Exclusive "ME"TAL 101 interview with
Skindred's Arya Goggin
I recently reached out to the SKINDRED camp after reading that they were releasing a new album, KILL THE POWER, in early 2014. I started following Skindred's lead singer Benji at the tail end of his career with Dub War. Dub War was an innovative metal band with elements of Reggae and Punk. Some of their sound could fit into the category of The Clash and Bad Brains. The band broke up shortly after I got into them and it would be a few years later when Benji's contribution on the track "FIRE" off the Soulfly debut cemented my love for the reggae metal sound. Luckily Skindred was formed and they've been producing some amazing and ecclectic "ragga metal" music for over 10 years. I'm honored to present an interview with super talented Arya Goggen, Skindred's man on the skins and a damn nice guy.
HMT: I've been a huge supporter since Babylon(Skindred's debut) first was released. You guys really bridged a gap between the reggae and metal scenes. Has there ever been any opposition from labels or the record industry for you guys to fit a certain mold?
Arya Goggin: We Just do our own thing and do what comes naturally. We are all from such different and diverse musical backgrounds that we don’t have to try to be anything as our diverse musical influences from Metal & Reggae to dubstep , punk and dancehall mean we end up sounding like Skindred. We figure that if we keep doing what we do the way we do it and if the audiences keep growing in size and the chinese whispers keep spreading and more people keep turning onto what we do then there will be labels that want to release our music . That said we have a great new label in Double Cross/Cooking Vinyl Records/ and have also licensed our forthcoming album to Napalm Records in GSA too who similarly have the passion.
HMT: On that subject, what are your thoughts about musicians using band camp and kick starter sites to help offset costs of producing new music now that the record industry isn't much help.
AG: I think these sites are great for certain bands . Pledge is another good one. Every band is individual though and one way of doing things doesn't work in my mind for everyone. Obviously if a band that doesn't have an audience tries to raise money and fails its not a good look so be careful if you are going this route.
HMT: Every Skindred album is really diverse. You've even implemented dub step into your music. How important is it to keep experimenting with new styles? CAN I get any hints on what I can expect from the upcoming CD?
AG: For a taste of the new album we have just posted a link to a track called Ninja. Our keys player Dan Sturgess has just done an excellent lyric video for it. Its what we would call a fun track from the album. What I would say about this album is its very much about the songwriting. We spent a lot of time working on the songs. So for me personally I would say its possibly our best album songs wise as for musical styles its pretty diverse but still has the big kick ass ragga metal anthems on there as well as an acoustic track which is a first for us.
HMT: You guys spend a lot of time on the road. With most of you being together at least ten years now in the band, does it make being away from your families any easier?
AG: That side is always hard but our families are friends of the band and come out to some of the shows and at the end of the day it's what we do.
HMT: What are your plans for touring the states to support the new release this year? Any smaller venues?
AG: WE are mega keen to tour the States. On the last album cycle we missed touring the states apart from two great club shows at SXSW and everytime we were going to play there it didn't happen. BMG delayed the release of the album while they set up a US office then decided not to release by which time we had spent two years touring Union Black and were on to the next album. We are really keen to be back in the US market so definitely go tell your local venues to book Skindred and hopefully we will see you soon.
HMT: Lastly give me your thoughts on musicians branching into reggae for the quick buck? Does it hurt bands that genuinely care about and support the true roots of the music?
AG: I would just say its best for acts to do what comes naturally. Usually when you try to do something forced it doesn't work and if it does and you do make a quick buck good luck to you but you are likely to disappear as fast as you came.
Follow Skindred @ the following links for more info and pick up "KILL THE POWER" when it comes out JAN 27th, 2014.