download Festival with all the alternative greats.

Any nicknames?

My full name is Nicholas, you can guess the possibilities.

If you were not a musician, what would you do?

Honestly, I don’t know, it’s the area of my life that fulfils me the most and brings me the most joy.

Pick five words to describe yourself?

Outgoing, charismatic, loyal, understanding & maybe a little stubborn sometimes…

What are five must-have songs on your Spotify playlist?

Start Wearing Purple - Gogol Bordello
The Wine Song - The Cat Empire
Hell - The Squirrel Nut Zippers
Survival - Muse
Pink Elephants on Parade - Circus Contraption
And any Dukes of Note Music

Greatest movie ever made?

The Nightmare Before Christmas.

What book are you reading?

The Night Circus.

What song changed your life?

Bat Country - Avenged Sevenfold. It was the first song of theirs I heard and it just had a good mix of all the elements I didn’t know would inspire my teenage spirit to want to play the guitar and be in a band.

Who do you love?

My heart is reserved, if that is what you are asking?

What is your favourite word?


Your greatest achievement?

Building the balanced life I want to live and never giving up on my dreams

What do you complain about most often?

Depends on how often we get load shedding

What is your biggest fear?

Never having enough time to spend with friends and family, as well as not being able to complete all my projects and make my ideas come to life.

Happiness is…

Switching off after a long day of melting tasks and being able to sink into the chill zone with my partner.

On stage, I tend to…

Give 100%.

The best life lesson you have learned?

Frugality - finding value in the little things in life

What has been your favourite journey so far?

The journey of discovering my creative abilities and chasing the knowledge to be able to bridge the gap between the imagined and the real.

Do you do charity work, and if you do – what do you do?

Funny you ask, I was contacted today and asked if Dukes of Note would team up with Noon Gun Brewery to help raise funds to donate and rebuild some of the Muzenberg beach huts.

They are in danger of being demolished and have been recognised as a valuable historic and iconic attraction for the area.

So, come join us on 10 February as we’ll be helping raise funds to contribute at The Noon Gun Tap Room in Muizenberg. I would love to work with more charities so looking forward to arranging more fundraisers for good causes in the future.

Wishes and dreams?

More people would work harder to achieve consonant harmony in the dissonant
the cacophony of the world.

Social media


About Martin Myers

Co-owner at Triple M Entertainment, founder Music Exchange, manager Sipho Hotstix Mabuse

Let's do Biz