Alternative metal act Skindred recently kicked off their UK tour with two sold out shows at Brighton’s Concorde 2. BIMM Music Journalism students Makky Hall and Zoey Gibbons took the opportunity to talk to the band’s Benji Webbe (vocals), Mikey Fry (guitar) and Arya Goggin (drums) to about the opening night, attitude when touring and what it takes to make a band last.
How was your show last night?
Benji: It couldn’t have gone better. It sold out, we got everything right, we really enjoyed it.
Mikey: We hadn’t been together for a few weeks, but there were no big clanging mistakes or anything. So, considering we were a little bit rusty it was great. We were patting each other on the back afterwards.
Arya: It was fantastic. I used to live in Brighton so it’s almost like a hometown show. There were lots of family, lots of friends. The Concorde 2 always has a great vibe, plus to do two nights here is amazing. It was sold out as well, so what more could you want?
Is the Concorde 2 the venue in Brighton you enjoy playing the most?
Arya: Possibly, we’ve never done The Dome, so after doing two sold-out shows at the Concorde 2 then I think we’ll want to do The Dome next time. That’s the next stage up. Out of that and the Brighton Centre, I think I’d rather do The Dome as I think there’s more vibe. It’s got a cooler atmosphere, closer to town, closer to The Lanes, and the bars.
Is there any pressure for the first night of the tour?
Benji: Do you know when you see the words ‘Sold Out’, there’s no pressure really, it’s sold out! We were playing these places when it wasn’t sold out, and that’s not so cool. Sold out makeslife so much easier.
Arya: I like to get the first couple out of the way, to be honest, so you can settle back in. I like to get to that part where I’m on autopilot and I’m not thinking about anything, I’m just playing and it all flows well. Usually, after a couple of shows, you get into that groove.
Do you think that Brighton is one of the more musical cities in the country?
Who said this? It’s massively vibrant, there’s certainly a scene here. Several different scenes, in fact. And then you have something like BIMM, too, which is a massive help. You have kids coming together and making bands through the university, which I think is wicked.
When you started out as musicians, do you wish you had somewhere like BIMM and bands like you giving masterclasses?
Mikey: I had like a youth centre where I grew up, and they had bands play and stuff like that. I found that really exciting.
Would you talk to the musicians and ask these sorts of questions?
Mikey: When I was a kid you would hope to see them in the street and be like, Excuse me mister… There’s was nothing really like this when we were kids, so I think this is a great thing.
Do you have any advice for the students?
Arya: Yes, I’d take every single opportunity. If someone asks you to jam, say yes, if someone asks you to do an interview, say yes. Just say yes to everything because you don’t know where it’s going to lead you. Don’t be picky.
Skindred members come across as very humble, do you find attitude is key to starting out as a band?
Arya: Yes, I think the best thing, aside from being talented, is to be nice, be likeable. That will be your greatest weapon. If you can hang out and people want to talk to you, that’s how some tours will happen, that’s how a lot of ours came about.
Benji: We knew how to conduct ourselves backstage and towards bands, we were never pushy.
Mikey: We see other people act negatively; we try not to be like that.
Benji: It’s like with Gogol Bordello and Disturbed: they asked us to tour, we didn’t ask them. It’s because they like the show and they realise we know how to act.
You guys have been together for nearly 20 years as a band, what do you think the key has been to lasting that long?
Mikey: I’d say tenacity.
Benji: We just enjoy it. We’re all mature enough to say if we weren’t loving it. None of us are living in mansions, but we love it because it’s what we do.
Arya: Id say it’s he fact we have never got to where we are going, we are enjoying the journey. Every year the band gets bigger, every year we are ticking off new boxes. Personally, I have my own goals. This year I want to do this, I want to do that. Sometimes I tick off these boxes, sometimes I don’t. But if I don’t hit a goal, then it stays on the list for the next year, and so on.
Benji: I’m still waiting to be at that level, we don’t think we’ve made it. We’re just happy to play, like coming to Brighton and playing sold out shows.