Band Of Skulls are becoming a big success in the States and now we seem to finally be cottoning on in the UK too. It's not surprising; they manage to combine the classic heavy sound of rock and roll with great melodies, making their sound very accessible. Their songs have been used for a number of TV programmes and their previous single 'Friends' was even used in the Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack, not bad really. We chatted to Russell Marsden (vocals, guitar) from the band about their surprise at breaking back into the UK, the art aspect to the band and why they re-released their debut album.
CM: When did you guys arrive here?
RM: I got to Glastonbury about five minutes ago! So, bizarrely I was sat at home watching it on TV last night thinking I'll be there tomorrow, so it was a bit of a weird thing. Unfortunately we can't stay for long after we play our set because we've got more gigs to go to. We were going to stay until Sunday but we found out on Friday that we're supporting The Dead Weather at the Roundhouse. So I kind of weighed them up and went for that!
CM: Are you hoping to catch a couple of bands tonight?
RM: We always make a plan of who we'd like to see at festivals but it never really works out, but if I'm lucky enough to catch anyone I'll be grateful. If we were staying tomorrow, I'd like to see friends of ours, The Portico Quartet.
CM: With it being the 40th anniversary, what do you think about the line up and head liners?
RM: Well, you're always going to divide opinion but I think Glastonbury are trying to keep it eclectic still. They're doing it this year with Stevie Wonder and they did it last year with Jay-Z. I saw Jay-Z at Coachella and he really impressed me, he headlined and it was completely the right decision. I think sometimes you have to take a risk when you make a booking; it's not always a rock band to play Saturday night. Although that's good too, but the fact that Hip Hop can be headlining festivals shows how things have changed and it's a good thing.
CM: So, back to the band, how did you guys form?
RM: Our band formed very slowly, me and Matt (Matt Hayward, Drums) met when we were kids and I met Emma (Emma Richardson, Bass and Vocals) at art school and then we gradually unravelled from out real lives and decided to be a band and sacrificed everything else.
CM: What's influenced the band as you've developed?
RM: There's lots of things really, it started with our parent's record collection as we were growing up, lots of older American music I'd say and any Blues or Soul, anything with a bit of Soul gets us going.
CM: Your album is very diverse. For any Contactmusic.com readers who haven't heard it, how would you describe it?
RM: We can be a rock and roll band and be loud and have a lot of fun, but we're not one dimensional, sometimes the music can veer off into either slightly acoustic or slightly psychedelic parts.
CM: What was the idea behind re-releasing your debut album?
RM: Well we brought our record out without much fanfare really and then just went on tour in America and we were doing well out there. We've toured out there a lot which was really good and when we got home, we had the pleasant surprise that it was really catching on here too, which was really a bonus for us. We're doing our biggest show ever in England at The Forum and we just thought that before we get to work on the next album, we'll put it out one more time for those who have discovered it more recently.
CM: You're also running a competition at the moment for your fans to create and direct the video for your next single, how did that idea come about?
RM: We always seem to be running competitions for our fans; I don't know where all this resource comes from. We always love to be a bit spontaneous and it was really exciting for us to not really know what was going to happen. We've seen some of the results already and they're really interesting. It would be great if we could give it to someone new just coming out of art college just like we did. That would just be a great thing to do and I think you win a bit of money too.
CM: Yes, £3000 I think.
RM: I might enter it myself!
CM: You mentioned art school and Emma does quite a lot with the artwork, is she just as much of an artist as a musician?
RM: Yeah, it's all based on some of her paintings and we re-jigged it a little bit. At the time, we didn't want to go through the energy of getting work from someone else, we wanted to make our album and it just felt very right to do that. Also, I feel really bad for ruining her art career in the first place, so it's a little bit of a karma thing.
CM: Have you got many more festivals planned?
RM: We're doing Leeds and Reading Festival in the UK we're doing Splendour In The Grass in Sydney and Summer Sonic in Japan, I think those are the main ones, so we're very excited.
CM: How do you plan your sets for festivals, it's always a bit different to your gigs?
RM: I think you have to half plan it and then see what the audience is like and think about things like weather conditions. We just played in Germany and it was so rainy that everyone needed cheering up! But today, it'll be some of the record but maybe a bit louder than usual!
CM: What are the plans for Band Of Skulls after the summer's festivals are over?
RM: We are back in the studio. We are just trying to find somewhere nice and secluded to get away from all the distractions! Hopefully it'll be nice and spontaneous and we can get a record out early next year.
CM: Great, good luck and have a great festival!
Official Site -
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Red Carpet Interview (2015 Billboard Music Awards)
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