Writer friends Glenn Walker and Becca Butcher recently asked me to provide a stop along The Rock Blog Tour for a North Carolina-based band called Skinn Jackitt, and I am glad I took on the opportunity. I had been planning to put together an interview series for The Dream Between, and there’s no time like the present. Skinn Jakkit has just released their self-titled album on November 5th. You can pick it up here.
Being the old folkie and punk rock girl that I am, I had to admit I am not as much the expert when it comes to the 70’s to 90’s heavy rock and metal that most influences this band. I have always been fascinated and impressed by the intensity of metal fandom, however, and curious about how the business works for indie bands on that circuit. Thanks to lead guitarist Barry Sams for the interview and the glimpse into the music and music business according to Skinn Jakkit.
1. You name check musical influences from the late 80’s and early 90’s. Aside from the general category, metal – and in my limited knowledge, there seem to be many subgenres of metal – what are the terms you use to describe your music?
We pull from a lot of subgenres in metal, such as thrash, groove, grunge, hair metal, southern rock and power metal. Each one of us has a different take, but an ideal mesh that makes us who we are. For instance, I (Barry) could pull a good Fear Factory feeling riff and Shane comes with his heavy Sabbath influence to help hone in our sound.
2. Some punk rock is fairly similar to metal from a musical standpoint, but with some distinct differences, often in vocals and subject matter. Are you at all influenced by punk or other alt rock bands?
Of course. We love and respect all music types. Listening to our album, you will hear punk, thrash, hair metal, black metal, southern rock, and many others.
3. For which other subgenre do you have the most affinity?
All the guys grew up when it was simply known as “Heavy Metal”, and it still is a good way to define us. I’d say progressive metal. But, sadly, people have to label everything so most can divide and not have it become just “music.” I believe we all like something from every style out there from classical, country, metal, and hip hop. The subgenre divides most people in the music community and leaves little support as a whole. Our belief is a true musician can listen to and enjoy all music.
4. What do you think generates the deeply devoted audiences for particular metal bands and for metal in general?
Every generation has their hero of rock. Growing up for us was Metallica, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath. Then it was Nirvana, on to Avenged Sevenfold, and Five Finger Death Punch. Devotion to a band comes from several factors – the band breaks new sound territory, or just the need to fit into a group. Mainly, the music generally says something to us, we relate to the lyrics, and the music really fits and creates mood for us.
5. How did you meet and begin working with your label and marketing representative?
In 2011, we submitted to several labels and shopped for a while before we signed with TMG (Tate Music Group). They gave us what we were looking for in a label. TMG contacted us via email, they sent us a contract to review, and the rest is history. Our relationship with TMG is a well-balanced machine. They have opened up doors and Marketing works very hard to help get us out there. We really enjoy being with TMG. They allow us to be us, and didn’t come in and take over.
6. What is your strategy regarding the types of venues where you’ll seek to perform in support of your new self-titled album?
We are working on bigger venues with higher profile bands. We need to connect with larger audiences and gain support in their territories. Every venue has a place for us to develop and grow. Not all places are ideal, but a lot of clubs, music halls, and other establishments are desiring more original music. Our current game plan is to plant our feet in as many States we can for 2014.
7. What are the other important ways you are getting the word out? Do you have advice for others?
Blogging, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, You Tube, creating your own website. Allowing some of your music to be downloaded for free. You can’t be a social shut in. Really network yourself. People still like the human touch. Get out there and talk to people, club owners, bookers, and so forth. We have a manager to help us in other mediums. Whatever you can afford to do to gain any media acknowledgment, take advantage of it.
8. Tell us a bit about the most memorable show you’ve played so far.
Opening up for Eye Empire was our first big moment. We had such a small area to stand, if we took a step forward we would have fallen off the stage. Being there, sharing the stage with a well known nation touring band is surreal and a chance few bands get.
9. What song or moment on the new recording is your personal favorite?
The recording process is always excitement and frustration rolled into one. You are creating songs that will be locked in for eternity. My favorite is a song called “Farther.” I love to jam it live and it has a power and groove that stays in your head.
10. What are the things you would most like to achieve professionally and artistically?
Artistically we are always growing, changing, and evolving into our true selves. Every song we write feels better, stronger, and really defines what Skinn Jakkitt can accomplish. Professionally, we want this full time. To play music, being in a band, recording new songs, without having to rely on a 9 to 5 job. Plus selling 10 million CD’s wouldn’t be too bad.
11. How do you think indie musicians can best help each other succeed?
Support, support and support. Find a band or several bands in your area to latch on to. Don’t be a leech or a drag. But having other artists on the same level and goals will help you grow, network faster, and be well known. There are always others who think they are better, will stab you in the back, and talk junk about you. But always let your music, your fans, and your strong (band connections) talk for you.
Visit Welcome To Hell for a list of the previous stops on The Rock Blog Tour.
Keep up with me, my music, other writings and happenings at www.robinrenee.com.