Skin - November 2005

If the recently reformed Take That has shown us anything, it has to be that fame and success are a pair of fickle mistresses. If the ‘greatest boy-band of the nineties’ could only produce one member with any shelf life, what chance do a band who made their success by running against the Brit-pop tides of the day have? Taking account of this, former Skunk Anansie front-woman, Skin, should be viewed as nothing if not brave. In the five years since Skunk Anansie disbanded, she’s been a busy bunny. She recorded and toured 2003’s 'Fleshwounds' and has now returned with 'Fake Chemical State', an album she declares is the first she’s enjoyed recording: “I’ve never enjoyed it before, I’ve always tolerated it. They’ve all been a pain in the arse to make, but Fleshwounds was the hardest.” She goes on to say “I used that album as a chance to develop my own sound. I learnt so much about who I was and what music I wanted to make” and sums up in that it was all about: “darkness, blue mood and mellow vibes.” Why did it take so long to get the new, grittier sounding record out? And did she feel any pressure to conform to record company visions of her? “I signed a deal to one set of people, but those people changed and then the new people weren’t as supportive. They seemed directionless.” She’s since changed label and started over again, but has put all of the upheaval behind her: “I love the new album” she purrs. When not creating the new record, this summer has seen her in Ibiza, perfecting her DJing. An art she began perfecting when aged just sixteen: “I play two or three different types of set: Indie; Reggae and Chill-out” which is mostly Old Skool Soul. “It’s everything from Betty Davies to Al Green. I have loads of collectable vinyl.” For a woman who describes herself as “a strong character” she’s unsurprisingly quick to make known her views on Pop Idol and its derivatives: “The current rock scene is a reaction to Pop Idol. Pop Idol gave rock music a kick up the arse. It’s quite bright and alive again because people want blackheads and acne from music.” So who does she rate most highly among this ‘rejuvenated’ rock scene? Bloc Party, Clor and Hard-Fi are just a few of her suggestions. Due to the sore throat she’s been nursing I realise it’s best to let her get back to preparing for the show, and get myself back to the bar. After all, it’s two hours ‘til she’s on stage and what else is there to do in that time?