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Green Light in the City

Interview: Skin from Skunk Anansie

1 February 06 interview: Ben Spurr

"I’ve got my own band, got my own crew and we’ve been up and running for three years now. I think it’s good to look forward, not to look back."

Many will remember Skin as the lead vocalist for Skunk Anansie in the mid- late 90’s. Together with bandmates Cass, Ace and Mark she released a string of great rock tunes such as Selling Jesus, Charity, I Can Dream and the anthemic Weak. Their split a few years ago left void in the hearts of rock music fans across the country and their gigs at Rock City remain talked about in Notts to this day.

Skin (aka 36-year old Deborah Anne Dyer) is now back and touring her new album Fake Chemical State, including a Rescue Rooms gig in March. Still distinct in her style and armed with a range of solo material from heartfelt ballads to straight up headbangers, her live performances are always charged with high voltage energy from start to finish.

Tell us about your days before Skunk Anansie, before you made it in music?
I went to Teesside University really, well Polytechnic it was at the time, studying interior design architecture and that’s where I first started singing. I got hassled to be in a band for the whole year and by the end of it I said "yes" and "why not?" Then I really got a taste for it really while I was studying, but I stopped a bit just because I had to finish my degree.

Do you miss the days of Skunk Anansie and the other guys that were in the band?
Erm, well actually one of them is here with me now, Mark Richardson. I still see them all the time and we’re all friends. It’s all cool really, I don’t miss being in a band with them, or at least I don’t most of the time. Little things remind me of the old days like when I go to a venue and there’s a picture of us. I’m like “Oh yeah, that was great’ but I’m very happy with my boys now. I’ve got my own band, got my own crew and we’ve been up and running for three years now. I think it’s good to look forward, not to look back.

How do you think your first solo album Flesh Wounds was received by the press and the general public?
Well critically it did quite well, in New York the albums sold quite well but in England it’s like nobody knew it was out. The record company didn’t really put any kind of money or effort into promoting the album. It was all word of mouth in England. Whereas in Europe, where they put a bit of money into it and it sold over half a million copies. It was a bit annoying that no-one really knew I had an album out. I think with this record and being on a new label, people will think it’s my first solo album, and that I’ve not done anything since Skunk Anansie.

Tell us about your upcoming album Fake Chemical State. What can we expect and how does it differ from your last?
It’s much more loud and aggressive. The first download single Alone in my Room, is quite indicative of the rest of the album. Flesh Wounds was a very dark time, lyrically it was really quite vicious. A lot of the songs were really quite nasty and that was buckled by the fact that the music was mellow so that you could hear that in the lyrics and in my voice. This time I the lyrics are a lot lighter… a lot more positive and a lot less blue. I do like my dark music and things that are blue in mood. I’m not in to happy music or bright shiny pop or anything like that. This album is much more feisty and a lot louder, it’s more of a dirty indie pop kind of thing. It’s a heavy album sound-wise but lyrically it’s a lot lighter. That’s how I feel really, where I’m feeling comfortable, where I’m at.

What are your future plans?
The whole album project is going to keep me busy. It started with a cool little venues tour in November to bring it all back up again. It’s really good fun to do little venues because in Europe we played to crowds of five and ten thousand before we came here. So it’s really nice to do venues where we are right in front of people’s faces and can see what’s going on. Then basically it’s onwards and upwards, shooting a new video, recording some new B sides and then touring the album and festivals. We’re just going to be out there from now on, it’s hectic!

Anything else you'd like to say to LeftLion readers?
I think if people listen to this album with open ears they will love it. This is the best album I’ve ever recorded by far and I’ve never said that about anything before.

Skin plays at the Rescue Rooms on 28 March 2006. Fake Chemical State is out 20 March on V2.

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