By Shaun Christie
I remember when I first heard the opening chords of ‘I Know What I Am’ by British rockers Band Of Skulls. And I knew by the chorus this was a band that I was going to love, as would many others. They also sealed the deal for me by rhyming ‘Hotel’ with ‘Taco Bell’ in THAT song that became such a mammoth hit for them. Riding high from the success of their quite excellent debut ‘Baby Darling Dollface Honey’ the band recently dropped album number two. ‘Sweet Sour’ (which is available to buy now) sounds like the band are not just hitting their stride, but are quite literally pummeling it. Sure its got guitar riffs to inspire the next generation of bedroom guitarists but it’s the albums quieter moments that show how much the bands grown. It would be no exaggeration to compare some of their acoustic ditties to melodic wunderkinds Fleet Foxes. The band is stopping by LA for the world famous Coachella festival and for a date at LA’s El Rey Theater on April 16th (for which they will be joined by Atlas Jams favorites The Sheepdogs: Check our interview with them here)
Drummer and songwriter for the band Matthew Hayward very kindly took some time out to discuss all things Coachella and Taco Bell with us –
Atlas Jams: The band is heading out LA way soon to play the infamous Coachella festival. Are you looking forward to it?
Matthew: Yes absolutely. There is no other festival quite like it. We have played it before so feel very lucky to get invited back to play it again. So yes very excited.
Atlas Jams: The band is known for playing a tight and blistering live set. Do you find that harder to create in the more spacious and airy festival setting?
Matthew: Not really, I don’t think. The thing about festival is that it’s like a sort of vacuum with the fans and the bands off in our own little worlds for a weekend. So I feel that we can feed off that good atmosphere and everybody usually ends up really enjoying themselves, us included.
Atlas Jams: The band just dropped their eagerly awaited second album ‘Sweet Sour.’ How has that been for you so far?
Matthew: Really good. We just finished up a tour in the UK and played to great crowds. The crowds seemed to really be going for it, which is how we deem if the album is being received well. Whether its been fans of our first album or somebody who heard new single on the radio its all been really encouraging.
Atlas Jams: The album contains a lot of slower acoustic tracks, is this something the band will be exploring further?
Matthew: It’s definitely something we have always done. We never want to block ourselves into just one particular style. We enjoy writing and playing the slower tracks just as much as we like playing the upbeat rock tracks. As a band it is just something that comes very naturally to us.
Atlas Jams: All 3 members are involved in the songwriting process for the bands songs. As the drummer do you find it harder to convey your input or do you also dabble in other instruments?
Matthew: Yes actually, my first instrument was in fact the guitar. So writing on the guitar has never been a problem at all for me. We are all very open to everyone’s ideas. If I come up with something on the guitar I’ll show it to Russell (singer/guitarist) and then he’ll add his own spin to it. We are both very different guitar players but he’ll add his own vibe to what I come up with and it creates a very ‘Band Of Skulls’ sounding song. Its all 3 of us coming up with stuff and putting our own spin on it all and that ends up creating the songs you hear.
Atlas Jams: The track ‘I Know What I Am’ from your debut album became a huge song for the band. Is there any track on the new album you feel will follow in its footsteps?
Matthew: I think the songs become what they’ve become you know? Once we have recorded and released them its out of our hands. I mean we can tell when playing live what songs people are really responding too but it’s really out of our control. We just like to see where it goes.
Atlas Jams: So what inspired the immortal line ‘Hotel, Taco Bell’ (as sang in ’ I Know What I Am’)?
Matthew: Ha! We were all sitting around writing it and just drawing from experiences that were happening in our lives at the time. We had just gone from working sort of crappy pub jobs to being flown round the world and it was all just a whirlwind. It was just really a sort of tongue in cheek snapshot of our lives at the time and what we were seeing during it.
Atlas Jams: Did Taco Bell ever get in touch to offer the band free Taco’s for life?
Matthew: I am still waiting for that call man. They haven’t approached us yet but if anyone wants to offer us free tacos I am certainly in.
Atlas Jams: And lastly what will the band be doing for the remainder of 2012?
Matthew: Oh touring man! We got like 3 days off then it’s off to SXSW and touring the States and Canada. Then we’ll be heading to Australia and doing more festivals. So in a nutshell, Touring.
For more information on Band Of Skulls head to – http://www.bandofskulls.com