It’s a big year for Band of Skulls: not only did new album ‘Love Is All You Love’ arrive earlier this spring, but it’s the tenth anniversary of their breakthrough record, ‘Baby Darling Doll Face Honey’ – and they’re going to mark the occasion with a special tour, and a new book. Guitarist Russell tells us more from the tour bus.
Hey Russell, you’ve had a super busy year, how was the album release?
It’s been a really fun year so far, the album coming out was a big moment for us. Lots of changes have happened between Love is all you love and by default, but it’s clear to us now it’s all been for the best. We’ve been able to work with some awesome people from Richard X in London, to Julian Dorio in Nashville. It’s been a blast.
It must be great to have it out there.
Yeah, it’s sharing the music that really drives us. And now being on the road we can put faces to the numbers. It’s cool to hang with our fans and celebrate the music together.
Have any of the reactions to songs surprised you?
We were overwhelmed with the support from our fans. And we were excited to push the boundaries musically with some of the songs on the new album. ‘Carnivorous’ comes to mind, it’s a new style for us, but it still delivers a sucker punch. We’ve been ending the show with it.
Have you had the tenth anniversary of ‘Baby Darling Doll Face Honey’ on your minds for a while?
10 years! But seriously, we wouldn’t have believed you if you said we’d be here celebrating a decade of that music and of the band. We are very proud of the album and of the way it means so much to people.
What sparked the reissue/book idea?
We keep everything, and we haven’t really shared much of it. It felt right to share unreleased music along with lots of photos that I took at the time. And of course all of Emma’s paintings.
Tell us about the previously unreleased music you’re including, are any of the songs particularly meaningful for you?
It’s hard to choose what to include in a release such as this. We were really happy to include ‘Hollywood Bowl’ and ‘Friends’ on the re-release. ‘Hollywood Bowl’ is a song from our younger days as ‘Fleeing New York’, so that’s funny to us. ‘Friends’ is a song from the album sessions that would have ended up on our second album, but it was included on the soundtrack to New Moon from the Twilight series. There’s also a Patsy Cline song ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ that we recorded at the village in Los Angeles.
How has revisiting your debut affected your attitude towards creating new music, if at all?
It’s a trip, that’s for sure. Like any music you listen to, it can have the power to instantly put you back in a place and time. It’s double that when you made the record. I think it reminds us not to over complicate the creative process, and to trust our gut feeling when writing and recording.
Is there anything you really appreciate about your debut with the benefit of hindsight?
We, like any band, were waiting for a break. When we got our chance, we grabbed it by the horns and ripped its fucking head off. It was ambition and ignorance, we just threw ourselves into to whatever we could.
Does it feel super different releasing an album in 2019 than it did in 2009?
In a word, yes. We keep an open mind on where the industry is going and try to evolve with it. It still takes a lot of work. I feel for young musicians trying to break through now. There is such a narrow chance of success and so many things against them before they even begin. I hope that changes in the future, music is not just a commodity, and it should be taken back by the artists.
Did you have to prepare much for playing the album in full on tour?
Yeah, we have been rehearsing with Julian in Nashville. It’s sounding great. We played bomb at the first show. Can’t wait to throw a few more in and do it in order in NYC.
What’s next for you guys?
On tour now in the states and back home to tour until the end of the year. We are already feeling that nagging of new music, so it won’t be a surprise to be in the studio sometime in 2020. Where? Anyone’s guess.
Taken from the November issue of Dork, out now.