Interview with The Skunnered
Lamitschka: Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
The Skunnered: We‘re four Scots playing our own version of folk music, which often strays into country, rockabilly and other styles. Really we just let the song dictate the style since we‘re not tied to any one genre. We have a fairly unique sound - mandolin, congas, lead guitar and double bass. Andrew usually sings the lead vocal, though we all get a shot from time to time. Paul plays lead guitar, Andy on assorted percussion, and Chas on bass.
Lamitschka: How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?
The Skunnered: Busy! We enjoyed playing at the Loch Lomond Folk Festival in July as well as the Paisley Festival in April. We‘ve been in the studio as much as possible, recording our next album - more than half finished at this point. We‘re taking our time with this one.
Lamitschka: What is your latest CD and how's it doing?
The Skunnered: „Good Morning Glasgow Town“ has been out for over a year. It‘s available on iTunes, Amazon, etc.
Lamitschka: How did you choose the title for the CD? Is there a story behind the name?
The Skunnered: The title song came to Chas while out walking his dog on a rainy Sunday morning, high in the hills of Neilston looking down on Glasgow. Andrew threw out Chas‘s melody and wrote a better one! It‘s always been a favourite, going down well at gigs, receiving much airplay, and popular on the Net- it was a natural choice for the title of the album.
Lamitschka: Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?
The Skunnered: Yes, they‘re all originals- mainly by Chas, sometimes in collaboration. Chas is very prolific, and we have a large stockpile of songs in the pipeline.
Lamitschka: Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).
The Skunnered: The title song we mentioned earlier. „Wrecking Ball“ was written during a long train ride through Germany, watching building activity going on. „Dig“ is about being stuck in traffic, written while watching guys putting cones on the road. „Going Green In Neilston“ was commissioned by the local Trust to highlight recycling issues, and features 72 local schoolchildren singing the chorus- this was a joint writing effort which we all enjoyed. „Whisky Joe“ is a character you‘ll find in many pubs hereabouts, where we have been known to play. „The Road To Aberdeen“ is another travelling song. „The Ballad Of Captain Farrell“ takes a character from the well-known song „Whisky In The Jar“ and explains what he was doing before that song.
Lamitschka: What is the difference between your last CD and your current one?
The Skunnered: The current one, which we hope to finish soon, features various guests on such instruments as sax, violin, and keyboards as well as vocals. It‘s a very varied sound. The first album was just us- well, apart from 72 kids!
Lamitschka: You did a duet with Diana Schad. How did that happen to come about?
The Skunnered: Diana is a frequent guest on a radio program called „The Saturday Sandwich“, which features Andrew and Chas. She plays a mean piano and sings like an angel, so it was a natural step to ask her to join us on „Raintown“.
Lamitschka: What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what's the story behind it?
The Skunnered: We all have different answers to that one!
Lamitschka: What inspired you to become a songwriter?
The Skunnered: (Chas) No one thing- I find song writing satisfying and inevitable. I can happily write a song myself (eg „The Coldest Corner“, „Whisky Joe“) but for variety it‘s often a good idea to collaborate- perhaps I‘ll write the music to someone else‘s lyrics („Sometimes The Bad Guys Win“), or someone will write music to my lyrics („Dig“) . Andrew, Andy and Paul often re-arrange the basic song and a couple of times („Good Morning Glasgow Town“, „The Bar-L Blues“) this has meant throwing out the original melody and substituting another one- yes I‘m looking at you, Andrew- which improves the end product.
Lamitschka: Is there any place you haven't played that you would like to?
The Skunnered: A couple of times we‘ve considered playing in Berlin- we have family, friends and fans there- but it‘s been too hard to work out the logistics. Hopefully someday!
Lamitschka: How do you feel about being winning the „Scotland Is Alive With Music„ song writing competition? What has it done for your career?
The Skunnered: We‘re very grateful to everyone who voted for „Young Charlie“, and glad you enjoyed it. It‘ll be on the next album.
Christian Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de )