Text: Laura Rosierse
The Australian alternative punks in Skegss have just released their new single and video for ‘Valhalla’ and have also just announced the release of their second album ‘Rehearsal’! ‘Valhalla’ sets the tone for the album, being a shot of adrenaline and energy both in sound and visuals. The video is directed by Jamieson Kerr and stars a viking trio enjoying a gluttonous feast before their own massacre… With their music slowly making its way towards the rest of the world and the album being on its way, we decided now would be the perfect time to have a chat. We talked to Ben (vocals and guitar) and Jonny (drums) about inspiration, releasing music, hiring limos and how Australia has handled the pandemic rather well!
Hi! Who is Skegss?
Jonny: We usually say a beginner rock band, I mean we still are beginners.
Ben: We are up to our seventh year now.
Jonny: My dog was still a puppy when we started making music.
The upcoming album is the second album for Skegss, how did the album come about?
Ben: It starts with writing songs all the time, everyday. It’s waking up and creating music, when you make songs all the time, as they are developing and everyone puts their input in and whether or not they are vibing with a song, you start creating a collection. When we have a bit of a collection, we book a studio and record demos, for this album we did that a couple of times. We almost had an album’s worth and then did it another time, because we had another album’s worth, and then we picked the ones we liked and focused on them. We had quite a few songs, because we had quite a bit of time so we just gathered them a bit. Nothing was rushed, our previous EP’s and things we only had a couple, we didn’t have much money and only two days to make an EP. Jonny: The biggest difference is that we had more time so we could sit on the demos for a bit and get a feel for them and listen to them for a fairly long time, which is cool to have that luxury.
Did the situation of the past year help with that extra time you had?
Jonny: We had it finished earlier, but it has been good to sort of have a little break because we have been going like crazy for six years, so it has been nice in that way. It definitely has been terrible for some people, but we live in quite the rural area so it doesn’t seem much different, except for travelling. But the pubs are still open!
You said the past few years have been busy for you as a band, what were you mostly busy with?
Ben: Before COVID hit, for about four years straight, we had been touring about six months a year. Jonny: Yeah, definitely spending more time away than at home.
Did your touring schedule and the change in circumstance influence your lyrics and what usually inspires you to write songs?
Ben: The lyrics are pretty personal, we do also enjoy having a lot of fun with words. We try to create a lot of meaning to it, but sometimes it’s not even musicians we’re inspired by, but like Dave Chappelle, the comedian. I like a lot of their philosophies because they make you think a lot about life and I find that pretty inspiring for lyrics. Sometimes it is just one song you hear of an artist that strikes a chord and you just want to grab your guitar, it just ignites something in you! It is epic when you stumble across that.
Jonny: And when it comes to the meaning of lyrics, sometimes it’s cool when you don’t know exactly what something is about, sometimes you get disappointed when you find out what a song is actually about.
What do you enjoy most about releasing music?
Jonny: The best thing about releasing music is kind of to sit back and enjoy what you’ve made rather than being stressed about being in the studio, it’s nice that it’s all finished and that you can get out and play the songs.
Ben: Yeah, it shuts off the chapter, you have been channelling a lot of energy and now you can close the door to those moments. You can compare it to a friend that might have been in a funny situation and they are constantly talking about it and eventually they get it all out there and then they’re finally over it!
Skegss’ are an outstanding brand not just because of the music but also because of their logo, artwork and overall graphic design. There is one simple secret to their cohesive branding: Jack Irvine. The graphic designer also worked with Billie Eilish and Troye Sivan and creates all Skegss’ logos, artwork and graphics!
Ben: We just let him take care of that stuff. Jonny: We’ll send him our songs and he comes back with a design, and it works!
What are some achievements that you are most proud of?
Ben: For me that was supporting the Goons of Doom back when we first began. The fact that we got to play with them and meet the guys. Jonny: Splendour in the Grass is a big festival, and we got to open it. We got a limo there that cost more than the fee we got, and we were the first on so there was no one there, but we had a lot of fun.
How do you think the past year has changed your career route?
Jonny: It slows everything down and gives you a bit of time to rest, in a way it is also refreshing. It will make you appreciate stuff more once it’s all coming back again.
Ben: Yeah, but Australia is looking like there will be more shows happening again, we had a gig the other day. The back end of this year is looking pretty optimistic.
How was one of the first gigs you played after being away for a while and what was the atmosphere like?
Ben: It was all COVID-friendly, we were playing to people that were in pods and it was a pretty big show. Jonny: It was good fun, it was a family-friendly event so everyone was very much like watching very obviously haha!
What are your plans for the near future?
Jonny: At the moment we’ve got plans to do a national tour, all the cities. I just guess it’s pretty hard to go overseas for a while, one day we will again. We do have some little shows planned! Ben: If everything we have planned so far is actually going to go ahead, we will be quite busy by the end of the year.