Skunkhour‘s bassist Dean Sutherland drops in to reminisce their second album and rap about what’s brought them together for their one-night-only set. By Rip Nicholson.
SKUNKHOUR interviewed May 18, 2017
For Street Press Australia [VIEW HERE]
After breaking up in 2001, due to their heaving churn-out of albums and touring, Australia’s most missed funk mongrels are returning to Metro Theatre to play, for the first time ever, their Gold-selling second album Feed in full.
“It feels exciting and a lot more relaxed,” reflects Sutherland. “There’s not so much responsibility on us now. When you are a fully functioning band touring all over the countryside you think, ‘Are we doing enough radio play, are we getting promotion?’ This time it’s more — do the gig, get up to the Metro. It’s a lot of fun.”
“We haven’t aged terribly, but I can say one thing, we are playing better than we ever have.”
Within two years of the Sydney outfit forming, they had released their self-titled LP on Beast Records. However, after signing with Sony/Epic the pace changed somewhat going into their second album Feed (1995). “It wasn’t as clear cut as the first album, which we had mixed in about eleven days. We had a vision of what we wanted so we didn’t really have any time to mess around. But in the second album, some of the studios we were working in weren’t in particularly good working order so we went from one studio to another. So there was quite a lengthy process to getting that one out to be quite honest,” he recalls. “We were very busy, especially with Acid Jazz [Records]. They allowed us to tour Europe.”
Skunkhour supported UK outfit Galliano on a local tour in ’93 and signed with their UK label. They proceeded to take their ska-funk and rock-rap routine to new frontiers of the northern hemisphere. Coming home, the album caused an upsurge in the band popularity. Co-producing the seminal album was Paul “Woody” Annison (who has just put his touches on the latest Living End LP), with David Hemming overseeing the process. “Yeah, that’s [Hemming’s] style. A bit regimental, very polished. We had a few other producers like Kalju Tonuma and Dorian West producing, and Greg Henderson mixing. So it was quite a few,” he laughs as he rattles off the credits. “Good people, and we were quite happy with the end result, really.”
The band’s name (originally, Skunk) came from their love of merging both ska and funk,which, mixed with roc and rap, them billed with a diverse range of bands. They played with everyone from Aussie rock giants INXS and Midnight Oil to hip hop heavyweights like Ice Cube, Cypress Hill and Beastie Boys. “It’s an amalgamation of styles all running underneath the Skunkhour banner, you know? That has allowed us to tour and play with bands from rock music straight up to hardcore hip hop.”
Their return to the stage shows promise for a rewind to ’95 when Feed barnstormed the nation’s festival stages. “We’ll give them what they can recall from the last time they saw us in the ’90s. It’s always high energy, it’s a lot of fun. It’s very funky. Old school fun, man. We haven’t aged terribly, but I can say one thing, we are playing better than we ever have.”