Interview: Skunk Anansie

Over two decades ago, Skunk Anansie burst onto the scene; a riotous, defiant group with equal parts talent and attitude. We caught up with guitarist Ace to discuss the past, […]

Over two decades ago, Skunk Anansie burst onto the scene; a riotous, defiant group with equal parts talent and attitude. We caught up with guitarist Ace to discuss the past, the future and the changing sound of the band.


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S] What are you feeling about the upcoming 2017 tour?

A] Sheer excitement! We just finished playing three months of festivals and gigs which was quite heavy, but we had a good time and the festivals were amazing! It’s exciting really because obviously, we are working on some new material for the next tour, as well as the old stuff a lot of fans have been asking for. We’re working on a new setlist of old and new songs, new set production and a new single, which is all really exciting.

S] How do you look back at the success of the band, and the experiences you have from 21 years of performing?

A] It’s amazing really, after playing the festivals we’d walk off stage after playing to like 50,000 people, and I’d turn to Mark (Richardson, Drums) and ask “How are we still getting away with it?!”. I’m actually relearning a lot of old material for our next tour, and its amazing because playing our old stuff reminds me of all the times we performed it: touring America, having fun y’know? It all comes back to you as you play these songs. It’s been an incredible journey and I’m lucky to have done it, and still be doing it, It’s like a dream job that still hasn’t ended!

S] Which of your songs are most important to you?

A] The song, Yes It’s Fucking Political, which I love personally, but that really sticks in my mind because we did actually perform for Nelson Mandela, in South Africa for his 80th birthday. He went on stage before we played the arena and addressed the nation, and this venue with like 80,000 people just goes mental, and we played Yes Its Fucking Political (Skin actually changed the words out of respect!) and that was just an ultimate memory for me!

S] Is it important to you as a band to try new things as a band?

A] It is really important for us to evolve and grow, not just to stay current and up to date, but to stay fresh and do something new, and so it stays exciting for us to do. We’ve always tried new things and developed our sound, even back in the day we tried different sounds, worked with different artists and producers, played with different types of songs and adapted our style. The new material incorporates electronica and punk, our influences are all around us and feed into what we create, keeps us fresh and our material diverse.

S] How do you feel you have developed and changed personally?

A] As you grow older, you don’t fundamentally change, you just have a lot less free time than when you’re younger! You have more time to see friends and go to gigs when you’re younger, which is harder as you have kids and responsibility. But basically I feel I havn’t changed that much, I still am really passionate about music, still have that energy for it and love listening to new stuff. I spend a lot of time with other artists and musicians it it keeps that energy and that love going.

S] How do you feel about new musicians and the differences and changes in music for new musicians?

A] I look at it like football almost: they inspire and perform but obviously have a limited timespan for them. As you start to get older you do slow down a bit, but you see them opening academies, becoming tutors and teaching the younger generation. It’s like a natural evolution, as we get older we sort of become the teachers for the next generation. But that’s a two way street, and you can be inspired and get so much energy from working with the younger generation.

S] How has the band dynamic changed over the years?

A] We all want the same thing, which is what keeps us all united and facing the same direction. We are all passionate about music, we all want to keep performing, and enjoy what we do. We all want that so we work well together and have space as individuals, and our own lives and interests. But the fact we all share the same goals is the sort of golden thread that keeps us all together.

S] What influences do you have outside of music?

A] Honestly, I am quite obsessed by music, but I don’t really watch any TV, don’t really watch movies. But I am totally obsessed with music, and I think in a way that is a secret to success: Being passionate about what you do!

Skunk Anansie will be starting a whole new tour January 2017, and it promises to be the biggest and best yet.

James Elston

About James Elston