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Interview: Skindred

Questions Answered By Benji (Vocals), Dan (Bass)
June 19th 2001
Interviewed by Brian Webb

Related Links:
Official Website

PRP: First of all, Dub War broke up and from the ashes came Skindred with a line-up that is pretty much Dub War minus one member. Was the break from each other and being Dub War a necessary step and what do you think brought you guys back together?
Benji: When Dub War finished as far as I'm concerned it finished for good. Me and Dan met through a mutual friend and started writing after Dub War finished and shopped around for different musicians but couldn't find nobody so we met Ginge and he wanted to jam with us and boom.

PRP: What should Dub War fans new to Skindred expect in terms of differences between the groups and their material?
Benji: Nuff nuff nuff, much nuff. Its a different vibe completely.
Dan: I think its the same idea, but a slightly different tangent.
Benji: It's more directional I believe than Dub War, Dub War was more all over the place. This is like ragga with a metal vibe in there to the most. So we are just pushing that forward. There's no sudden jazz breaks like in Dub War. This is directional, heavy metal music, with ragga vocals full stop. No going left or right this is heavy metal ragga right there.

PRP: You have been on the live scene as Skindred since October 99. Have you deliberately taken it slowly, with this being your first proper tour?
Benji: Yeah, the reason for that is because we've been writing constantly, getting the right ammunition together. We could have done loads of tours, but we feel its better we concentrate on getting it right. We signed to RCA a few months back and they said the only tour they wanted us to do was this tour as they know how much of a profile and buzz us and the Lostprophets have got. Like you said, we have been showing our faces to get press here and there but the Lostprophets tour is the one.

PRP: Fans are unlikely to have heard any Skindred material other than through the internet and previous live shows. How does this translate to playing live so far as crowd reaction?
Benji: It's winning new people over all the time.
Dan: Every time we've played to people they are cold to it and its a bit of a battle at the time, but this tour has been amazing and we have been getting such a great response and we are the only band on the bill who hasn't released anything yet or put any samplers out. Having said that, because we have been playing choice gigs, we are seeing people coming back and knowing the words.

PRP: As you said, the band recently signed with RCA Records, how have things been so far with the label and are you excited about going through the whole industry cycle of recording / promoting / touring again?
Benji: Exactly, that's it. We are going to make an album, promote and tour all over again and we are definitely excited. We just want to put them down and record them. We just need a producer now.

PRP: I understand there's been a bit of a problem lining up the right producer, are you guys holding out for someone in particular or just not clicking with anyone?
Benji: If we was waiting for who we really wanted, we would be waiting for years because good producers get good gigs and there's a queue for them.
Dan: Still, there are some really good ones in the running, but if were to name names it would be a little too premature right now. We have four producers right now knocking at our door wanting to work with us. So within the next few months we should get in a studio with one of them and record an album.

PRP: Will any of the demo material be re-recorded for the album?
Benji: Yeah, well "Brankilla" will I know that's a monster.

PRP: Is there any intention to try and break the U.S. scene with the new album or are you guys going to concentrate on the U.K. first?
Benji: The intention is to break every scene bro, if there's a scene, Skindred has to break it.
Dan: We are really hoping that we will be a true crossover.
Benji: Its not just people into metal music who I want to listen to Skindred, but people that just listen to ragga music to get into Skindred with there boom boxes in their cars driving around with their system up. I don't want it to be just metal kids or skate kids, I want it to be ragga dance hall kids to listen as well. I want my audience to look quite diverse.

PRP: Do you find that at times people recognize, perhaps American audiences, notice you more for your work with Soulfly than Dub War / Skindred?
Benji: Well yeah because that's all I've done and there's nothing tangible for them to have with Skindred.
PRP: Is it frustrating that you could potentially win over a whole audience tonight yet they wont be able to buy your record for quite some time?
Dan: This is our first real grass roots tour and we are covering lots of territories here and its been brilliant, so hopefully we will win them over enough that by the time the album comes out they are desperate for it.

PRP: You recently hooked up with Pitchshifter and recorded a freestyle demo over a cell phone, how did the track come about and do you plan to possibly re-track it as they've expressed interest to put it on their album?
Benji: We haven't even finished it. John asked me to do some stuff for him on a track so I just bust out for him over the phone. I've known John for a long time because we were both on Earache Records. We were at this gig and he said I'd like for you to appear on this track I wrote. He sent it to me I liked it and I met him at a gig a few months later and I would have forgot it, so he said stick it on my answering machine. He sent it back a couple of days later and it sounded phat for real.

PRP: Are there any plans for another effort from your project with Robert Trujillo, Mass Mental?
Benji: No, not right now, we are really good friends and its been a buzz working with him but right now Skindred is everything. I'd like to work with him one day but there's no time right now. This Skindred thing is 24/7, its a pimp dawg bro.

PRP: Aside from say the Soul Brains, mixing ragga and heavy metal is very rare. Do you feel blessed by being unique in this regard or does it make it harder to get established?
Benji: I'd argue that Bad Brains never really did it at the same time. When people say reggae to me I find it frustrating, because they might as well say calypso because its deeper than that. There's a whole element in the Jamaican dance hall sound of now and mixing it with heavy guitars. There's elements of reggae but its more concentrated on the dance hall flavour. I believe its a blessing bro, wouldn't it be shit if it was all the same?
Dan: Live, sometimes people scratch their heads, but when they hear the record I think they will get it. Especially dance hall kids.
Benji: If I just wanted to rap or do the screamy Slaves On Dope type of screams, I could do it easily but I wouldn't be truthful to myself so I think I'm blessed. I'm choosing to do this, its a choice we are making not to be the same as every other British band. I'm seeing more and more kids screaming, rarely do I even see people try to sing like the guy from Lostprophets anymore.

PRP: Where do you hope Skindred will be a year from now?
Benji: Kickin it in the Caribbean with some babes, pimp style.

PRP: That's about all we have time for, any shoutouts?
Benji: Big shoutout to all the crews, people who back us, we backs you. Come and check us out, don't be afraid to come and buy me a pint.

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