Producer: James Loughrey (for the 4th time running)
Studio: Real World Studios in Bath
Expect: A, dare we say it, more relaxed, cohesive and mature album from metal's favourite riot starters. Although, deep down, we refuse to believe Skindred are capable of steering clear of at least a few bangers.
We all know that Skindred are going to go down as one of the finest live bands in metal's history, ever, EVER! But have the eclectic, Newport soul punks made their definitive statement on record yet? It's a question that we put to frontman Benji Webbe, amongst others, as the band gear up for the release of their seventh album Big Tings.
We never know what to expect from Skindred, any clues on this one Benji?
"We're just trying to make an album that we wanted to make. People come and see Skindred because we're different, there's a lot more groove on this album, that's for sure, but... heavy...? If you're looking for heaviness, then go back to Union Black. You wanna hear Union Black then play Union Black – bands have gotta move forward. I get a lot of people asking me where the Union Black sound went and I gotta go 'Well that was nineteen seventy fucking four mate!' In Skindred there's no road for us to go down, we make our own road when it comes to music. But, I'll tell you something mate, these songs are gonna knock people's heads off!"
Sounds like we're in for a surprise!
"Well the old 'Here's a punk bit, here's a reggae bit, here's a big riff', musically we're leaving that out and going in another direction. But I'm gonna sing my cunt out... and I want you to print that!"
It's in. It's hard for us to imagine that Skindred can sound like anyone else as you have such a unique take on our music, which you're a massive part of.
"I'm Dready Mercury! You know whatever style Queen did you still knew it was Queen because Freddy was there, straight away you're going 'Oh there's Freddie!' With Skindred, no matter what we do, my voice is gonna be the glue. Whether we do an acoustic song or a Black Flag cover, I'm going to be in there 'It's Benji Webbe!'. We got that and that's something that a lot of bands don't have."
What was it that inspired this left turn?
"I think we just wanted to forget all the shit that was going on around us. We've made the album we wanted to make, we've been a bit guilty in the past of listening to other people, especially radio people, (puts on American radio voice) 'Oh you guys are great, but if you could just channel it for these markets then...' Fuck off! There isn't so many purists around anymore as well, we've played the black metal festivals in Norway and those people love the live show. So I'm not scared to go further down that road. I think these songs will make Skindred's live show an even more exciting thing as well."
And you've got quite a surprising guest on the record too.
"Yeah, we've just released Machine with Gary from Reef on it, and it's been doing really well and getting great feedback, and he's got a voice on him! I can tell you that! So that's been good."
Have Skindred released their magnum opus yet, and could Big Tings be it?
"Oh I don't fucking know! We did what we wanted to do. I hate these questions about what your favourite song is or all that! My answer is always the same 'I fucking sung on all of them, I fucking get paid for all of them, what the fuck do you think?' I'll tell you, my favourite one will be the one that buys me a Rolls Royce! When I can walk into a dealer and go 'How much?... I'll take three!' That'll be my favourite!"
Skindred's new album Big Tings is available to pre-order from Amazon