“Revolutionary” hardcore at the Church is fine. And postmodern performance art at KFN can be nice. But sometimes on a Saturday night you just want some big time Rock’N’Rollers to kick your ass with some ultra-groovy riffs. Fortunately for us, English rockers Band of Skulls will be taking the stage at Union Transfer tonight, providing us with said riffs. The band are supporting their third LP, Himalayan, which dropped last month. The album is their most epic yet, maintaining the bluesy garage tinge of their aesthetic, but in a fashion that could rock arenas (And, of all of the bands that I currently champion, I think these guys and gal may just be the most likely to be arena-bound.) Drummer Matt Hayward recently took some time to talk to me about the band’s latest record, touring, and the cheesesteaks they will be indulging in prior to tonight’s performance.
Izzy Cihak: You recently released your third LP, Himalayan. How do you feel as though the album compares to previous releases? What were the album’s most significant influences?
Matt Hayward: We feel that this record has evolved very naturally from the previous two… We try not to let anything directly influence what we write… We get ourselves into a space we feel comfortable in and see what happens.
Izzy: You recorded the album with Nick Launay, a pretty legendary producer. How was working with him? Do you think he helped to bring anything new to your sound?
Matt: We look at records as photographs, a snapshot of that particular time. Nick Launay was the perfect photographer. We had a great time working with him.
Izzy: For that matter, do you have any particular favorite records he’s produced throughout his career? I’m really into his work with Nick Cave (across his various projects).
Matt: My recent favourites are Dig, Lazurus, Dig!!! and Yeah Yeahs Yeahs with Mosquito but they chop and change all the time… The most amazing thing was finding out all the obscure artists he has worked with in various different scenarios… The stories are immense.
Izzy: Not to pull focus from your musical side, but you all have a really amazing sense of fashion. What is it that the sartorial side of Band of Skulls takes inspiration from?
Matt: Not something we think about really… Much more focused on the music, I’m afraid. As long as it’s relatively clean.
Izzy: You just kicked off a US tour. What can be expected of the live show here in Philly?
Matt: We’ve been looking forward to returning to Philadelphia for a long time… Every time we’ve played here we’ve had a great time. We’re dying for some cheesesteaks… That’s what will be fueling the show.
Izzy: Your US tour takes you through mid-June and then you’re playing a plethora of dates in Australia and Europe throughout the rest of the year. I’m curious, are there any shows that you’re especially excited for, whether cities that you love to play, cities that you’re yet to play, or just settings that you think will be especially cool?
Matt: We’re happy to play anywhere… Really. I think we’re most excited about visiting places we ‘re yet to play… Exploring new countries is something we’re very fortunate to be able to do. Saying that to return to places has equally a great feeling. It’s all good.
Izzy: And, in addition to touring, how does Band of Skulls plan to spend the rest of 2014?
Matt: That’s it, touring! The world’s a big place… Got some serious ground to cover!