Thrash Hits

April 20th, 2011

Interview: Benji Webbe of Skindred talks about Union Black, Papa Roach and his dreadlocks

Welsh ragga punks, Skindred are releasing their fourth album, Union Black on 25 April 2011. We thought it would be a good idea to ask frontman, Benji Webbe a bunch of questions about the album. It’s a good idea!

skindred 2011 wales union black benji webbe thrash hits

Expectations are very high for the new Union Black record. What were the main differences when writing and recording this album?
It was killer to record our fourth record in the UK, with British producer James “Le Rock” Loughrey. All our other albums have been recorded in the States with an American dude producing, so it’s different working over here in the snow and cold rather than the sun of LA and Florida. It’s UK all the way this time baby.

What made you choose producer James Loughrey and Britannia Row Studios?
It was about time to do something that we both wrote and recorded from start to finish in the UK. With James when we met him he seemed to be on the same page from the start, and it wasn’t that hard conversing with him about the goals we wanted to achieve with Union Black. James seemed to really understand all our ideas and thoughts as to what we wanted to convey.

What’s your favourite track off the album?
I enjoy ‘Badman’, but that’s today. It changes all the time, some killer tunes on there it’s hard to pin that down.

Skindred Union Black album cover artwork packshot Thrash Hits

How have your influences changed as a lyricist?
I’m inspired by life, the planet and all things that go on while I’m here – so it’s quite a vast well I have to draw from.

What do the words “Union Black” mean to you?
A celebration of the United Kingdom’s diversity and liberty.

‘Warning’ features guest vocals from Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach. How did that come about?
We’ve been touring and friends with Papa Roach since 2004, on and off. We wrote ‘Warning’ but I just wasn’t happy with the post-chorus – it needed something better than I had written to lift it. I always wanted a guest on the album, so I asked Jah Coby to step up and he was more than excited about recording with us as he is such a big fan of Skindred. He turned up at the studio a few days later and just blew us away with that he had written, it didn’t take him no more than four takes to nail his part. Great performer and killer vocalist – he brought the energy that was needed. The song speaks for itself.

Do you have a favourite Papa Roach song?
‘Getting Away With Murder’.

Union Black could be the most musically diverse record we’ve heard from Skindred. Can you tell us more about your non-metal influences?
To be honest we just do what comes naturally and all listen to music across the spectrum from metal to dubstep and dancehall. We are a melting pot of ideas and influences – and the end result is just Skindred.

How would you say your music has changed since starting out with Dub War?
I would say it’s changed. I’ve always used the same recipe but we’ve got it down to a fine art now! Love me some rock ‘n’ reggae.

What can people expect from the upcoming April/May headline tour?
Representing the UK we’ll be stepping onto the stages to deliver a performance that will make all Dred fans old and new proud of us. We do this to win people’s hearts and blow their minds. It’s been a while since we did a headline club tour of the UK and we are more than ready to rock. We may come in peace but we are gunna leave you in pieces! The 2 bands that are accompanying us are gonna warm the place up and we are going to set it alight! Expect us to rock in the way that only Skindred can.

What does 2011 hold for Skindred?
I don’t have a crystal ball but I’m expecting to see a whole lotta bouncing!

We’re dying to know – what’s the secret behind good dreadlocks? Is there a product you can recommend?
Yes! Camel poo and silver back dropping. I have a mate who works in Bristol Zoo and he supplies me with the silver back dropping quite easily, but camel poo is hard to come by in the UK. I’d say as rare as rocking horse shit!

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Skindred spring 2011 tourdates
April
26 Brighton Concorde 2
27 Portsmouth Pyramids
28 Norwich Waterfront
29 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall
30 Nottingham Rock City
May
02 Exeter Lemon Grove
03 Cardiff University Solus
04 Poole Chords
05 Liverpool Academy
06 Sheffield Corporation
07 London Forum

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Union Black is released on 25 April 2011. You really ought to go and buy it. Buy British.

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