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 second part of our exclusive interview.
RUSHONROCK: Has there been a moment when you sit down and go ‘yeah, we’re a big band now?’
Dan Pugsley: Urm, I don’t know. Are we a big band now? I don’t know from day to day. I don’t make loads and loads of money but my life is a bit better now than it was 10 years ago and I can afford to live and pay my rent. Do you think we’re a big band now? That’s awesome, it’s kinda cool. Yeah – i’ll go with that, we’re a big band now.
RUSHONROCK: A lot has changed in the music industry over the last few years, but do you think things like crowdfunding albums and Pledge Music are a massive help to bands of all sizes?
Dan Pugsley: Just the presale was through Pledge but I think the way things work in the music industry, selling music is only 100 years old and nobody has the right way of doing things. For me it’s like the Jimmy Page thing of should Dazed and Confused cost the same amount as the Macarana?I don’t think there is a wrong or right, and I hate talking like this, but for the consumer it’s better because you have more options, but because of that stuff has changed and people don’t make albums. The thing we tried to do with Volume is to make an album that flows and it’s not about three songs that you hear and don’t listen to again from start to finish. We tried to do that on everything but I feel we accomplished that more on Volume.
RUSHONROCK: How does a reggae metal crossover band go down back in Newport in 1998? What sort of reception did you first have?
Dan Pugsley: Benj was in a band before called Dub War and they were the idea of what we are doing now. They weren’t as heavy and more dubby but we’re more aggressive, so in Newport when the band started we knew we could all play, we played one show and it was a big deal cos we had connections and everyone came out. Then we did a tour with Will Haven in ‘99 so it’s not like we played in Newport loads – we did one show – but the idea was just on the cusp of the crossover stuff and people were open to it. But now people are surprised that we are from the UK because Benji is the only one left from Wales. When we started the band I was the only one not from Wales but we still keep getting called the Welsh band.
RUSHONROCK: So how did you become a member of Skindred?
Dan Pugsley: Well me and Benji started the band. I knew a drummer in Bristol and he knew a guitar player in Cardiff who knew Benji and he was going out with someone whose best friend was in Southampton, where I’m from originally, and it was through friends that I met Benji. The drummer asked one day if I wanted to come and jam and I hadn’t even thought of doing that because I was a weird hippy kid but I jammed with Benji and the guys. And after he (Webb) said ‘I’m not 100% on the other guys but I wanna write songs with you’ and I was like let’s try to do it – so I would travel back and forth (between Bristol and Newport) and we had different people in the band. For six months we tried different stuff and wrote songs and it was difficult because I didn’t live in Newport, and the day me and the other guy, a guitar player who was meant to be in the band, the day we moved in this other guy said he wasn’t moving – he couldn’t do it. He disappeared, we didn’t have a guitar player and then Ginge and Geoff, who were in Dub War, wanted to get involved and they joined the band. But now I feel this current line up is the classic line up. Arya and Mike have been in it for 12 years now.
RUSHONROCK: Growing up, who did you listen to for inspiration?
Dan Pugsley: I listened to Hendrix, Janet Jackson and then rock music, but the band that really got me thinking was Beastie Boys ‘94, ‘95 with Ill Communication, pre Hello Nasty. On that record they’re doing Minor Threat, sampling Lee Parry I was like you can do so many things in a band, you don’t have to do one thing – you can do funk jams and hip hop tunes and weird tripped out tunes and I wanted to do something like that. When we started my favourite metal/rock band was Helmet and I was like let’s use Helmet-style riffs with dance halls beats and that was the idea of Skindred. That’s where it differed from Dub War.