SKUNK ANANSIE interview with Skin

Skunk Anansie  (consisting of Skin – lead singer and sometime guitarist, Cass on bass, Ace on guitar and Mark on drums) played their first gig at London’s Splash Club in 1994. Taking their influences from the Sex Pistols, Blondie, dub, reggae, electronica, hip hop and world music, they formed a unique triumphant sound in rock and toured relentlessly with bands such as U2, Aerosmith, Killing Joke, Therapy?, Lenny Kravitz and Muse. Selling well over four million albums, they finally split in 2001 to pursue solo projects but reformed last year to make a ‘best of’ compilation album and have now started afresh again with new album ‘Wonderlustre’ out September 17th.

Skin: ‘We formed in 1994 and we’ve always talked about things from our own perspective.  For example, Baby Swastikka came from me seeing a little swastika on the wall. We’ve always just talked about stuff from our own point of view. We talk about what we know from how we see it.  Largely, that’s relationship stuff, the heart’s grey area in working out relationships. That’s how we do it. We don’t really analyse it. And we tend to stay within our natural boundaries. We do put ourselves in uncomfortable and unfamiliar positions but the way we respond is natural.’

Their new album, Wonderlustre  came about quite quickly.
Skin: ‘We jammed in our rehearsal space. I write a lot of poetry. I call it Fluid Mind Thought Poetry. Then I take pieces from comments and stuff and base a song around it. But until you’ve got a really interesting chorus, it just stays an idea. We have a verse and chorus to start off or it could be a riff, an idea but really I have to have the overview.

‘With our band, we judge everything on vibe and chemistry. It’s kind of unexplained. It’s got to be fun. We make music and we’re in a band which is against the order of the world of a job, negativity, security.  It’s unpredictable and not secure.  If you have all that to contend with, you might as well do something truly creative and something you love otherwise what is the point? It’s such hard work but we spend a lot of time together and look after each other. We go for lunch and dinner together, hang out. We enjoy each other’s company.’

How does she view the particular challenges of the twenty first century music industry?

Skin: ‘You view yourself differently. As a musician, you’re no longer in the business of selling records. It’s now about making music, playing live, promotional stuff. It’s nice if people buy enough of your music so you can make another album but it’s hard work and not a given. Thankfully, we have a heritage and a history we can trade on. New bands have it tougher but I think the change in the music industry is good in a way. It’s got rid of the chaff, people who were in the music industry for the wrong reasons: the glamour, the fame, the money. Music is like a soulful real passionate thing that people need.

‘Now our day-to-day business is more about live touring, sponsorships, social networking, internet, (we love all technology – totally love all the stuff you can do now), selling ourselves in the right way. For those who moan or have egos, fuck off. Get out the way. Leave space and time for the people who want to bring something fresh and real to people. There’s not enough of that. We live in a fucked up society.’

What legacy would she like to leave for music?

Skin: ‘My priority is I just want to enjoy my life. Every day there’ll be hard problems. But a lot of people fucking hate their situations, they hate what they do which breeds malicious dissent. I just want to wake up and especially look up and enjoy that day, whatever it brings. Discover it. And, at the end, say: ‘You know what? I had a good time.’ As for touring, I love it and wouldn’t change it. I feel you should use your body to create the world. It’s all based on us being 70s-inspired. We’re a rocking live band. Together, we put on a full-on performance. What you see is what is actually happening. There are no gimmicks. Rock is the heart of what we are as a band.

‘Wonderlustre deals with not just one topic. It’s not a very political album. It’s about us coming together. Very insular with some great songs, dark soaring melodies. Metal is in the back catalogue – this is something different.’

From a band that always deliver, we cannot wait.