Band Of Skulls are a band on the up. Following their 2009 debut, ‘Baby Darling Doll Face Honey’, the Southampton trio have found their music used for TV commercials and Hollywood soundtracks, while they’ve toured the world with such luminaries as The Black Keys.
But as singer and guitarist Russell Marsden explains down the phone from Los Angeles, all the hype hasn’t affected the recording of their sophomore album, ‘Sweet Sour’.
“On our first album we didn’t have a big advertising campaign or a big launch or anything like that. We basically just went on tour for two years and a few things happened that introduced us to people that helped us get our music more out there,” he explains casually as he fights the droning noise of the LA traffic outside.
“Recording the second album was a brand new experience for us, which I think most bands will say when they hit this sort of level for the first time. At the time it was very unusual and weird and we had to sort of work hard just to decide what sort of record we wanted to make, but in the end we just made the music how we were feeling at the time and it seems to be the right way to go. It really has become a snapshot of how we felt at that time.”
With the release of ‘Sweet Sour’ in February, Band Of Skulls can expect a lot more time on the road, touring the new material. They’ve just wrapped up a US tour that included playing the massive twin Coachella weekends in the Californian desert alongside the likes of At The Drive-In and Arctic Monkeys.
“We were playing on the Sunday but we got there on the Friday so there was that element of pacing ourselves and not enjoying ourselves too much,” he laughs. “I saw Pulp for the first time, they were one of my favorite English bands from the ‘90s and we got to catch up with The Black Keys who we were on tour with earlier this year and of course I’m sure you heard about the whole Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre thing. It was so much more than just the 2Pac hologram, in the end with Eminem and 50 Cent coming out as well. It was a total hip hop extravaganza. It’s not the type of music we come too close to, but of course we love all their records and to see it all right there all at once made it feel like a one-off thing, but of course we’re doing it all again this weekend.”
On the subject of festivals, our chat quickly turns to the band’s upcoming appearance at Splendour In The Grass, an event Marsden reveals they’re very much looking forward to playing.
“We hoped the timing of the record this time around would really lend itself to coming back and we had a little inkling that it might, but we just found out as everybody else did that it has just been confirmed so we’re really happy. Last time was so good it’s going to be interesting to see if we can beat it because not only did we get to play Splendour but we also got to play Sydney and Melbourne as well. The audiences there are some of the best we have ever had.”
When it came to the Australian culture, Marsden found our way of life very similar to his British upbringing.
“It was very exciting ... what most Brits will tell you is it’s like a very strange version of home because the culture has all these similarities, but once you have been there for a while you realise it is such a different place.”
With a European tour booked before their Australian jaunt, which will then be followed by an appearance at the UK’s Reading and Leeds festivals, the rest of 2012 is going to be busy for Band Of Skulls.
“We envisioned bigger stages and hopefully bigger audiences as well, and she’s (the record) doing us proud!” he laughs.
Band Of Skulls play Splendour In The Grass, at Belongil Fields in Byron, July 27-29. ‘Sweet Sour’ is out now.