Festival Q&A: Skindred

Hard rock meets reggae in Skindred, talking at the Bloodstock festival

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Had you played Bloodstock before?
Arya (drums): No, this is our first time – Bloodstock virgins. But yeah, it’s a great festival. Everyone seems really, really nice. Not to be geeky about it but the organisation side of things is brilliant. When you do this kind of thing for a living, we know!

To our readers who haven’t heard of you, describe your music.
Arya: We’re sort of a mix of your favourite bands all in one.
Dan (bass, pictured): Who are your favourite bands? Right, we’re a combination of those! No, we’re sort of like hard rock/heavy metal and reggae. If I was explaining to someone’s mum just rock-reggae.
Arya: In the 1970s it was quite popular and in America there was the 311 thing but that’s pretty far away from our side. The riffs are bit more metal, like Pantera, and the reggae is more dancehall.

You’ve been touring Volume for a while now. Any new material coming soon?
Arya: Yeah, Volume came out end of the year before. We have a single that should be out in October, then maybe a compilation record. We’re trying to work on the details for that. But we’ll be definitely having new material towards a year’s time. We’re always working on new stuff.

There seems to be a message in your music but you’ve said before you’re not political.
Arya: There’s definitely a message in there. I think it’s a political message in as far as Benji’s singing about his environment and where he lives and what happens to him, and that can be translated to a global level. But it’s definitely him writing about what he knows. Unlike Rage Against the Machine, who have a heavy stance, it’s social commentary.

And now a few stock questions.
Dan: Where’d you get your name from? What’s your favourite colour? How long are Benji’s dreadlocks?

Most embarrassing or surreal experience?
Arya: Didn’t happen to us but when Mikey [guitar] got hit by a fish – some sort of live salmon – on stage in Germany.
Dan: Someone threw a fish, it hit him while he was playing and landed on his pedal board. He’s got a big beard and he said it got in there and all he could smell was fish.
Arya: Someone must have brought a fish to the festival to cook but then decided to give it as an offering to Mike. It was embarrassing for him but for us it was hilarious.
Dan: He’s had a couple actually. You know if you wear a t-shirt or something you work in you sweat in it and it degrades? I remember we always used to wear these black shirts. We we’re playing the Warped tour so we were sweating loads, it’s mid-summer and we’re playing show after show. Mike was singing and playing his guitar and Benji came up to him and grabbed his shoulder and his entire shirt just disintegrated. It was like the Bucks Fizz bit with the dresses.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Arya: I think for the PRS alone Bohemian Rhapsody
Dan: White Christmas or Happy Birthday.

What is your worst lyric?
Arya: I don’t know. You got any of our albums we can go through?
Dan: I always liked “a bad man, a bad man, a nice man, a nice man”.
Arya: I forgot about that. No, I think that wins. I don’t know any of the lyrics.
Dan: There’s some really incredible words. We argue about them and some of them end up on the record and some of them don’t. You’ve got to choose your fight.

What’s on the rider?
Arya: Oh, the rider’s pretty savage actually. Apparently we’re quite well known for the rider. There’s a bottle of gin, bottle of rum, a bottle of Jack, brandy, four bottles of wine – various – cases of beer, various diabetes-inducing sweets and drinks, loads of water, towels.
Dan: Spinach – never gets touched. Hummus – gets touched. Blueberries and strawberries. Cereal.
Aria: We did this thing in America once where – you know how Van Halen did the M&Ms – we did the same with just red, yellow and green and put it in really small letters at the bottom just to see who read the contract properly. We turned up to this one venue and there’s a pint glass of separated M&Ms, but we haven’t inflicted that on anyone over here.
Dan: Someone in the band was pushing to get Greggs on the rider – take a guess. We opted not to, but now and again he gets his chicken bake. So if you’re back stage and want to drink talk to us! Plus we’re sponsored by Jägermeister so every time you do a show you get like a case of it.


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