SKIN (Skunk Anansie) on Rock Overdose: "I now walk towards the light"
Skunk Anansie are here once again with their 6th studio album -second album after their reunion in 2009- called "Black Traffic", released by their own label. Rock Overdose had the chance to talk with their charismatic and very dynamic frontwoman, Skin, whose explosive performance has never been able to overlook. She is also the one who named the band's music genre "clit-rock" -maybe one of the reasons Lemmy loves them so much?- while lately she penned the foreword for "What Are You Doing Here: A Black Woman's Life And Liberation In Heavy Metal". Enjoy the interview as Skin is rocking the stages with Skunk Anansie on their European tour.
Rockoverdose.gr: What is the first feedback you get from "Black Traffic"?
Skin: Surprisingly everyone loves how heavy and in-ya-face it is. A lot of people think it's our best album yet, promoters and fans alike, new songs have been going down exceptionally well, better than some of the classics.
Rockoverdose.gr: You chose to go out of your comfort zone on many aspects on the new album, why?
Skin: This is the first album we haven't recorded live, we recorded it in pieces to create the best song structures and sounds/grooves we could, without being restricted by drums spill. Also we didn't walk into the studio with finished songs, we only had a few good choruses and so not only recorded in the studio but wrote in the studio, which we've never done before. We really didn't know what the album would sound like, the whole experience was a lot like jumping off a cliff hoping we land feet first into the water and not head first onto some rocks. A couple of songs were pure carnage but we got there in the end.
Rockoverdose.gr: Many talked about a return to a heavy rock sound, was it intentional?
Skin: We really wanted to do a big fat rock album because that's how we feel, and to be honest a big rock sound right now is sorely missed! We have a lot of influences, we love everything from Techno to Drum & Bass but we don't want those influences to be so obvious when you listen to our music. We did a load of sampling of ourselves and in the way the album is constructed to us, it feels very electronic and tight, but we're a little tired of repetitive commercial "Dubstep", and so went in the opposite direction, as we want our music to be timeless. It's still really important to us that our songs have melody.
Rockoverdose.gr: Is it easy to form and run your own label for your own good?
Skin: No it's not easy, it's a huge amount of work but we took our time and waited till we felt we had enough knowledge and money before we took the leap. In the past few years we've got used to using our own non-musical talents, which are many, we've separated all the jobs between ourselves so we all know who to go for what. We all get involved in the decision-making and share jobs that are too big for one or just need two heads. The result is we feel so much more connected and in control with what we are trying to create, our mistakes are our own and so are the triumphs, we feel like a team all working towards the same cause which makes all aspects of being in this band so much more fun.
Rockoverdose.gr: In 2001 you took separate ways and embarked on solo careers, do you bring back in mind those days? Any thoughts of keeping it up while playing with Skunk Anansie?
Skin: In hindsight, I feel the years away from Skunk Anansie were necessary and good. We really needed time away from it to sort ourselves out and also to realise that our personal worlds and the world of music is much better for having a band as unique as Skunk Anansie in it! We also learnt that it's really important to have many interests that are nothing to do with Skunk. It's so crucial to step away and have something for yourself with your own circle of friends. Emotional, social and familial independence is good for the mind and soul.
Rockoverdose.gr: Lemmy loves you, though you implied in an interview that there are other artists that do so too but never express it on the media, why is that happening do you think?
Skin: The underlying truth is we've never been up there with the cool kids, it's safe to say how much of an influence we've been on you to our face, but few artists have the balls to say it in an interview cos they're scared of not looking cool by biggin' up a band that the NME doesn't like. Lemmy doesn't give a flying fuck-wit what anyone thinks, he's one of the most honest people I've ever met and I've learnt that lesson from him. I am who I am and I speaketh the truth! :-)
Rockoverdose.gr: "Who Put That Shaven-Headed Black Woman On The Stage": were there people that were seeing you only this way, Skin? As a pioneer, how did it feel like?
Skin: My life has moved at the speed of a steam train, I've never had much time to reflect on the amazing journey I continue to travel on but yes my achievements do put a smile on my face and I am proud of what we have done as a band and with my life so far. It hasn't always felt good, some of the paths I took nearly ruined everything I've achieved, of that I am not so proud but luckily I managed to find my way back to the crossroads and now walk towards the light!
Rockoverdose.gr: You know lately there is a big rise of neo-nazi/ fascist movement in Greece...
Skin: Yes I do, many times in history we see when things are going badly the fascists pick the usual easy targets (minorities) with little constitutional protection. You'd think we'd learn the lessons history taught us many times over, these power hungry extremists start with populist racism directed towards the weakest but eventually they come for YOU and YOUR family and friends, humans man! we never learn.
Rockoverdose.gr: Hard times -socially speaking- are more influential? What inspires you to move on and make such energetic music from one album to the other?
Skin: Firstly I love music and it's become the vehicle for my expression, secondly I'm just naturally a very physical person, good music literally has the ability to lift me off my feet, I have to dance! That's why we created such an energetic band full of movement, it's just the way we are and the lyrics do that same to our spirit.
Rockoverdose.gr: Thank you very much for the nice talk we had Skin, have big fun on your tour! Would you like to say something to your Greek fans?
Skin: Thank you to all of our Greek fans for the great support, we'd love to repay the love and come and play there, let's try and make it happen.