Rocksins recently had time to catch up with Skindred front man Benji Webbe on the release of their new album Shark Bites and Dog Fights
Rocksins: Tell us a bit about the upcoming album “Shark Bites and Dog Fights”, how do you guys feel it went?
Benji: I can’t really speak for the guys but I feel that this is a great representation of the way the band feels right now! its got a lot of different elements musically that we haven’t touched on before.
Rocksins: Are there any collaborations on the album, any future plans for collaborations with other artists?, how did you get involved with Soulfly originally?
Benji: At the moment I haven’t got any plans to collaborate with any one, even though I have had a few offers to work with some bands, but the right one just haven’t come along yet! Max Cavalera was a big fan of my former band DubWar and he invited me to work with him on his first Soulfly album, we have never been close friends but it was good working with the band.
Rocksins: What’s the writing process like for you? Has it been different through the different albums? ( i.e. the more you write the harder it gets, or is it the opposite? )
Benji: One thing about this record and particular album, is that we had 3 weeks to actually record it before we set off on a US tour. The music was recorded and we all were happy with the way it sounded, but 60 percent of the lyrics and melody’s were not in place or written so Matt LePlant ( The producer)came out and set up his studio in the back of the tour bus. We worked on the songs together.
What I found best was after sound checks and some shows when I was still hyped up, I would do vocal takes on the bus. I know that the live energy that was still with me from the gig was going down on the recordings. We have never recorded in that manner before and I feel that the vibe was captured on the album because of that, this being our 3rd recording we just didn’t want to hash out the same stuff, I found it very difficult as since we were co producing I had to please 4 producers and that can be very frustrating, I’d come up with something and half of them would dig it and the other half wouldn’t, so I really had to work on this record, I think that we all found a happy medium and are buzzed on the out come of the album”¦
Rocksins: What got you into the metal, or the “Ragga metal” genre at
first? or has it always been a passion of yours?
Benji: From I was a kid I loved punk music not so much Heavy Metal to begin with that came when I began working with Dub war, but growing up in a diverse mixed community where most black kids are embracing their black heritage example R n B and Reggae, but I was always the weird one coz heavy guitar based music was so appealing to me, I guess i was like a repressed gay dude in a way, always fancying the whole metal punk thing but denying my true feeling in fear of what my mates would say , but Dub War set me free and brought me out of the closet and introduced me to a shit load of metal music, as a kid I loved bands like The Special and The Clash and wanted to do something that used Reggae Dancehall elements and Heavy Metal just like The Clash The Police and The Specials used the Ska Punk and reggae vibes of their time.
Rocksins: How did Download 08 / Sonisphere 09 go for you? What’s it like for you to go from playing to a huge festival crowd, to playing a small local venue the following week? – Which do you prefer?
Benji: Download 08 really showed me for the first time that we have amazing growing fan base in the UK that is getting stronger constantly and Sonisphere 09 just confirmed that for me again, I love Skindred fans and even if you are not a fan but you come to see us and enjoy the show drop your inhibitions and rock out then that will do for me, we love to play festivals but that’s just because you get to see loads of bands for free and catch up with tour buddy you haven’t seen for some time, It can be like a school reunion for rock starts, it’s so much fun, whether I like festivals or small club shows ? to be honest as long as there a room full of people who want to rock out and just get down to us it doesn’t matter to me personally, saying that we have played some of our best show in rooms that are empty where there is just a hand full of people”¦
Rocksins: Following on from that, do you guys have a favourite or most memorable venue?
Benji: The House of Blues in Orlando Florida seems to be a great club that we have been back to time and time again and we always have a great reception and a killer show.
Rocksins: How was it to tour with bands such as Bullet for my valentine and
Benji: The Bullet tour was a great tour for us, as a lot of their audience are so young we were introduced to a whole new gang of metal kids, it really help with our fan base in the UK, Skindred have had a relationship with Disturbed way back from 2000 when we opened for them down stairs in the Astoria, we both have been waiting to tour together from then but the time has never allowed, as we both have had our touring commitments, but 2008 got us both the opportunity to play together it was incredible, our 2nd arena tour we have done in America since we toured with Korn in 2004, Disturbed are really cool people and know how to treat supporting acts, I hope we get to play a European tour with them cats.
Rocksins: What’s your favourite song to play live?
Benji: It changes from tour to tour , I’m really excited to play the new songs in the coming tour.
Rocksins: What’s in your music play list at the moment?
ELVIS PRESLEY/ SUSPICIOUS MINDS
FRANK SINATRA/ MY WAY
MICHEAL JACKSON/ P.Y.T.
KINGS OF LEON/ SOMBODY
ELO / MR BLUE SKY
STEPHEN MARLEY/ MIND CONTROL
KANYE WEST/ FLASHING LIGHTS
SKINDRED/STAND FOR SOMETHING
Rocksins: Finally, what’s your most rock/metal moment in your career?
Benji: The day I was asked to stand in for Jonathan Davis and sing Adidas for Korn, at Download it was a very METAL MOMENT IN MY LIFE, it was a case of me sucking or rocking and from what I’ve read of Korn Fan forums I rocked ! so I was happy with that…
Skindreds new album Shark Bites And Dog Fights is released on the 21st September 2009 and can be pre-ordered HERE.
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