Interview: Band of Skulls
Exposed catches up with Band of Skulls lead singer Russell Marsden.
Now then Russel, where in the world are you?
I have a rare day off today! I’m in Southampton at the moment.
You are voracious tourers. How do you find time to write?
Yeah, we have been touring nonstop for the first three records really! It’s been a constant process so far, I guess. For this one we wanted to get our breath and find a new space to work in. We found this old church in our hometown and it was really intriguing. It’s the kind of place you walk past every day but you have never been inside. We asked the reverend if we could have a look and hire it out and it was amazing inside. We wrote the majority of the record in this huge church hall, which turned into our own little creative space. The sound was amazing in there and just being in a new space really shaped the sound of the record. We went to church more than we ever have in our life!
How did the church experience differ from the usual process?
We have never written a complete album on tour, more just bits and pieces. We usually end up coming back to our home town to find a small space or a rehearsal studio in London. We had a studio at the bottom of a garden for the first album and new spaces definitely have an effect. We are quite conscious of changing it up every album.
What has been your best live experience?
So many! On the last tour we headlined Hammersmith Apollo, which was stunning. It’s such a beautiful building and a lot of great people have played there. Of course, the bigger festivals like Glastonbury and getting to play those stages you looked up to as a fan was great. When you finally get up there, it’s mind blowing.
Worst live experiences?
It’s been pretty good so far, so we usually enjoy it. We did nearly die once though…
We played Austin City Limits in America and it tipped it down during our set and our pedal boards were almost underwater. We had to stop the set and mop the water out of the way, but then we had to just plug into the amp and not use any effects or anything like that. The crowd waited for us to come back though, which was dedication!
Favourite place to play?
It’s always the place that we play for the first time. We got an offer to play in Buenos Aries, Argentina. That was amazing – we were sandwiched between Aerosmith and Whitesnake at a rock festival. Such good fun. e
Now you are four albums in, what is your key to longevity?
Sticking with our sound and believing in what we do as a three-piece band. We have got our own style and we have kept to that but we also get to explore within that. Each album we try and move our sound on. Stick with why you started in the first place and be true to yourself, then people will see that you’re a truthful, honest band.
Most would say you are living the dream, but what is the worst part or your job?
The waiting for planes. That’s the worst thing: the waiting to get on a stage. The whole day is a build up to getting onstage so you have to keep occupied but remain focused.
With a new album under your belt, what are your goals?
We wanna play as many places and play this record to as many people as we can. The tour dates are racking up and we are going to be out for the rest of the year hopefully. We are already thinking about the next album, so we will be on tour but we are already thinking about new songs. That always keeps everyone excited.
Will you be going back to the church?
We will probably change it up and find a new space – but, hey, who knows? That’s the exciting part of being in a band: you never know where you’re going to be in six months, never mind a year.
What advice can you give to a new band that want to achieve your status?
Stick to your guns and practice. Rehearse and get good at your instrument. Listen to a lot of different styles and let it influence you. Stay headstrong and focused and that’s about it!
Words by Lewis Budden.