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Devilskin - Interview: 10 Years of Devilskin

03 Oct 2019 // An interview by RYAN KERSHAW

From the very beginning Devilskin have done more than exceed expectations; they have taken NZ rock to a whole new level, setting a precedent that many others can only dream of achieving. Their explosive live performances leave little wonder as to why they manage to sell out so many shows and their incredible music continues to amaze 10 years on.

Devilskin's debut album We Rise peaked at #1 and spent an outstanding 95 weeks on the NZ charts. It went on to become the nation's biggest selling independent release of the year. Within 10 months, We Rise was certified platinum, having sold an excess of 15,000 copies, and became the first NZ Rock/Metal album to do so since Shihad's Killjoy album 18 years prior.

Their sophomore album Be Like The River also peaked at #1, with the band winning the Best Rock Album and the Best Engineer (Clint Murphy) awards at the 2017 NZ Music Awards.

It's evident that Devilskin have done more than exceed expectations, they have started a revolution, built an army and ensured their memories will go way beyond their time.

Ryan from Muzic.net.nz had the pleasure of catching up with Paul, Nic and Nail from Devilskin as they celebrate their 10th anniversary; here's what went down:

Hi Paul, Nic and Nail, congrats on the 10 years! You guys are family so will do your thing and continue regardless of time, but that’s a pretty special milestone. A lot of us out here are stoked for you.

Thanks Ryan, it is a milestone and we’re really rapt to be able to celebrate it with so many friends. It’s been quite a ride so far and we are all fully aware we wouldn’t be in this position without a lot of support from a lot of awesome people.

You have some exciting gigs coming up, and we’ll get to those but I’d like to start with a bit about the latest single because the description definitely makes me nod my head in agreeance when I read it. As is found in the video description, All Fall Down is about “the decline of society and the martyrdom of the millennial. Set in a bleak future where we have been fed lies and shackled to a machine that devours us in the name of progress. This is a call for an awakening, it starts with one person”. It has been pretty easy to go down rabbit-holes with the availability of eye-opening information online now, but what do the ‘lies’ and ‘the machine’ represent to you?

Paul: Yes mate, there are certainly a lot of rabbit holes to go down these days. I wrote those lyrics about the frustrations of our day and age, the inevitability of progress and the meat grinder we are all getting herded into. The lies, to me, are all about the way we are told we have to live, social medias influence over people's daily lives, belief systems and emotions. The ‘machine’ is ‘society’/humans in general but basically the control centre that keeps pushing information/disinformation and emotive topics at us just to manipulate our feelings and actions, basically for commercial purposes.

What was the original inspiration that started the writing of the lyrics to the song (was there something in particular)?

Paul: No one thing in particular, I’ve started writing these lyrics probably 100 times in the past few years. It felt like it wanted to be written this time. Basically, we need to be awake, to see the obvious. There this huge, growing uncomfortability with society, politics and control. A lot has changed in a few short generations. No one knows the truth from lies/agendas now. It’s scary the way people seem to be moving more towards self-centered righteousness, zero responsibility and instant gratification and don’t get me started on the new wave of virtue signalling! Hubris is rife! It feels like entire generations are being herded like cattle. The digital age is consuming us. The most valuable commodity on Earth right now is peoples’ data. Let that sink in.

Change always starts with ourselves. How do you each apply that last line in the explanation of “It starts with one person” to your own lives?

Paul: Personally, I try to be kind, helpful and generous to those around me. Smiles and kindness are infectious. I feel best when I’m sharing my love of music and people and generally trying to avoid the negatives. It’s vital to surround yourself with positive people. Believe half of what you hear and some of what you see, seek answers and question everything.

Nic: Like Paul, I feel like kindness spreads. Every day we’re faced with challenges and choices to make, some big and some small, but we get to choose how we react, in fact our reactions are one of the only things we can control; so, I personally believe in starting off putting your best foot forward and setting some kind of example, even if only for yourself. Go out of your way to do good, or at the very least, do not-bad.

The opening lyrics of Fear will make you follow / today until tomorrow stood out to me. Is that about blindly following something, or something a bit darker?

Paul: When I wrote that I was thinking of the scene in [Pink Floyd's] The Wall where everyone is marching into the meat grinder. We get so caught up in following trends and norms that we end up blind or oblivious to what’s actually going on around us. We need to focus more on loved ones, natures grandeur and taking the time to smell the roses.

You worked with Greg Haver as the producer for the track, what is the process like working with Greg and what exactly does a producer do in your experience – many musicians are cloudy on this as it can vary quite a bit in the industry.

Paul: Yes it is something that can vary a lot, every producer has their own way, quirks and abilities to bring out the best in a band. We had worked with Greg before briefly (he played percussion on parts of Be Like The River). To us it’s all about trust and having a producer who really truly believes in your songs, dives deep into them and shows you parts of it you hadn’t seen before. Perspective and an ability to communicate in our language (music) are paramount. It’s a personal relationship that has to be rock solid. A producers’ role is to see every perspective and possibility a song has and to encourage us to be the very best we can be.

Okay so once again, I know I’ve said it already but ten years together as a tight band is an awesome accomplishment. Looking back over the 10 years are there any tracks, apart from the singles, that you would really like listeners to check out? Maybe you have a favourite track that you’ve done which is not as known, or something that musicians might like for a particular reason.

Paul: For me I’m very proud of Closer from the Be Like The River album just because of its stark simplicity and honesty, I wrote it but I don’t play on it, which is a little weird but I couldn’t be happier with the way it came out, just Nail's guitar, Jen's voice and some strings. Burning Tree and Animal are songs that seem to resonate with people too. You know you’ve done something right when people tattoo your lyrics on their body. It’s an absolute honour when people really ‘get’ your music.

Nic: Yeah it’s truly breathtaking to see people singing along to lyrics to a song that’s never been played on radio, deep cuts; I think my ‘favourite live song’ changes depending on what each crowd reacts to.
I’m really looking forward to playing some of our brand new songs in front of our crowds, there’s a song called Sweet Release that gives us all goosebumps and I think that’ll translate really well on stage.

Over those ten years, along with the wicked live shows and making tracks like those you just mentioned; you would have experienced your fair share of dealing with fickleness. Many musicians these days get one criticism and already they are considering stopping! If that’s the case maybe music isn’t for them, but for the bands that have been through shit and are feeling down – how do you all deal with those criticisms thrown at you and does criticism magically go away when commercial success grows or you have a hit single? I have a funny feeling the answer will be no!!

Paul: It’s just human nature to criticize, every artist has their detractors, it’d be a boring world if we all liked exactly the same thing. I’ve my share of bad reviews in my early years in bands but it just strengthens your resolve to improve, to show them they’re wrong. It definitely increases when you start getting some momentum and/or commercial success but the best revenge, is success.

Nic: Without sounding like a douche; I’m way too interested and invested in music to give a fuck; we do what we love, everyone and anyone is welcome to ride with us or not, but we won’t stop.

Are there any ideas you had about the music industry, good or bad, that have changed in those ten years – what are some things that would be good for musicians to know? Sometimes a change of attitude or even just trying a different way of thinking can see musicians enjoying the process more in what can be a very testing industry...

Paul: The whole industry is changing quickly, always evolving, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. You adapt or die. As you know well Ryan, attitude is really important. Knowing you don’t know everything and being willing to learn and get put in your place is vital. There’s less and less room for egos, haha!

Nic: Personally, I think it’s important to be 110% content with yourself and what you’re doing, how you’re presenting it, before trying to chase 'the industry'. We live in an age where the power has been more or less taken from things like radio and TV and placed more-so into the hands of the consumers, the listeners. People react to authenticity, and if they sense that you’re trying to be something or someone that you’re not, they’ll know, and they’ll move on. It’s probably easy to think “Oh well if I just create something super viral or edgy or, dare I say it, meme-worthy, I’ll be a superstar!” but that kind of fame goes as fast as it comes; authenticity carries longevity.

Of course, there are some great things about the industry and one of those great things is loyal fans; after all the industry is not just gatekeepers or government-aligned associations but buskers, kids buying posters, and people that support the band too! Devilskin fans feel that the band are one of them – do you find that your fans are loyal? The commitment that they show must be a buzz for you.

Paul: Man, our fans are super loyal. It’s the biggest buzz. We know we wouldn’t be here without them, and we feel privileged to meet them and hear their stories. I’ll feel forever thankful to the people who have given me the opportunity to continue playing and writing music. I have a folder of Devilskin tattoos that people have sent in. It’s so amazing when they relate to the songs they really climb into them. You feel a resonance and a connection to those people. Hearing that your music has pulled someone out of a suicidal depression is, to me, the ultimate success as a songwriter.

Rock N’ Roll myths aside, it pays to look after yourself a bit if you are in it for the long haul, and life often throws curveballs with our health… rock stars aren’t immune. Paul, when I was talking with you a few years back you mentioned that you were starting to have trouble with your hands seizing up a bit. Has that levelled out any?

Paul: Yes, I’ve had ongoing issues with my hands, I was misdiagnosed with bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, had the operations on both hands, which went badly. I have ongoing problems with the nerves in both hands now. It means I can’t spend as much time playing as I used to and I tend to dig in harder when I get excited playing so I need to get my mind on top of it sometimes. I’ve just been battling Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) this year too which is a real bitch, I don’t recommend it at all. I’ve had a comprehensive course of treatment from a naturopath and it’s coming right now but there was a few months that I couldn’t use my left arm at all so I was really grateful we weren’t touring. I’ve had a broken back before and been shot in the finger, as well as the two operations for CTS so I’ve developed my own coping systems. But hell yes, you do need to take care of yourself. Turns out you’re not as bulletproof as younger you might think.

A note on tenacity there for musicians who might be going through similar things! Paul, you have played many a dirty, sweaty Rock N’ Roll gig in tiny bars over the years. I think you’d agree that there is something special about those small shows – the energy. What is something you can say to bands who are playing those smaller shows but might just be looking at your highlights thinking, 'Download' and missing the magic of the smaller shows. Is there something they might be overlooking?

Paul: Man, just paying anywhere is a treat! Yes, the smaller sweaty gigs are so much fun and so special (and important) in their own right. But just to be able to get to play your songs in front of anyone is gold. Every gig should be treasured. Sure, the photos look great from the big shows but you don’t always see the raw emotions from the smaller gigs, it’s a feeling that just drugs you. It’s why we do it, sometimes it’s a big show, sometimes it’s a small room or even a moment in rehearsal. We gotta have our buzz, that euphoric collision of music, passion and power. It’s hard to take any shows/audience for granted.

It would be interesting to hear a bit about the music itself. Nail, in Elvis Presley Circle Pit, and in All Fall Down, you use a tapping or hammer/pull off technique for the legato riffs. It gives it a really cool sound with the open strings. In the studio recording it sounds a little harmonized but live do you just keep it more straight through the amp? Your use of pinch harmonics in some of your live stuff sounds great: Tell us a bit about the effects you use… or don’t use.

Nail: In Elvis..., the idea was to have a swing kind of feel in the pre chorus it was all done with tapping in the studio and also live. It creates a great platform for the chorus to stand out on. For All Fall Down the intro riff is all tapping on the lower strings but the effect you can hear is the double track of me tapping the octaves on the higher strings. Live I only play it on the lower strings. As far as effects go I don’t use many effects live its mostly amp, raw power.

Nic, without overanalysing anything, it’s cool to hear strong drumming that keeps the beast driving (and the kick locking in with the guitars on All Fall Down is solid!). A lot of drummers overplay, doing too much for the song but it’s important to be aware of when to keep things simple especially when leaving room for the other instruments and/or vocal in a band. What would your advice be for drummers with regards to playing tight with bass and guitars?

Nic: Thanks dude! Yeah it’s a fun little quirk in the song that adds a lot without being too over-the-top; I think I’m always trying to analyse where I can add ‘character’ to the songs, moments that would only really fit in with that particular song. And that’s probably the advice I would give; serve the song. Learn and study the song and its structure inside and out before adding the flashy moments, most of the time it won’t need half as much as you initially want to put in. I think writing and playing with Paul and Nail keeps me grounded and helps me develop really strong, solid, memorable parts, as opposed to just composing a canvas for me to go absolutely nuts on. Less is more.

Has anything changed in terms of your preferred kit set-up over the last ten years (have you removed/swapped toms, or changed stick size etc) and if so what kind of set up do you generally use now?

Nic: Oh man, it changes nearly every tour! When I first joined the band, it meant that I suddenly had to learn how to pack down my drum kit, cart it to a show, set it up, play, pack it down, rinse and repeat; and that was nightmarish for me – who was super into bands with HUGE kits (Dream Theater, Avenged Sevenfold) - so I decided to strip it all back and attempt to be a 'minimalist' drummer. I went from like 6 toms (from various different kits) and 6 cymbals to 1 floor tom and 2 cymbals. As much as I loved that, as the band was playing bigger rooms to more people I definitely wanted to 'fill' up the room, so I re-added a rack tom and a china cymbal... suddenly I’m back to a big kit! I would still prefer to play a smaller kit, but my current set-up is just what Devilskin calls for these days, as big as it is, I consider it the ‘bare essentials’ for our shows! I’ll list the full set-up below! I’ve been lucky enough to be sponsored by Paiste cymbals and have since moved on to a relationship with Sabian, and I was hooked up with an absolutely gorgeous Tama Starclassic kit a few years ago but now I’m in the middle of filling out a custom order form for a kit that’s surely going to blow people away! As far as sticks go, it’s taken me years to narrow down exactly what I love, but these days you’d be hard-pressed to find me not-using ProMark Forward 5B’s

ONWARD NZ Tour Drum Kit set-up:
22” Bass Drum w/Double Bass Pedals
10” + 12” Rack Toms
14” + 16” Floor Toms
14” x 6.5” Ludwig Black Beauty Snare
10” Side Snare
*All Sabian Cymbals*
14” Hi-Hats
18” Left Crash / 20” Right Crash
11” Splash
21” Ride
14” + 12” Crash + China Stack
19” China
Roland SPD-SX Sample Pad
ProMark Forward 5B Sticks

Paul, going back to Knightshade – you know how things can end but still hold a place close to your heart. Do you think the early years in the trenches have taught you to appreciate what you have as a band in the process as it’s happening – not that you wouldn’t, but you know sometimes it’s easy to look back and think “Shit that went quick!”. You all have a few years under your belt and surely that experience helps to keep you all grounded and actually enjoying the ride even more?

Paul: Most definitely. I learnt so much in Knightshade (I was the youngest in the band and had to learn a lot real quick), Wayne Elliott (RIP) and Rik Bernards taught me so many valuable lessons. I learnt humility and respect and the importance of conducting yourself with dignity and integrity in the music business. I would not be here without those guys. The same goes for my first band Tyrant (Wellington early 80’s), we lived and breathed our music, we rehearsed 5 nights a week for 4 or 5 years. I feel like I’m still doing exactly the same thing now as I did then, immersing myself in writing songs that mean something to me, rehearsing as much as possible, putting in the hard yards with the band, touring relentlessly.

Bit of a random question, but with touring in mind: has touring or seeing other parts of the world opened your eyes to how other cultures live. Have you discovered any new foods that you like or little locations that you felt at home in?

Paul: Haggis!!! Italian food is amazing too, not so big on the German's breakfast of meat bread and cheese. Loved our brief time in Switzerland, Vienna is a place I could spend a lot more time in. I’m a history buff so I loved looking around the ancient sites in the UK and Europe. Hell, Devilskin took me to Stonehenge, the Berlin Wall, the French Coast and the cathedrals of Europe. I feel really grateful to be able to do this through music and especially with my son Nic.

Nic: I absolutely fell in love with Italy last year. We only visited Milan and everyone there was saying “Oh, you need to visit further south; it’s much nicer!” so I’ll definitely be heading back there one way or another (and, yes, their pizza IS the best!). One of the coolest cultural differences about Europe is the living, breathing rock/metal music market! There are obviously just so many more people over there, and a lot of them really love heavier music, so being at bigger shows and festivals like Download was reassurance that rock is not dead, it’s far from it.

With the exception of Faith No More and a few other pro acts, good communication between band members really helps to keep that band together, and more importantly helps the band members to actually enjoy being in that band. Do you feel that is a big part of what has kept you all going strong for 10 years and do you have any thoughts on that for the bands reading this interview?

Paul: I can’t stress enough how important communication is. It’s everything. A band is a fine balancing act of passion, emotions, ego, family and lifestyles. It takes work and if you don’t enjoy the people you’re in a band with you are absolutely wasting your time.

Nic: Yeah honestly I can’t think of anything worse than trying to do and express what I love to a group of people that don’t get it or don’t understand, or even don’t want to. Collaboration in this field almost always requires compromise, and definitely demands good communication, transparency, and honesty.

You’ve met some amazing acts over the years; apart from just being f**king cool in its own right, what has it taught you? Has it been interesting to see the ‘human’ sides of these famous musicians' personalities?

Paul: Very interesting and illuminating to get a glimpse into the worlds of Slash, Motley Crue, Disturbed and the like. Getting to know Slash's guitar tech (who is also Angus Young's tech), King Diamond's head of security, one of Halestorm's guitar tech worked with Dicky Betts' for years. Getting to know people like that you get a sneak peek into how these machines operate. We honestly learned so much touring with Halestorm and Sumo Cyco. Lovely, lovely people and good friends for life. We thought we were working hard… nope THEY showed us what hard work was all about. The key was they all really enjoy what they are doing and their passion is palpable. They treat their people well and their energy was so infectious and the whole crew was a part of it. Invaluable lessons for sure.

Nic: I think touring with Halestorm, who are most definitely ‘successful musicians’ no matter which way you look at it and witnessing just how down-to-earth and ‘real’ they are, was a true eye-opener. It made it a little easier for me to discern the people who are doing this for attention and glory from the people who are simply creating and sharing themselves through their art. They’ve never stopped caring about what they do, and they’ve never let go of the creative reigns, it’s really inspiring.

Are there any thoughts or physical aspects of being in the band that you can’t do now that you could do in the early years of Devilskin? In other words, sometimes as time goes on we have to accept things or let things go in order to progress to the next chapter. Are there any areas in your career in which you have had to do this?

Paul: For all of us family comes first and always has. We are all so lucky to have fantastic partners to support and encourage us. There’s a lot of juggling that goes on just to be able to go on tour for weeks and months at a time. Everything else comes easily when you have a solid base like that. I guess we have learnt over the years a little about how the industry works and our place in it, there’s stuff you accept and there’s stuff you try to change or mitigate. You just can’t lose sight of who and where you are.

Nic: Paul pretty much summed it up! It’s important to remember that, if you want something to be the thing that occupies most of your time, you have to realise what exactly that means, and what you’ll have to sacrifice for it. Most of the time the hardest part of it is simply being absent from your daily-home-life for big chunks of time; you’re gonna miss birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and it is hard, but that’s just the reality of truly dedicating yourself to anything! Like Paul said we are a family and we’re all very understanding and flexible, no one would prioritise the band over a serious personal or family matter.

Another thing I was wondering: I’m guessing you all don’t live around the corner from each other, so how does logistics for band practices work? Has much changed in the ways that you have band practice over the last ten years?

Paul: No nothing really has changed we still all turn up to our rehearsal room a few times a week and work our asses off. We also pretty much live around the corner from each other so that does help!

In the early years your street team was really a brilliant support for you. Can you tell us a bit about the 'Devil Army'?

Nail: They are an awesome bunch who help spread the love, over the years they’ve delivered fliers and generally put the word and out; always supporting us. From time to time we’ll hold a special evening at our HQ and invite them along for a party and jam a few tunes.

Of course, the big news to go with the tenth anniversary is the tenth anniversary tour!! Fans can look at the links provided to buy tickets, and will there any new merch available?

Paul: Yes, we have a new range of merch available some kick ass designs all the usual: tees, hoodies, singlets, smaller sizes and some awesome hip flasks we’ve designed too.

Are there any venues on this tour that you haven’t played before?

Paul: A few actually! We’ve never played Factory in Hamilton, or the Hunter Lounge in Wellington, and the War Memorial Centre in Whanganui sounds interesting! We are really amped to play in Christchurch’s Town Hall too.

Your live show is high energy and the atmosphere is one of the magic things that people can expect if they enjoy a night out watching Devilskin. What can new fans expect who might be attending their first Devilskin show on this tour, or thinking of coming along?

Paul: For this tour, people can expect to truly celebrate what the past 10 years has been like for us as a band; we’ll be covering songs and highlights from our entire career, some well-known, some nostalgic, and some you’ve never heard or seen before!

Nail: Well it’s an anniversary tour so we’ll be playing songs from our whole catalogue as well as a few new ones, we try and up the whole level of production every time we tour so people who have seen us before are not seeing the same show. It makes the shows better and pushes us to add something new.

Guys, I thought it would be great to hear from some of the passionate Devilskin fans across Aotearoa and beyond. Here's a few questions from the fans!

Adam Corbett: After playing music for a while before Devilskin took off, did anything prepare you guys for what it was gonna be like?

Paul: Hey Adam, no not really. We had no idea the band would take off as it has. There’s no prepping for that sort of thing, we just roll with it!

Nic: I’m not even sure if we’ve experienced “taking off” in its truest form, yet! But like Paul said, I don’t think you can fully prepare for it, you just gotta be open and ready to take opportunities if they arise!

Des McMillan: I always thought that Blackjack was a band before it's time but would Devilskin ever recover any of their songs?

Paul: Cheers Des. They were great days and some of those songs still sound great. Who knows mate, we are really enjoying writing new stuff together but never say never. Anything could happen.

Greg Wells: Is Nic going to join the Harley riding club… and if Jen is not, will she get a hot rod?

Nic: I’m gonna hassle ‘em for an E-Scooter I think..! ????

Charlie Julio Darrell Speight: What are each of your most memorable fan encounters?

Nic: I’ll never forget loading into a really tiny, awkward, beat up pub in the UK; I didn’t feel particularly great about how the whole show was going to go in general (just general fatigue and it was one of the last shows on the tour), and a man named Carl was patiently waiting for an appropriate moment to come and talk to us. We’d never met him or even visited this part of the UK before but he knew everything about us, but nothing about it was creepy whatsoever. His passion and love for our band and our music reminded me of how deeply invested I get into music that I love. He had brought specific gifts for each of us, mine was a piece of Avenged Sevenfold merch because he had heard me gush about them being the reason I picked up the drums in some interview somewhere. He was very nice and very genuine in his support for us. Shout out to Carl!

Paul: I remember meeting a girl in Dunedin who told us that our lyrics saved her from suicide. Her eyes said it all. That just floored me, very emotional, I’ll never forget it.

Wes Morrissey: With the ten-year anniversary tour of the band next month is there any songs the band would love to play live from their own catalogue and do they each have their favourite track they love playing live each time?

Nic: Never See The Light is usually a special moment in the set, personally. Not only is it a groovy tune that lots of people sing along to, but Paul usually takes a moment to dedicate it to our friend Shoki (Cripple Mr Onion) who passed away, and/or people who have been affected by suicide or struggled with mental health issues. It brings a special kind of vibe to that moment in the show.

Paul: To be honest I enjoy playing all of our songs live Wes. I think The Whale Song is one of my favourites right now. It’s a lot of fun to play live. But I don’t get tired of playing any of our songs.

Carola Brown: Devilskin's music is very healing. They're so talented and being a part of their army is very special; I'm from Scotland and am lucky to be a part of it here in their homeland! Who came up with the awesome team plan?

Paul: Thanks so much Carola. The plan is constantly evolving and morphing but we are all totally involved. We adore Scotland too Carola and can’t wait to get back there!

Corey Grace: Wondering what the deal is with Road and Sport HD? Seems a good one whatever it is!

Paul: They are huge fans and wanted to do something proactive with the band to promote the synergy between our audience and their customers. I’ve been haunting their shop for decades. We think it’s a great fit. Nail and I get a custom bike for a year then we sell/auction them and start on another build.

Nick Graham: Any plans on covering old band material? (World War Four, Slipping Tongue etc)

Paul: There are definitely some great songs in our past repertoires but we are all constantly writing new material that we find really exciting. Maybe one day...

Nathan Limmer: How do you combat white antiperspirant build-up on black clothing?

Paul: With fire!

Nic: I fuck with the cream-based antiperspirants hard, don’t have time to gamble on roll-ons or sprays lol

Cary Tomlinson: What instruments can each band member play apart from what they normally play or sing?

Paul: Nail plays guitar and bass, Nic plays guitar, bass, percussion, keyboards and drums, Jen plays a little keyboard and Paul plays guitar, bass and a little trumpet.

Nic: Paul sings, too!

Ken W. Barr: When is the new album going to be released?

Early 2020 Ken!

Warwick Donaldson : Hey Ryan, just a comment rather than a question, I would just like to thank Devilskin for doing what they do! I really enjoy their music and videos! Live an Awesome experience! Great to see people doing what they enjoy! unlike myself working to line someone else's pocket to survive!

Paul: Thanks Warwick we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t love it mate, thanks for sharing our passion.

Before we finish, what would be two things that your music heroes have said that will always stick in your mind?

Nic: “Be like the river and cut through the stone; Fight like a lion defending its home” my Dad wrote that. And I don’t know if I’d specifically call David Bowie a personal music hero of mine, BUT this quote from him absolutely resonated down to my core and I really stand by it: “ I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfil other peoples’ expectations; I think they generally produce their worst work when they do that. I would say if you feel safe in the area that you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in – go a little bit out of your depth – and when you don't feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.”

Paul: Stick to your guns, and don’t be afraid to fire them!

And lastly… to a lot of people, you are those music heroes now. You are the musicians that young rock fans look up to and wanna play like. What would you like to say to them?

Nic: See David Bowie quote above ^

Nail: Practice practice practice, be professional, set goals for yourself.

Paul: Follow your heart

Thanks heaps Paul, Jennie, Nic and Nail. Have an awesome tour, enjoy the ten year celebrations and keep going f**king hard!

All live gig photos are courtesy of Chris Morgan/Morgan Creative


About Devilskin

Devilskin formed in June 2010 in Hamilton New Zealand and 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.

On lead guitar is Nail from the popular Waikato band Chuganaut who won the NZ Battle of the Bands and the World Battle Of The Bands in 2004. Played BDO in 2005 and opened for Iron Maiden at Mt Smart stadium in 2009. Chuganaut has played numerous national tours and released several singles, EP’s, videos and an album. Nail's searing guitar work and high energy performance bring real intensity to the live show. Nail also performs with Beckoned.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Devilskin


Year: 2020
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Be Like The River
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
We Rise
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Live At The Powerstation
Year: 2014
Type: DVD

Other Interviews By RYAN KERSHAW

Coridian Newsletter Interview
26 Jan 2018 // by RYAN KERSHAW
2017 was a busy year for Auckland Rock act Coridian; they released their incredible second EP Caldera and performed relentlessly around the country - which included playing at the New Plymouth TattooFest as well as supporting Devilskin and American Rockers Fuel. Needless to say, they have a lot to talk about - and talk they did, to MNZ's Ryan Kershaw: Hi guys, congrats on the latest release.
Temples on Mars - Agent Excited About New Album!
16 Mar 2016 // by RYAN KERSHAW
Hi guys, your Kiwi fans are excited to hear of a new album in the making. For the Muzic.
Interview: Devilskin
16 Dec 2014 // by RYAN KERSHAW
Hi guys and gal – well done on your Live at the Powerstation DVD and CD release. Some amazing bands have played that stage from Fear Factory to Marilyn Manson and now Devilskin!
Interview: Static Era live at Music Is Dead
06 Dec 2014 // by RYAN KERSHAW
  Interview with Static Era for Muzic.net.
Cairo Knife Fight tear it up with Shihad, Airbourne and I Am Giant
19 Nov 2014 // by RYAN KERSHAW
  You have just finished up your Australian leg of the tour with Shihad, Airbourne and I am Giant. How was Aussie?
The 'Final Fling' for MINUIT
06 Nov 2014 // by RYAN KERSHAW
  From The 88 to Last Night You Saw This Band there has been a great output from Minuit. Quite often there is a lot of work behind the scenes with music that the listeners don’t hear, from rehearsing to promotion.
Mulholland Interview - 'Stop And Start Again' Album
07 Oct 2014 // by RYAN KERSHAW
Congrats on the new album – and the Silver Scroll nomination. You can tell that a lot of work went into this release, it’s tight.
Electric Wire Hustle - EWH Are Back With 'Love Can Prevail'
03 Oct 2014 // by RYAN KERSHAW
Congrats on Love Can Prevail. Your release If These Are The Last Days sounds like fun not just with the writing but also with the mixing of the track too (remix or no remix).
View All Articles By RYAN KERSHAW

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