THE INTERVIEW: Band of Skulls
Coming off of the successful placement of their song in this year’s biggest movie, New Moon, Band of Skulls stands at a precipice most artists and bands wait for their entire careers. Fortunately, I got to ask lead singer and guitarist, Russell Marsden a few questions including his favorite artists, his point of view on rock music, and what he is listening to now.
What a musician listens to can directly influence their own music. What are some of the bands or artists you are currently listening to?
It’s very rare that the band all agree on one thing and music is no different. This is helpful to us as it keeps our influences diverse and challenging, one record/band we can agree on is In Rainbows by Radiohead. This is the gold standard in our eyes. More recently and more of a rock thing is the new Them Crooked Vultures record, a veritable dream team and some awesome tones to boot. The other great thing about being in a band is the chance to tour and play shows with other artists you may not have got to know usually. We’ve done shows with Metric, Wolfmother, Passion Pit, Hockey, and The Wigs amongst others this year. We always learn something new and love seeing how other bands work together.
How do you think both the band and your music have evolved over the years you have been together?
I think it has become more focused and essential in its elements. When we were younger we didn’t have the editing skills we have now, songs would have many parts and we had no clue what order they should go in for the best result. We’ve learnt to trust our gut feelings a lot more, and not to be afraid of showing our emotions in a more raw way, that takes time.
A lot of music industry critics have said, “Rock music is dead.” What is your take on the current state of rock music?
We don’t think of music in its genre boxes. It’s like saying music is dead. Music will always evolve and mutate. That’s the exciting thing about it, and nobody knows where it might go next. The current state of rock is whatever you want it to be.
What is the biggest difference for a band when it comes to audiences in the UK versus the American?
We Brits are a tricky bunch. Sometimes it takes a groundswell for things to really get moving there. That’s not to say there are not a lot of great bands and audiences. Maybe they just haven’t met each other yet. The States are another thing bands have to think about the big picture and really put the work in, but the rewards can be amazing.
How did you guys come to form your band?
Matt and I were friends as kids, put together by are parents to play music and stay out of trouble. Emma joined around the time we were at art school and took on the bass duties.
Word of mouth has been a huge asset for your band. What aspect of your music do you think caused Band Of Skulls to spread so quickly?
It’s just how we wanted it. We didn’t want to be rammed down people’s necks. All the bands I really love I felt like I discovered them and told my friends. I guess that was how we wanted it to happen. We’re very happy it worked out that way. I hope the songs are the reason it’s happened so fast. We put a lot of care in to making the record and not having any filler songs or below par material on it, that’s where our fierce editing skills come in.
Your live performances are very full of life. How do you put on such an energetic show?
I’m not sure. We just feed off the audience. It’s a relationship and we’ve been touched how great our fans are with us.
Do you have any venues or festivals you want to play but have not had the chance to yet?
We are playing at some festivals this summer that we’ve been wanting to do for a while…..but I can’t tell you what ones, you’ll have to wait. Our dream gig is the Hollywood bowl, just because doing the songs there would be surreal, and you can picnic.
If you could pick an artist or band to tour with who would it be and why?
The Rolling Stones, to learn from the masters.
For everyone who has not discovered you yet, describe your music in three words.
Band Of Skulls.