Pressparty interviews Skunk Anansie's leading rock chick Skin
Skunk Anansie were one of Britain's most succesful rock acts of the 1990s, with singer Skin leading the charge with substance and style.
The band released their sixth album 'Anarchytecture' on Friday (January 15) and it sees the quartet at their explosive best.
Pressparty caught up recently with Skin to talk about the record, her judging role on X Factor Italy and being deemed an "outspoken" artist.
Skunk Anansie have just released their new album ‘Anarchytecture’ - is it the band’s best yet?
“I think it’s up there. You always kind of feel like that when you’ve finished a new album, but the reaction has been really amazing all across the board. People are loving the new style and the new direction, so I’m pretty pleased with it.”
The group are back after having a lengthy break in the 2000s - what is different now compared to then in the industry?
“Everything’s changed - it’s just completely different times. The effect the internet has had on music is quite far-reaching. I currently see it as more of a positive than a negative. Things have to change - technology develops. You can either work with it, or you can refuse to deal with it because it’s new and awkward, and get left behind. When new things come up, we learn about them and use them to help our band instead of being scared and moaning about how things used to be.
“If you look at the 50s to the 70s, the 70s to the 90s, 90s to now - things can’t go the same. You can either work with it, or against it.”
Speaking about change - you’re now a judge on the Italian X Factor. Did you ever expect to being do a job like that?
“Not really. But the X Factor in Italy is very different because there’s rock bands on it, and there’s a lot of swearing and it’s really rock and roll. All the judges are musicians and artists, and there’s no TV presenters. So there’s a very different energy than Simon Cowell’s one - it’s very anarchic, it’s madness. I think it’s been a really interesting experience. One of the main reasons why I did it was to learn Italian - having the pressure of the TV show made me learn it a lot faster.”
Would you have auditioned for something like the X Factor in the 90s if it was around then?
“No. I was too busy getting my band together and making music.”
Was there a culture shock at all in appearing on an Italian show?
“I’ve been going to Italy for many, many years and we’ve been very successful there since the 90s. I’ve got a lot of friends there and I’m living in Milan right now.
“It’s weird, because in England people think that we disappeared, or whatever - if you don’t get the press or the radio play then people think you’re not around anymore. But in the rest of Europe, we’re now bigger in some countries, especially in eastern Europe - in Poland we’re huge, and in Russia we’re quite big. The culture shock is when we’re back in England, when people say ‘Skunk Anansie - weren’t they around in the 80s?’.”
You’re often regarded as an outspoken singer. Is that a label you’re happy to have?
“I think that it’s terrible that anyone who has a viewpoint is seen as outspoken. Bands used to be anarchic. Bands used to have snobby, arrogant individuals with big fat opinions on just about everything. What happened to that? Of course they’re going to have a viewpoint, because they’re normal people that happen to get into a band.
“We have a viewpoint, and we’re going to use it. So I don’t think I’m particularly outspoken. I don’t think I’m anywhere near as outspoken as people on Facebook. Those people like to say all kinds of crap - unfounded, unknowledgeable bullsh*t. If I have an opinion on a subject, I like to be quite well researched. I do have opinions, but I think that’s very positive. Especially now, with what’s happening in the world. We need to work out what we feel about things.
“Social media is great on one hand, but on the other hand it’s full of people who are ready to tear other people down. You say something that is taken out of context and suddenly you’re evil, or homophobic or racist or pro-ISIS or pro-Israeli. It’s really sad how having an opinion is seen as a bad thing.”
Are there many issues at the forefront of your mind right now?
“I think I’m worried about the same things that most people are. I’m worried about terrorism, I’m worried about American foreign policy, I’m worried about the reaction to terrorism, and I’m worried about the reaction to refugees.”
Feminism has been quite prevalent in mainstream music recently, with acts like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé talking about it in interviews. Do you think that’s only a positive thing for the topic?
“Definitely. I think those girls are working out what feminism means to them, and that’s really positive.”
Does being regarded as a role model put pressure on you?
“Not at all, because I don’t see myself as one. I think role models are like perfect people, like athletes who have to be so perfect and proper and behave themselves at all times.
“I think rock stars are more like inspirational figures. I don’t think people should copy my behaviour and be like me. They should be like themselves and take inspiration from me, or Lemmy, or lots of different things. I think rockstars are more like anti-role models.”
Watch Skunk Anansie's 'Love Someone Else' video below:
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