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SKUNK ANANSIE (JANUARY 2019)


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INTERVIEW
GENRE:
ALTERNATIVE_ROCK

Meeting with Skin and Ace for the release of the first official Skunk Anansie live show (excluding acoustics)
CALGEPO - 27.02.2019 - 14 picture(s) - (0) comment(s)
After an acoustic live show, Skunk Anansie, to celebrate its 25 years of career, releases its first official live show. Meeting with the charismatic Skin and the talented guitarist Ace for a retrospective interview. 


Your news is the release of a live show that looks back on 25 years of career and yet you didn't seem nostalgic especially since your reformation where you have been chaining studio albums, why did you look in the mirror?

Skin: Because we're just 25 years old and for a band it's not really nostalgic. In today's music industry, 25 years is an anniversary to celebrate. That is to say, it is now rare to reach this age. This is an achievement. We had decided to record several concerts during our career, and for an English band to see that it is always a success is rewarding...








Not only for an English band but it is valid for all groups!

Skin: Yes of course, this success is important, the duration too. But it is not strictly speaking nostalgia that we feel. It's just our desire to celebrate this longevity that we owe to the fans and the need to give them something special in return. Skunk Anansie is a live band above all. And when we looked back a little bit, we realized that, it's a relief, we had never released a live album before. 


So it was the perfect timing to do it?

Yes, of course, something special for our fans.


This live album is like a best of live (like Iron Maiden's "Flight 666") where each song is from a different concert, how did you choose each track? What determined the choice of title and location?

Skin: I would say  that these are more like concert parties. Each song does not come from a particular concert. There is a large section from the concert given in Gdansk, Poland. 


Is that why this live CD sounds so smooth?

Skin: There are two reasons for this. 

Ace: It's the same band from the beginning, it's stability first and foremost that explains this, then the same registration table. We have a stable staff that we have been working with for years. Each track has the same vibe, the same vibration and that's why it works. They actually have the same flow, energy and intensity. 

Skin: Ace was in charge of looking for the best versions that could fit the concept. He listened to a lot of them....


Yes, I imagine you must have listened to a lot of recordings, concert extracts.....

Skin: It was Ace's titanic work (Laughs). But our intention was to give the impression of hearing the band on the same live when there are several different live sections. So it was a lot of mixing work to get continuity on this CD in order to give that impression. We spent a lot of money on this job. Jeremy Wheatley did the mixing, he's a genius who's been working with us since.... 2010 and who knows us well, he knows my voice, the guitar solos.... It is a team that has been working together for 10 years to achieve this result that satisfies us. He kept the density, the atmospheres.....


This work is impressive and if you had imagined recording a single concert, you wouldn't have achieved the same result with a more or less noisy crowd?

Skin: It's not strictly speaking a question of audience. The latter knows what she wants. Suddenly she can make noise, suddenly she can listen more calmly, be energetic... Sometimes she can clap her hands during a whole song, sometimes not. Then we wanted to have a lot of energy on 25 songs, which is important and doing it on one set is difficult. We also had to look for what Skunk Anansie represents like "Selling Jesus" for example and then what has become of the group today. So it took us a while to take stock and make the best possible list of songs.  To come back to one of the questions, there is a side that can be nostalgic when we compared what Skunk was and how it evolved. When we listened to the album, for us it was like a consolidation, something we did together, built and built over the years. For example I like the studio version of Intellectualise My Blackness but I prefer by far the live version because it is sexier, groovy.... And that's how Skunk Anansie sounds now.



Many bands have this state of mind to prefer live to studio. I guess the choice is difficult too because you are not alone in the band.....

Skin: You're right, but I think we know each other so well now that it's all done naturally. There is no competition between us. Everyone was involved in the choice of titles, there is a balance between us, then we followed the mix closely... Then Jeremy guided us by saying that this passage represents Skunk Anansie. Often we talk about friendship in a group and it's often overused, but here again, we know each other well and we've been doing this for a long time.


You released an acoustic live a few years ago, with this live, does it represent your more energetic facet and together does it constitute the meeting of yin and yang, in contrast between the calmest and the roughest face?

Skin: Oh, it's a very interesting vision. You see, we can consider this new record as our first official live, the one that best represents what we are in live. The acoustic live was done a little by accident because at the time this kind of live was very popular, having an acoustic live DVD. It was a fad. This last live show was really wanted! Let's make a real live album! Fans want it, we want it and it was time to do something magical.  It is on these live shows that we have built our reputation. 


This live opens with an incredible version of 'Charlie Big Potato' which with its breaks and arrangements is almost progressive, some riffs remind us of Tool, can we imagine an evolution from Skunk Anansie to a more progressive style for the next album?

Skin: We've always had a little bit of these elements in our albums, especially in our last one. 


More specifically on live?

Skin: You're right about that, when we play, we arrange the songs differently, we sometimes stretch them out which can give this progressive aspect. It's mainly on the first tracks, the first 4 or 5. In fact, it attracts the audience, it raises the atmosphere. We are sensitive to the progressive, Rush for example while bringing some pop elements.




Yes, we heard it on the last studio album and more particularly the touching song'Death For The Lovers', what could be the next step for you in the future? More progressive, more pop, more emotional? Maybe with age, you become more introspective, less energetic?

Skin: I think we will do what we love, without thinking about age. When you listen to the latest album, there are all these elements. In fact our goal is not necessarily to get into the charts, we're not trying to get on the radio, we don't care about that. Many bands are chasing their single pop, with success or with strings... The kind of music we make is not calibrated for pop radios. You don't write with that in mind. We make independent music without thinking about seeking success absolutely. This stability has contributed to this way of thinking.


Releasing this live album, which shows who you are, is confirmation that you are not a trendy band? 

Skin: That's right!

Ace: We built ourselves like that in fact, we didn't absolutely try to be fashionable, following fashion is not our thing. After that, if success comes, so much the better! We are part of groups like Queens Of The Stone Age for example that came like that and the audience followed them without them composing with marketing in mind. 

Skin: Our young audience in the 90s may have had enough of listening to commercial things and turned to this kind of band, more underground, and maybe more authentic. We currently live in a world of fake news that people are also currently looking for this authenticity. Not only to pretend to be true, but to be true. What makes us authentic is not to follow fashions but to be who we are. 


Do you think that a group that is currently being created could have a career like yours? 

Skin: Yes, but it's not easy.

Skin: You know why it's still possible, because these groups have to think about doing things differently. And if you do things differently, the audience will be able to follow. When you think about English music, there are people like that who came out of nowhere like Amy Winehouse and found the right thing to stand out, and that goes for Ed Sheeran too. At one point, these people brought a new perspective, different in their approach to pop music. Look at the Police band, we didn't expect this mix of rock and reggae.  It came almost by accident. And it was the same for Led Zeppelin. These groups at one point did things differently, which the mainstream and people followed.


That's what you're actually saying, making music that comes from the heart and your gut.....

Skin: And above all something different and authentic. A quality music with which people can connect. It's like another band, there's plenty of them, look at Radiohead, it was very different. Coming from nowhere and becoming so important. And this possibility is still there. English music is so diverse, sometimes experimental that there is always the possibility for a group to emerge. This is the magic of this music that is very present in Europe.


Skin your voice is still as powerful, close to Annie Lennox, how do you manage to keep it?

Skin: It's just work. It also requires a healthy lifestyle. I had a gala a few weeks ago and I didn't drink alcohol for example. I eat healthy...... When I was younger, it was easier to manage, but now, as I grew older and became an adult, I had to adapt. Take a vacation to rest her...... 

 

Women's voices were liberated in 2018 after the dramatic Weinstein affair, which led to movements on social networks, do you fear that it is a straw fire or do you think that there is a real awareness and especially that it is sustainable? 

Skin: I hope so. Look at the internet, there have been many positive and negative things. The positive came to the basis of Me Too, which allowed the women to speak freely and thanks to which they were able to tell themselves that they were not alone in their personal case. Everyone wrote and was able to express themselves. But I also think that this movement should lead to educating men about what women don't like, about what's cool or not. I think there has been some change and some men have become aware of the situation. Some people didn't know that hitting a woman's buttocks for laughter was wrong and that they did a lot of things like that without necessarily thinking about wrong. I think for those who were boderline, who said "oh she's laughing it's okay, everything's fine!" If she was laughing, it was because you were the boss and she couldn't do otherwise because she was in danger of losing her job. And I think there is still a lot to be done to educate some men about respect for women. 
But on a negative point, it's not to reverse the trend, it's not to destroy man, desire, flirtation. The limit is sometimes very fine. There are laws if you feel harassed and it is not up to you to feed some men. We have to find the right balance in fact. 


Serious things have happened in the last ten years or so: increasing nationalisms, ecology... what is your opinion on the future?

Skin: I think we should disown politics, big industries..... You have to step back. All these problems are so obvious, like ecology and global warming, and some politicians deny it, it's so ridiculous and it makes me angry. The countdown has begun, what are we going to leave to the children? It's terrible that there are still people who deny the obvious. 


What do you expect from this live show? Are you still waiting for something after 25 years of career?

Ace: We're always waiting for something. Still touring, making new music, it's our life. 25 years is incredible but our priority is to make records and play live.





You tell us that you will tour again and again and that maybe in 25 years we will have a double live album 50live@50?

Skin (Laughs): It's possible, I hope I'll still be able to sing but I'm not projecting myself that far.


In view of the evolution of the record industry, how do you view this and the impact of the Internet?

Skin: It's something that can't be fixed and that can't be changed now. I think we have to take the positive and leave the negative. It is a way to reach a lot of people and you have to use this tool intelligently and in a positive way.


Thank you very much.

Skin and Ace in French: Thank you





More informations on http://www.skunkanansie.net/
 
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LINKED
DERNIERE CHRONIQUE
25live@25 (2019)
25live@25 marks the quarter century of Skunk Anansie's existence as a best of the band's live performances where energy is the key word. Read all reviews regarding SKUNK ANANSIE
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