"This time we really feel like we've made the definitive Skindred album" – hmv.com talks to Skindred
They might be 15 years into their career, but there's no-one quite like Skindred. Formed back in 1998 after the dissolution of their former band Dub War, the Welsh foursome combine the raw power of metal and hard rock with reggae and dancehall influences, all brought about by their charismatic and larger than life frontman Benji Webbe.
Always a terrific live band, their records have never quite lived up to their shows, but that has begun to change. Their 2011 album Warning indicated a major step-up in the band's game and a new electronic influence on their work, they've kept this going and are now back with their fifth studio album Kill The Power, which is out now. You can also download their new single 'Ninja' for free for our download store by clicking here.
We caught up with bassist Dan Pugsley to find out about the making of the band's new record, why it's not as political as the title suggests and what 2014 has in-store for them…
Your new album Kill The Power is released on Monday, how are you feeling ahead of release? Nervous? Excited?
"We actually finished recording this record in April last year, so we've been waiting for a while to put it out. I'm excited to get it out, I genuinely think it's the best album we've ever made. I know people always say that and I never normally say it, when this time I really feel like we've made the definitive Skindred album."
Why did you decide to wait until now to release it if you finished it back then?
"We wanted to make sure we got the chance to promote it properly. It wasn't really our choice, we were playing the tracks during the summer, we'd have liked it out."
How long did it take to record?
"We were in the studio for about five weeks, we were rehearsing before that, we recorded in a studio near Leeds in the middle of nowhere. We did it residentially, so we basically lived in the studio. It meant we could work all hours, really get into it and work later at night."
You worked with James Loughrey, who also produced your last album Union Black, why did you decide to work with him again?
"We've developed a bit of a relationship with him, we felt he really understood what we wanted to do, we felt like we’d make some great strides on the last album and we wanted to build on that."
How do you feel this record moves on from Union Black?
"Sonically, it continues in the same vein in terms of how we use electronics, but we wanted to reference our first record Babylon and have some more dancehall orientated stuff. I hate using the word 'mature', it sounds like we're getting old, but it is more mature and we really focused on songwriting. A lot of Skindred is our sound, the mix of Benji's vocals with our sounds rather than actually making songs, we wanted to make songs this time, not just sound great."
What kind of album is it lyrically? Is it political?
"Rather than being political, I've always thought of us as being socially aware, how things affect people, rather than politics. It's called Kill The Power, which people have taken to mean that this must be a really political record, it's not, it's more to do with overcoming anything that's in your way, anything that's getting you down and moving on from it."
You've collaborated with Jenna G, who’s provided vocals on a lot of dubstep tracks, on a song called 'Open Eyed', how did that come about?
"We wanted a female vocalist and I'm a big fan of a lot of the releases on Hospital Records, so I was aware of her, she's worked with The Qemists as well as Zed Bias and Maddslinky, who we know, he got us in touch with her. It was great; she'd never worked with a rock band like us before and I hope she enjoyed it, what she did was incredible I love it."
Your 2014 already looks chock-a-block with touring?
"Yeah, we've got so much lined-up already, Australia, Japan, tonnes of festivals, I really can't complain, it's what we're here to do."
Finally, if you've been sat on the record since last April, have you already started writing again?
"We've all been writing, we always do, but it looks like we'll be busy for the next two years, so no word on what's next."
Skindred will be meeting fans and signing copies of their new album Kill The Power at:
hmv Glasgow Buchanan St - Monday 27 January at 5.30pm
Fopp Manchester - Tuesday 28 January at 5.30pm
Fopp Bristol College Green - Thurs 30 Jan at 5.30pm
Fans can also download the single 'Ninja' onto their mobiles for free at the event, using the hmv app and scanning the single art with hmv image search.