Interview: Skyclad

mit Kevin Ridley vom 19. März 2012 via Mail
Kevin Ridley, Sänger und Gitarrist der britischen Folk-Thrash-Metal-Band Skyclad, gibt uns ein Update über den aktuellen Status des in der Mache befindlichen Nachfolgers vom 2009 erschienenen Album „In The...All Together“ und plaudert nebenbei noch ein bisschen aus dem Nähkästchen über seinen persönlichen Weg zur Musik und die allgemeine Geschichte der Band mit ihren Höhen und Tiefen.
Dabei erfahren wir auch, dass das anstehende Album womöglich ganz im Zeichen des 20-jährigen Bandjubiläums stehen könnte, jedoch dann wahrscheinlich wie sein Vorgänger auf jegliche Gastmusiker verzichten müsste. Ob die Scheibe noch in diesem Jahr das Licht der Welt erblicken wird ist bisher noch unklar.
Außerdem berichtet uns Kevin von Skyclads Supprt-Gigs für Black Sabbath, welche die Band Mitte der Neunziger Jahre gespielt hat, von seiner Solokarriere, von geplanten Unplugged-Shows und weiteren spannenden Themen!
Viel Spaß beim Lesen!

The interview:

Alex: Hi Kevin! How are you doing?
Kevin: I’m fine thank you and pleased to be doing this interview.
Alex: How is the band feeling after more than 20 years in business? Already feelin’ some old age symptoms? ;)
Kevin: Well I think we might take things a little easier nowadays but we are still here and still enjoying ourselves.
Alex: What would you say are the main-aspects which make your music special and unique?
Kevin: Well I think it’s all down to the people involved. I think the guys have a particular way of creating music, which for them is largely rooted in 1980s and, while they might dabble with new ideas, they tend to stick with what they know and do well. I think they have a strong sense of what is right for the band.
Alex: How would you roughly describe the band’s stylistic development and history? Where would you see the main stations or “milestones” of the band’s past?
Kevin: As I say, the band grew out the 80s metal scene but with Skyclad we wanted to add some different influences, both lyrical and instrumental, and this gave the band a distinctive sound for the first albums. What has been interesting though is that, while we kept the basic mix, every album has its own character; which is the result of different players using different studios and so on. So I think there are a few ‘milestones’ for the band like adding keyboards to the ‘Prince of The Poverty Line’ or realising the ‘concept’ album approach of the ‘Answer Machine’ or ‘A Semblance Of Normality’, through using session players and lots of instrumentation.
Alex: If it comes to your personal opinion, what would you say has been your greatest success for the band?
Kevin: I think it has to be the fact that we’re still here after 20 years, despite all the ups and downs and comings and goings, and still enjoying it.
Alex: How did you personally get in touch with music? Have there been any special moments or events in your life?
Kevin: I got into music simply by watching bands on TV as a teenager and deciding that ‘that’s what I want to do’. There was no turning back then and there has been a lot special moments with music and I’m glad to say that I think they greatly outnumber the bad times.
Alex: In 2009 you released your latest album „In The...All Together“. When can the fans expect to enjoy a new LP from you?
Kevin: Well I said we like to take things easier now, so we are always behind with this for various reasons. We are starting work on new material but it may take some time yet. If we could get it together this year (2012) it would be nice, but it’s more important that it’s good.
Alex: What direction will the next record take if it comes to musical or stylistic questions? Any major changes planned? Maybe some guest vocalists?
Kevin: We really liked the way we did the last album as it was very much a band effort and I think we might repeat that process but you can never rule anything out with Skyclad.
Alex: Is there any estimated release date or working title, yet?
Kevin: We were looking at doing an anniversary compilation some time back and I came up with a few ideas then – obviously about past times, anniversaries, landmark dates etc – as we didn’t use these it might be that the new album could come from one of these ideas; but I haven’t decided yet.
Alex: How are you personally involved in the band’s songwriting and how do you all actually “create” the music?
Kevin: As I am responsible for the lyrics, most of the songs are co-written (usually with Steve). There’s a lot of music in the first place and then I try to sort out some vocal parts but we like to try stuff out as a band in rehearsals and work on the final arrangements together at the demo stage. This means we have a very good idea of how the songs will sound before we go into the recording studio and we don’t add lots of extra stuff there; though there might be few additions and surprises.
Alex: You once went on tour with Black Sabbath, how was it? Do you have any memories about those gigs and the time back then?
Kevin: Yes, Skyclad supported them on a UK tour in the mid 90s. It was a very enjoyable tour – short but enjoyable, mostly because they were well organised. We were actually in the middle of recording an album when the chance to go on tour came and I think Steve was happy to get the chance to meet his hero (Toni Iommi). For some reason I can only ever remember the last gig at Shepherds Bush Empire; but we did have good catering and the after show parties for a support band.
Alex: On March 3rd you headlined the „Up The Hammers Festival“ in Athens. How was the show? Did anything special or especially memorable happen?
Kevin: It was great to go back to Athens for a gig, but we were a little worried about the situation in Greece before we went. However, the night we played was sold out, so there was a wonderful atmosphere and the gig was fun. The fans there are always very enthusiastic and we played a special set of songs from ‘The Noise Years’; from the first five albums. After the show we managed to drink in ‘anarchy square’ till six in the morning and, hopefully, we won’t leave it another six years before we go back.
Alex: Are there any (special) gigs or is there something like a bigger tour planned for 2012?
Kevin: We have a few festivals planned for this year, but the main focus will be on writing the new album.
Alex: As you wrote in your forum, there are also some major events for your solo career scheduled to take place in this year. What can you tell us about that?
Kevin: Well I’m still looking to do some gigs with ‘Flying In The Face Of Logic’ but, of course, I also have to think about a follow up album. So I have lots of writing to do this year.
Alex: How is your solo project different from Skyclad?
Kevin: I think it’s more like the acoustic or ‘unplugged’ side of Skyclad. We decided to concentrate more the heavier side of things with the band, but I enjoyed doing the acoustic stuff too so this was a way of doing both things for me.
Alex: Do the other band members have side projects, too?
Kevin: Well Steve and Graeme are involved with Satan. They have some gigs to do but there’s also talk of a new album from them.
Alex: What’s up next for Skyclad? What else can the fans expect from you in the near future?
Kevin: A new album is our focus for this year (and who knows how that will turn out) but we are also going to do a few more ‘special’ gigs focusing on the early albums or maybe to celebrate the anniversary of this or that or maybe even another ‘unplugged’ tour. The nice thing about being a ‘heritage act’ is that we have time to do what we enjoy and a few possibilities to choose from.
Alex: Thanks for taking the time for this interview!
Moderation: Alexander Kipke
Hört hier in das 2009 erschienene Album „In The...All Together“ rein:
[amazon "Skyclad - In The... All Together (2009)"]B005KYU4N4[/amazon]

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