As one third of UK rock outfit Band Of Skulls, Russell Marsden has met a fair share of his own heroes and many outright musical legends.
“The ones that seem to have had the biggest amount of success seem to be the ones that give the most to the cause,” Marsden says. “Our most recent one was Queens Of The Stone Age (QOTSA), and they are a really good example of a band that has a real sonic identity and it’s awesome to witness. That’s what we learnt the most, to stick with your sound and what people know you for and trust it, whilst exploring the world around you. QOTSA is a world that exists, and I guess every band is creating their own world.”
Speaking from their current tour stop in Portland, Oregon, Marsden and his bandmates, Emma Richardson and Matt Hayward, have had almost two scheduled days off in the U.S.A. Though this minimal downtime, for Marsden it feels “like I have been on vacation for a couple of months” – their March-released studio album Himalayan is affording them the travel luxury. Not bad for an album that contrasts completely to the band’s initial ideas.
“We definitely wanted to make a record of 12 singles, lots of songs that could stand on their own. When we got into the studio, our producer Nick [Launay] said, ‘You’re crazy, why are you doing this?’,” Marsden reminisces. “That’s when it started to glue together as an album, when some of the songs go off on a tangent. [We were able to] explore the possibility of songs such as Cold Sweat and I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dying and One Dead. But at the very beginning all of the songs were three minutes long, so it was like a half-an-hour album.”
Returning to Australia this week, the Southampton trio have some mighty memories to live up to. With their legendary 2012 Splendour In The Grass set still in the front of everybody’s minds, it seems there will be no Koala-hugging downtime for these talented tourists this time around.
“It’s one of the proudest possessions, the Koala picture,” Marsden chuckles. “The Koala seemed to love Matt, but I think he was pretty much bored of the photos when it came to me. So there is a photo of us sort of pushing away from each other, and it always ends up coming out around Christmas time.” (CD)
Jun 20, The Hi-Fi, The Entertainment Quarter, 122 Lang Rd, $54.90+bf, thehifi.com.au