Skindred are a staple on the metal scene and with the release of Volume are touring the UK once again. RUSHONROCK‘s Russell Hughes discussed everything from the Beastie Boys to Janet Jackson in the first part of our exclusive interview.
RUSHONROCK: What was the aim of the band when you sat down to write Volume?
Dan Pugsley: We wanted to make a record that was more like our live set, the big bouncy bombastic tunes and it was. Before now, when we’ve done records, we’ve toiled away and this time we wanted to keep it fresh and make it like our live set. So that was the idea behind it.
RUSHONROCK: Is that why there seems to be a wide range of sounds in the album?
Dan Pugsley: Yeah, we wanted to make – it sounds cheesy – but what’s the Def Leppard album where they made a greatest hits album but it was all new songs? We wanted to make a record that had all the things people liked about us and we like those things too you know.
RUSHONROCK: Saying It Now seems like an incredibly personal song, is that correct?
Dan Pugsley: That was written about a friend of ours who played keyboards on Babylon on The Fear. He was a friend, and it was sad and Benji grew up with him in Newport and he was someone who came into the band. It was this guy Smiler and he was really lovely and that’s a rare thing for us to have a song about someone specific. You want someone to get their own meaning from our songs and that’s how songs transcend but it’s rare for us that we would write about something so close to us.
RUSHONROCK: Are you getting angrier with the world as you get older and is that translating itself into your music?
Dan Pugsley: I’m up for mellowing out at some stage but let’s not do that right now. Because you can always do that at some point, maybe we did that on Kill The Power but there was an intention of making it rabid. Sometimes you follow artists and they change and mellow and sometimes it’s really disappointing. I can name a few bands that I love that would do that, not even getting less heavy and more mature – but let’s not do that.
RUSHONROCK: I read an interview where a Skindred live show was described as organised chaos. Is that what makes you tick, the chaos?
Dan Pugsley: I like the way it’s put together. We have space in the set to play around with things and it’s a conscious thing but those things do happen with time and playing a set over time with time. It’s not an instant thing, it’s silly really but things like the Newport Helicopter came with time. That came because we were mucking around and then health and safety came along and banned walls of death and Banji thought what can we do, and that just worked. Ben was mucking around with it for years and then he did that and it just worked.
RUSHONROCK: You’re going to be touring with Crossfaith, what do you make of them?
Dan Pugsley: Love those guys, we have played with them a lot. They supported us in Europe and we played with them in Japan, love that band. Great guys, they are mental live, like totally mental.
RUSHONROCK: There are now a lot more bands using electronic music and metal, do you think they are natural bedfellows?
Dan Pugsley: I think for a few different reasons. Production has changed that you listen to some bands and I know a drummer isn’t playing that. I know that’s done on a drum programme and the guitars are chopped up and that has been going on for years. But what’s kind of happened is that some bands are so edited, but some bands take it and wear that on their sleeve, like Linkin Park. People have taken that idea and have run with it. Bring Me The Horizon have always courted electronica and stuff and there is heavy guitar and then some EDM vocal sample. I think it’s cool and I love classic rock, and like the first Rage Against The Machine album where it’s four guys playing with no synthasiers but why not try things like that?
RUSHONROCK: Do you ever feel under pressure to perform given your reputation as an amazing live band?
Dan Pugsley: No, with us there was a long period of time when nobody gave a shit about us and we came out and got dropped by our label and then we had nothing and people thought Nu Metal was uncool. I can see why we slot into that and we’ve always done what we’ve done and because of that we’ve kept on going – and our climb to the top has been so gradual that I don’t even know when we stopped playing the Underworld regularly. Our rise has been so gradual that I think we’re just hardened to it. Obviously Benji is a rock star but we’re pretty normal dudes. We still have our feet on the ground. We’ve always done this and it’s been such a slow thing – but as far as the shows being intimidating this is what we have always done. It’s just that people are paying more attention now.