All sweet, no sour for Band of Skulls

Back in 2009 when my daughter was born, I voluntarily took on the overnight feedings as I had done with my son almost four years prior. One Friday night, I was tuned into Muchmusic and happened to catch the video for I Know What I Am by Band of Skulls. They were like nothing I had heard in a very long time. Owing much to bands like The White Stripes and Led Zeppelin, the group still managed to carve out a sound that was unique and fresh all at once.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Band of Skulls’ Russell Marsden in the fall of 2009 where we chatted about how he didn’t necessarily feel as though the band was trying to capture a specific sound or era with their debut record Baby Darling Doll Face Honey. Through a series of happy coincidences, iTunes took note of I Know What I Am and gave the song away as one of their free downloads of the week. 350,000+ downloads later, the band’s buzz continued to grow, landing them placements on the soundtracks for True Blood and Twilight New Moon.

Fast forward two and a half years later and the mighty Band of Skulls have unleashed the “dreaded” sophomore record, Sweet Sour. To be honest, the group fell into none of the traps that some bands do when it comes to writing the sometimes difficult follow-up effort.

While in Montreal last month, Band of Skulls bassist Emma Richardson chatted with The MusicNerd Chronicles with respect to the road to the group’s newest effort.

Given the buzz the band built off your debut, did you feel any pressure, internally or externally, when it came to making Sweet Sour?

Richardson: I think the only pressure was what we put on ourselves. It is our second record but all we spent time worrying about was making a good record and whether we could do it or not. We had spent almost two years on the road and rather than taking a break, we went right into the studio to record.

Looking back, do you feel it was wise to continue working as opposed to taking a bit of a break to catch your breath?

Richardson: No regrets about going right into the studio. I still think it was the best thing for us. We went into the studio still in ‘live mode’ where we basically jammed out songs and recorded everything we did. That is how Sweet Sour was born. Before we went into the studio, we had been throwing some ideas around and working on songs while we were on tour.

You are already a few videos deep with Sweet Sour. How important is it to the band to make videos in a day and age that traditional outlets have almost foregone airing them?

Richardson: Videos are very important to the band. It is another creative outlet for us and to match it up with our music is very exciting to us. I think that most of all, we enjoy putting a story in a video that people might not associate with the song. It interests us very much to see what people take away from the song after they see the video. It is good to get different perceptions at the end of the day.

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