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Devilskin Newsletter Interview

27 Sep 2017 // An interview by butch181

Before heading out on the road for their 2017 NZ Tour, Paul Martin from Devilskin took the time to answer a quick Q&A for muzic.net.nz:

Itís been almost a year since we last had a proper Q&A with the band, and of course, since then you have released your second album Be Like The River. How has the album been received, compared to your debut album We Rise?

It's been received very well. I think the first album really opened a lot of doors and minds. Especially with media overseas. The reviews for Be Like The River have been glowing, we couldn't be happier with the way it's been received.

Arguably, our population size does make it difficult to pull off large extensive national tours. Having toured internationally now, how do New Zealand crowds compare to those overseas?

We haven't had any trouble pulling off large or extensive NZ tours. Our We Rise album tour sold out 21 of the 24 dates if I'm not mistaken. Our Wellington show for the coming tour (this October) sold out 6 weeks prior to the gig. Invercargill and Hamilton are close behind. The crowds we get here in NZ are pretty passionate, we are getting some great crowds in the UK and Germany now but nothing beats the buzz of a home crowd.

In June, you guys got to perform at the Download Festival. Were you the first NZ band actually based in NZ to get invited to perform? And what could you tell us about that experience?

Yes as far as I know we were. It was a brilliant weekend. Such a buzz seeing so many of our favourite artists all in one place, bumping into some of your heroes backstage is pretty awesome. I was struck by the sheer size of Download, it's really well run and a great vibe, everyone was super friendly. We all had a blast!

How does the touring life impact you all personally? From last October until March, you effectively had three tours back to back. How have the family and jobs adapted to sharing you with your Devilskin commitments?

We have very supportive partners and families who understand the rock'n'roll game that comes with the territory. It's certainly a lot of sacrifice from all sides but we make it work.

When you tour overseas do you get much of a chance to take in the sights and check out other shows? Are there any musical acts out there that you would recommend us to check out?

We rarely get time off when we are touring but we definitely make the most of it when we do. We all love being tourists and all the amazing history of the places we travel. We got invited to a Lita Ford show which was pretty cool. We don't often get to check out many other bands unless they are on our bill. A few bands we toured with that we really enjoyed are Tiberius, Eva Plays Dead, Scarlett Riot and of course Sumo Cyco!

Youíre about to embark on another New Zealand tour, with 7 dates around the country. Youíre also bringing over the Canadian punk/metal act Sumo Cyco, with whom you toured the UK with earlier in the year. How did this working relationship start? Did it have anything to do with them also being a female-fronted band from Hamilton?

We are both signed to the same booking agent in the UK so they basically threw us together. The fact they are from Hamilton and have a female vocalist is pure serendipity. We had a lot of fun on tour and we have a lot respect for them. Hands down the hardest working band I've ever met and super nice people. We are so stoked we could get them over here.

On the previous tour, you had the same supporting band throughout the tour. This tour you have five different local bands supporting you across the tour. What made you decide to do it that way instead?

We have Sumo Cyco at all the shows on this tour and different local acts opening. It's not feasible to take an opening band on the whole tour. We are rapt to be able to share the love and have five great bands join us.

Devilskin have taken the country by storm, and are arguably a household name now. Does this mean the band may take more risks in their musical style in the future? Or will the direction of the band continue to focus on radio-friendly tracks?

Are you serious? Haha. Our focus has never been on radio friendly tracks, ever. We write what we want and what we feel and we always have. We've had decent radio play with a few singles for sure but that has never been our focus, If you have listened to our albums you would hear songs like Until You Bleed, Grave, FYI, Elvis Presley Circle Pit, radio friendly do you think? How about In Black, Violation, We Rise, Limbs, Dirt, House 13, Grave, Cherophobia, Surrender, Burning Tree and The Whale Song? You won't hear them on commercial radio. So I take issue with your 'continue to focus on radio-friendly tracks' statement. Our brand new material runs the gamut from the heaviest we have written two bare ballads, but as yet I personally wouldn't call any of it radio friendly. We are four unique songwriters who are passionate about our craft, we don't actively try and write for a specific sound. Never.

Haha fair enough. You guys enjoy using props on stage, from chainsaws to gas cannons. Have there been any other prop ideas that didnít pan out?

No, apart from getting my beard frozen when I get too close to the cannons. We like to create drama and a scene for the songs. We have always dressed the stage to make it look stunning and visually arresting. We want the crowd to feel part of a bigger picture and climb inside the songs with us.

Spending so much time together, you must all get along really well. Are there any good touring stories?

We do get along well, very well, except for this one time in Dusseldorf where we were loading into two vans to go to the railway station and travel to London and we left Nail behind. Or the same day in another part of Germany when we were going to kill our manager but we were too tired from lugging all of our suitcases, backline and merch up a dozen flights of stairs and 2.5kms to the wrong platform. Apart from that we mostly don't try to kill each other.

Which stop on the tour are you looking forward to the most? Will it be playing at Aucklandís Powerstation, in your own hometown, or something completely different?

Invercargill is the one I'm looking forward to the most. We had to miss them out on the last tour so we're really keen to put on a killer show for them and catch up with some good friends. Also it's the first show so we are pumped! It's hard to pick a favourite city as we get a great reception in all of them to be honest. Christchurch is pretty special and it's always fun playing to a packed out Powerstation. So yeah all of them!!

Thanks for taking to time to answer these questions. Good luck with the tour, and Iíll see you all at the Powerstation on the 21st of October.

About Devilskin

Devilskin is a four piece band from Hamilton New Zealand formed in June 2010, they already have guts, class, kudos and confidence. The sum total of a determined and accomplished group of musicians who know what they want, the music is organic, dynamic and real.

The band features the spectacular Jennie Skulander on lead vocals. Her powerful and compelling voice and alluring stage presence sets her apart from any vocalist New Zealand has put up so far. With an unerring gift for melody, Jennie's incredible voice sweeps from whisper to roar, rips with power, drips with melody and captivates with sincerity.

Jennie previously fronted Rotorua band Slipping Tongue garnering a swathe of fans with their videos, EPs and album. Slipping Tongue also impressed many when they opened for Coheed & Cambria in 2008.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Devilskin


Be Like The River
Year: 2016
Type: Album
We Rise
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Live At The Powerstation
Year: 2014
Type: DVD

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