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Interview: Skindred

Skindred are Download veterans at this point, having played an impressive 8 times at the festival.

We chatted to frontman Benji Webbe backstage at Download 2022 to find out his favourite Download memory (hint: it involves the Newport Helicopter) and when we can expect to hear new music from the band.

This is your whopping 8th Download! What does this festival mean to you?

Benji: I didn’t even know how many we’d done, but I knew it was a few! As a band, we look at this place like holy ground. We’ve gone from the tiny stages to the biggest stage here, and we’re highly honoured, this place means so much to us. It truly is holy ground for Skindred.

What’s been your favourite Download moment so far?

Benji: I would say the time that I brought about this thing they call the Newport Helicopter! Pulled it from the sky to the Earth, said everyone take off your shirt, and the Newport Helicopter was born. I remember what year that was, that was 2011 – the Newport Helicopter was born at Download!

Last year you re-released ‘Roots Rock Riot’, what made you decide to do that?

Benji: MONEY!!!!! Nah, we released it because I don’t think it had a fair shot, and we wanted to put it out on vinyl too. So this was an opportunity to get that record out there.

The re-release included some unreleased tracks – had you always hoped these would be released one day or were they lost to the cutting room floor?

Benji: I’ll be honest with you, I’d totally forgot about them! I was listening to the record and going “who’s this???”. We’ve wrote a lot of music over the years and sometimes you don’t remember stuff. You remember the songs that are on the actual album but the bonus tracks for Japan and Germany and stuff I don’t remember. So I was listening to ‘Struggle’ wondering “what the hell is this?!”. And I enjoyed it but it didn’t feel like me!

It’s been a while since ‘Big Tings’, is there a follow up in the works?

Benji: Oh, we’ve got some great music to come in the future. We haven’t got a name for it yet, but we did have two months in the studio recording the new album. If you like Skindred like I like Skindred, you’re gonna be in for some surprises coming from us. I’d say you’ll hear it in the early half of next year. I don’t know what it’s called yet, but we’re all buzzing for this new record.

We had a blast at Download 2022 – but tickets for DL2023 are on sale now! It takes place in Donington Park on 8th-11th June.