Today’s interview goes a little far. We’re going to Africa. To be more precise, to Botswana, where a not huge, but hardcore horde of metalheads live and struggle for the cause.
Skinflint, the band of the day, has a solid almost ten year career with five long length albums, some awards, and gigs around Europe.
“Chief of the Ghosts” is their fifth release, and it goes, musically speaking, a little bit beyond its predecessors with the mix with ancient African rites and myths now incorporated to the music, not only to the lyrics as they’ve done before.
So let’s get started with!
Metal Addicts – The band is a power trio, and the lineup has been the same for many years, which is a very difficult thing in the world of the music industry. What’s the secret? Can you tell us?
Alessandra Sbrana: It took us a while to come up with a solid group. We auditioned almost everyone we knew to join our band, even people who had no musical experience! There is no secret really, we have just been lucky to find each other, we have a similar outlook on music, the industry and the type of musicians we want to be. The important thing is to keep communicating as a band, and understanding each other vision.
Metal Addicts – I won’t ask you how difficult it is to keep going being a metal band in a country that has no tradition at all about metal, because I know it’s very hard, and I tell you, I’ve been talking to bands all around and they all say it’s not an easy task. So how do you keep the flame?
Alessandra Sbrana: It has not been easy, but that’s what makes it so worthwhile. We embrace challenges and we are really passionate about music and creating a genre that will push boundaries, creating something that has not been done before.
Metal Addicts – I ask because bands sometimes stuck doing the same shows, in the same places. I’ve seen that a lot. How’s your gig agenda for 2017? Any tours?
Alessandra Sbrana: We try to tour as much as possible; we have performed in Kenya, South Africa, and Europe so far. Performing at home is always fun but becomes challenging when trying to expand our audience. We have some tours in the works and we will keep you posted with all the details!
Metal Addicts – You make a very nice and unusual mix with ancient African myths, legends, and heroes. Whose idea was that to insert into your music those influences? How do you get the elements to write the lyrics? Do you have a personal research?
Alessandra Sbrana: Giuseppe Sbrana is responsible for the bands lyrics, and combining African Mythology with Heavy Metal. Most of the tales were inspired through storytelling, reading and our experiences living here in Africa.
Metal Addicts – In “Chief of the Ghosts” you go deeper into the world of African music, as we can see by songs like “Borankana Metal”, which is instrumental, and “Ndondoncha” where you added some elements as the claps and some percussion instrument that I couldn’t recognize. Is it your intention to even deeper into this world and add more African music elements to your music?
Alessandra Sbrana: Chief of the Ghosts is the beginning of a new direction for our band. We hope to keep exploring more traditional rhythms and find interesting ways to combine them with heavy metal.
Metal Addicts – Skinflint’s got a lot of personality. It’s a band that makes old school metal with sounding influences of Black Sabbath, and I must say that it’s your biggest influence, Iron Maiden and others. You play slower rather than fast, and the result is a very heavy and powerful metal music. Can you tell us about the bands that made your mind? And how about modern metal, what’s your opinion about it?
Alessandra Sbrana: Thank you for saying that, each of us listens to different genres of music from Black Sabbath to Manowar to Led Zeppelin and Muse. There are some really talented modern bands today Opeth and Gojira’s latest albums have an impressive technicality to them. We recently bought Metallica’s Hardwired to Self Destruct and can’t stop listening to it!
Metal Addicts – I can see that the band is well established. But how well? Can you actually make a living out of metal? Or do you have other jobs?
Alessandra Sbrana: At the moment we work and study. I work as an Interior slash Graphic Designer, Giuseppe is a manager at an Advertising company and Kebonye is currently doing a PHD in Chemistry. We would love to do music full time though, and hopefully the Gods of Metal will help us achieve that!
Metal Addicts – Well, guys, that’s all for now! Keep the flame on!