Posted On 22 Jun 2016
“Bodies” is the lead single from Band of Skulls’ latest release “By Default.” This record continues to receive widespread critical acclaim both stateside and abroad:
“Band of Skulls rip and roar, the song a wily mix of clashing guitars, vocals that both rocket high and dip low, and a fierce chorus that is the sonic equivalent of being stared down by some imposing authority. Think a savage hybrid of Modest Mouse and Jack White.” —Consequence of Sound
To support the release, Band of Skulls has confirmed North American dates this fall. The tour will kick off September 6 at Boston’s Royale and will make stops at Chicago’s Metro, San Francisco’s The Fillmore, Los Angeles’ Wiltern and New York City’s Terminal 5 among many others.
Produced by Gil Norton (Pixies, Foo Fighters, Patti Smith) and recorded at Rockfield Studios, By Default finds the band—Emma Richardson (bass, vocals), Russell Marsden (guitar, vocals) and Matt Hayward (drums)—following up on their acclaimed 2014 release, Himalayan, by making a conscious decision to take a step back from their relentless world-wide touring schedule, having never spent more than a month off the road in the last two years.
“We went back to square one,” says Hayward. In the church—between visits from the vicar, bringing tea and biscuits on his trolley—they found the new songs in hours of woodshedding on ratty old practice amps. “It’s definitely a new era,” says Marsden. “The first three records were like a trilogy, a piece of work in of themselves. We wanted to do those things, and we did them all. We took a breath, took a look at what we’d done, and started from scratch again.”
Learn more about Band Of Skulls in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! How’s 2016 treating you so far? How’s your summer been going? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you and your music?
2016 has been pretty fantastic so far, we released our new record ‘By Default’, started playing shows again which we’ve all missed doing. All good.
2015 was spent writing and recording so the piecing together of the record was certainly the highlight. We also took a break from writing to play some shows in Australia which is always a great pleasure for us.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory? How was Band of Skulls first formed? How did you first come up with the name? Why do you think that you work so well together?
Music was a big part of growing up. My dad used to run a recording studio at the back of our garden so the house was always full of bands/musicians traipsing up and down the garden. I used to sit outside the door and listen to all that was going on.
Some years later I met Russell through family friends and because we’d both shown an interest in playing we were sort put together. A few more years on Russell met Emma at art college and there you go! I think it’s perhaps this history we have together that makes our band what it is.
The idea for the name came from the venue that we got our firsts gigs at, it had a skull hanging from the entrance.
You recently released your newest album, “By Default”, with BMG. Can you talk about this record and the sound of it? How do you think you’ve grown on this collection? What’s stayed the same?
Well the three of us have stayed the same. For this record we hired a church in our hometown of Southampton, stripped away all of our equipment we’d gathered over the years and set to work. The sound of the church influenced the record greatly. It almost became an instrument itself that you had to learn how to play off. It was a very exciting time. It felt a completely new experience.
What was it like working with Gil Norton on this record?
We met Gil in London for the first time to discuss a possible collaboration. Gil had heard some demos and understood the relevance of the church and within two weeks we were at Rockfield studios in Wales recording. Gil is an incredible producer with so much knowledge and experience. We’ve grown up listening to his records so it was a complete honour for us to work with him.
I’ve read that in the past 2 years, you haven’t spent more than a month off the road! Wow! What was that like?! How did you keep up the energy night after night?
Since releasing our first record we have only ever stopped touring to make another record. We love touring and the opportunity to travel with your music is the greatest. It gets hard from time to time but we’re not gonna start complaining about it. You find the energy from the audience..
How will touring for this newest record be different then in the past? How long do you plan on staying on the road this time?
We’ll stay on the road until we feel the need to write and record again. We learnt that touring is the antidote to the studio and vice versa. We’re always keen to travel to places we’ve never been before. Definitely into 2017 I’d imagine.
Where do you get the inspiration for your music? How do you go about writing a song together from beginning to end? Specifically, what was the inspiration for the album’s lead single, “Bodies”?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. We all write individually and then bring ideas to the session. The inspiration for bodies was a bit of a departure from anything we’d tried before. The drive of the rhythm felt exciting and immediate. We experimented with sounds that we hadn’t considered before. Lyrically the songs all have specific personal meaning behind them. When the lyrics come from an honest place they have a chance connecting with someone else. They are there to be interpreted however the listener wants.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Who would you love to work with one day?
We have very eclectic tastes and very different ones from each other. When me and Russell first started playing we were obsessed by Hendrix and the Beatles. Emma was brought up on a lot of classic singers. We’re not purists though. We don’t have rules when it comes to styles or influences. We’ll listen to everything and anything.
In terms of collaborations it’s not something we’ve explored but aren’t against the idea. It would need to be the right project.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message for your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
We’ve been playing music together for a very long time together, it comes from a very honest place and we hope that gets across to the person listening.