Band Of Skulls – Across The Ocean

Band Of Skulls

Exciting times with Band Of Skulls heading back to Australia to support The Black Keys on their run of dates as well as playing a few of their own shows in between. 2014 was a massive year for the band with the release of their third album Hilmalayan with the cream being a much coveted spot on the Glastonbury Festival line up. Across The Ocean talks to Russell Marsden from the band about the upcoming tour of Australia.

band-of-skulls-promo

You must be on top of the world right now considering how well things are going?

We are very privileged to be in the position we find ourselves in but we have been playing in the band for a very long time now. We’ve got where we’ve got in very little increments, every tour has got a little bigger and I feel that we have really worked hard for what we’ve got so far. We enjoy the good moments but there is still a lot of sweat that goes in to it, even now.

Do you find that you celebrate the successes a lot more, even the smaller ones you mentioned before?

Yeah, you think about all the things that you have done in the past, whether it playing in a city or a country. We’ve been back to Australia three or four times now and we start to think back to our first visit and what venues we played and how many records we had out. I think we have to start to remember a lot more things now, it’s not like putting out one song and have a year at a time. It’s a longer term thing now and we have to think about it in that way.

What were some of the biggest highlights for 2014, the album Himalayan would have to rate highly?

It’s a strange concept because you sit at home where it just happens and you don’t have to do anything. The best things were that we played Glastonbury Festival and that was a big moment for us. It was a great crowd and the sun came out and it is a special festival over there for us. We also played our biggest London show at the Hammersmith Apollo and that was a moment where we reflected playing in every bar in London playing to three people. That was something to behold when we walked out that night.

Is playing Glastonbury the pinnacle and a dream come true?

It is a dream come true in a concept but the reality of it is quite terrifying in that it is a festival, you have no sound check, things can go wrong, weather plays a part so all of that is quite stressful. They’ve got the cameras rolling and you know it is going to be a lot of attention to whatever you do. The press is quite high but once it was done we realised we did a good job then we had a drink. I don’t think I had a drink for a month leading up to it. I had my first beer in a long while afterward. It was a good day in many ways.

Have you changed your outlook for 2015 and what the band hopes to achieve?

We have goals and you hit one like playing Glastonbury you have to think of something else that you would like to do. For us it is making music that we are proud of and that it developments so we don’t stay the same. That is kind of the hardest thing to work on and make exciting. I mean that is the thing we put the most effort in to. As a live band we want to improve ourselves as performers and the show. It is definitely changing and evolving now compared to when we started. That’s it really, we just to improve all the time and we’ll keep working at that.

Has much attention focused on what album four might sound like?

Every new record is directly influenced from the experience of touring the world or the one previous. All the bands we played with in 2014 and all the experiences we’ve gone through when you write a song is all there. I think you can sense all the experiences you have in the music and we will make a new record this year. It is exciting and there are already lots of ideas about it. That’s what drives us on, it’s fun to play shows and travel and see places but hitting a new song and discovering a new sound for us is what really gets us up in the morning. It is very exciting being the very beginning and is a beautiful moment.

Do you feel the weight of expectation or pressure given the success of Himalayan and Sweet Sour?

Not really, we’re the same as we’ve always been and fulfilling our own pressures and expectations we put on ourselves. Putting out a record in the first place is way beyond our wildest dreams and even that comes after is bonus now that pressure is gone. We haven’t failed! We made a record! Once that is out of the way you can just crack on and just try and improve and be a better band or musician. We don’t really think about it when we are making music and I think it is the wrong thing to think about when we are making music. I don’t think you can worry about how it is going to be taken you just do it from the gut making the music you want to.

How do you think the Band Of Skulls sound has evolved over time?

I think it is growing and is more impressive when we are playing bigger shows. Now that we are more confident there is more swagger about it but there is something that we’re always striving for and sound like we’ve picked up guitars for the first time. We want our music to sound like that moment where you discover rock ‘n roll where you’re making a loud noise and it is good. In a way that it, I’m always striving to get back to that first chord and turning the guitar up loud and making a racket. All the fancy stuff can just go out of the window and really it is about that raw power. I think we’re striving as much as for that than sounding like a bigger band or more impressive at the same time.

Teaming up with The Black Keys for their Australian tour makes for a great double bill, how did that come about?

It will be a great show, we’ve done some gigs with The Keys before and we have another record under our belt since then and they do as well of course! I know it works because it worked great last time. They have some extra musicians but it is a tour with not many people backstage. It will be great and I’m looking forward to the shows. It is a great excuse to come back to Australia. I know we missed Adelaide last time and it gets tricky. It’s not up to the band often but it is good to come back. We would play everywhere we could if we had the time but there is always somewhere else you need to be and it is a great excuse. We’ll be leaving English cold weather and it will be a good break from that, a nice change of scene. You never know we might be playing a couple of new songs by then hopefully.

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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