Emma Murphy 01/10/2009
After an eight year break, the multi platinum, totally unique rock band Skunk Anansie are back with their Greatest Hits album- Smashes and Trashes released on the 2nd of November and a European tour that kicks off on the 8th of October. I had the absolute priviledge of speaking to Skin about the band both past and present:
What does it feel like for Skunk Anansie to be back and does it feel different second time around?
It feels squidgy with a bit of salt! It's really nice, soulful and spiritual being in a band and its great chemistry still. The main thing is that it still feels very natural, we are still taking the piss out of each other and it feels like home because Skunk Anansie is where we all cut our teeth and it's the base of us all.
Skunk Anansie first became well known around the time of the Britpop explosion but you were completely unique, how do you think the band sits in the current musical climate?
I think we are still desperate loners, we are still not radio darlings or TV darlings we are still very much underground. Skunk Anansie have always been against the grain and that's the root of us and we are quite comfortable with that position.
You have three new songs on your forthcoming greatest hits album Smashes and Trashes, is there any sign of a new album and if so what can people expect from it?
There is a big fat sign of a new album, we haven't started working on it properly but when we did the greatest hits we did the three new songs for the album and we actually wrote about ten new songs, so we are going to use the new songs us our base and develop on from there. Bands like Muse have had nine years to develop their careers and we just had a huge gap so we have to now develop our sound and our vibe but there is definitely new stuff coming.
Your tour kicks off on the 9th October, this will be the first tour as a band for 8 years, and do you find touring an inspiration?
In previous times we have not written on tours but we are a different type of band now. On this tour we are going to have decks with us for DJing, have our computers with us with all the software for writing and producing but the thing is if you plan to sit down and have a two hour writing session then nothing will come out of it. If we have an idea at 4 am in the morning then that is when we will write, we will do things when we feel like it and that keeps things very fresh for us.
You're a very iconic front woman, with the surge of new female artists out there at the moment do you look at them and think there is something missing?
Well there is something missing because I'm not there. A lot of stuff can be pants and a bit soft but not all of it, I really like the Noisettes and Shingai (The Noisettes lead singer) is really interesting, their new album is a bit pop but their early stuff were dirty little rock albums and I think they will come out with that kind of thing again. I think the closet female to me is Pink; she is the only one that I've seen who is as cheeky as me. More female artists today are defiantly more sexually obsessed than before, running round in their pants with their blonde hair up but then there are girls who are not about that.
After an 8 year gap what was the deciding factor for Skunk Anansie getting back together?
The first initial meeting was about the release of the Greatest Hits album that the record company wanted us to do for a while and rather than let the record company sort it out we wanted to be a part of it as well and then we decided to do allot more and keep things going.
Skunk Anasie played for Nelson Mandela's 80th 'Gift to the nation' birthday bash in 1998, was that a defining moment for you as band?
Playing to 120,000 people at Glastonbury was the defining moment for us as we headlined, the Mandela gig was a great experience but the gig itself was horrible, we were the only rock band in a line-up of R&B music, before us on stage was Chaka Khan and then we came on and everyone just looked at us as if what the fuck is this.
You've always come across as a band whose lyrics are based on real experiences - is the same honesty going to reflect on the new material?
The three new songs on the album are very like that, 'Tear the place up' is a statement of intent, 'Because of you' is much more dark it's about a personal relationship that I was involved in and whatever we write about whether it be politics, love or fun we write from our experience and perspective and we never step outside of that. Skunk Anansie are very confident in the way we write, if you start writing about someone else's experience then it doesn't quite work and we know that because we have tried it.
Would you say growing up in Brixton in the 1980s, had an major influence on you as a person?
Exactly, I'm from an incredibly poor background and in the 80s there where riots and everything was rough ass in those days. We didn't know anything that was posh or nice and it was influence and still influences me now, growing up somewhere like Brixton really sorts out the men from the boys and it makes you stand up and be your own person otherwise you will be crushed.
With the tour and new album looming what else can fans expect next from Skunk Anansie?
We are going to slam it, all of us are fitter than we ever have been, songs are sounding amazing the tour is going to be great and we are going to be simplistic and complicated all at the same time: which is what we are about.
Skunk Anansie's UK Tour Dates are:
Sat 21st LEEDS, O2 Academy
Sun 22nd GLASGOW, O2 Academy
Tue 24th MANCHESTER, O2 Academy
Wed 25th WOLVERHAMPTON, Civic Hall
Thu 26th LONDON, Brixton Academy