INTERVIEW: Paul Martin – Devilskin (Australian Tour 2021 Interview)
Devilskin is my kind of Metal, brutal, honest, thought-provoking and with that balance of Rock and Metal that sets them apart from the pack. Without any shadow of a doubt ‘Red’ was one of the real gems of this year musically and best of all we get to see them here in Australia in February making them one of our very first international visitors since Covid. We caught up with Paul for a special Festive interview to find out what they’ve got in store for us when they lad. We also check out what he’s got planned for Christmas in our new and never to be repeated Festive Feature!
Paul: Good evening Mark!
Mark: Paul, how are you mate?
Paul: I’m well thanks yourself?
Mark: Thanks for doing this a bit later for me.
Paul: Hey no problem mate, we’ve actually got band practice next in the room.
Mark: I’m interrupting practice? So if you hit a few bum notes when you’re over here that will be my fault!?
Paul: (laughs) Actually someone asked me that the other day, did I hit many bum notes and I had to think about it, you know every now and then when you take your mind off the game you might let one or two slip, but that’s over half a dozen gigs, you might be doing something silly at the time, but I thought to myself we do alright!
Mark: That’s because you’re a true professional Paul!
Paul: (laughs) Oh I know, you just get into the zone of what you’re doing and it becomes second nature you know. The songs are really part of us so when we play them we live the anyway.
Mark: That’s a great way of looking at it. There are f course some wonderful songs on ‘Red’ and we last talked I think back in April when that album was about to come out how’s the second decade of Devilskin so far?
Paul: Well you know Mark, aside from it being the craziest year for Rock and Roll ever (laughs) we’re doing remarkably well. We’re very lucky here in New Zealand in that we’ve been able to tour since October, and so we’ve been poised and ready to go and so as soon as the Government said “Hey you can hit large crowds again” we were in there. So it’s been a crazy year but we’ve come up fighting and I think we’re doing alright. We just can’t wait for when the world’s started to calm down so we can get out again and more people can get out and Rock and Roll again.
Mark: I hear you. I guess we’re lucky in that in New Zealand and Australia we have some prett great band so even if we’re in a bubble for a year as long as you guys keep coming back we’ll be OK!
Mark: What was that first big show back like? What was the anticipation like in the audience?
Paul: Oh Mark it was unreal, there was a really good vibe and it was a great night, we were just revved up and ready, and the crowd – everyone was smiling all night because they were just buzzed to be in a crowd again and watching a band and being in a big room that was going off!
Mark: That sounds great, I think my smile will be a mile wide when you guys get here. We’re of course enjoying some great local music. Especially here in the West where bands are getting some great crowds which is pretty cool but you’ll pretty much be our first international Rock act for nearly a year! It’s gonna be crazy!
Paul: Oh man, oh wow mate, I think everyone will be ready to party!
Mark: (laughs) I’ll get my dancing trousers on!
Paul: (laughs) We’re going to bring it mate, just you wait! We know how hard it has been for you guys over there and for once our geographical proximity to frigging Antarctica has paid off for us you know! As isolated as we are!
Paul: We might not have ever got Whitesnake but hey we have to be one of the luckiest countries when it comes to still being able to gig and get crowds together at the moment.
Mark: Yeah, Whitesnake only got to Melbourne didn’t they, tantalisingly close…
Paul: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mark: And sad news on the Radio front with the show?
Paul: Oh they took a hit man the second week of Covid the company I work for that look after ‘i-Heart Radio’ they sacked I think between two and three hundred people and as I’d been a casual for years the shows been in limbo. I still have the Facebook page and I’ve been talking to a few people about different platforms, but it’s up in the air.
Mark: That’s crazy after so long and with such a following. It’s been happening here though too with a lot of local shows.
Paul: Oh it was needless, I was hardly a covid risk, I didn’t interact with anyone, I was never in the studio, I could do it all remotely. But you know what they say with the Company “Never waste a good crisis” – they dumped all those people and now they’ve just had the gall to post their highest quarterly profit in a decade! (laughs)
Paul: They say the industry took a hit but every industry took a hit and I’m sure it’s similar to where you are Mark.
Mark: Ironically we actually gained a Rock Radio station here in Perth, so we should all hit up MMM on your behalf to get them to play some Devilskin. We’ve not had a Rock radio station here for a few years so the big test will be will they play new local music and that includes every active band from Australia and New Zealand.
Mark: Let’s find out.
Paul: Yeah, you’ve got to support local, the local bands that are out there and kicking arse in your area, that’s such a big part of it. And Kiwi music is going strong at the minute.
Mark: Yeah, I think you are punching above your weight for a country of five million, and taking on the world too!
Paul: Yeah when all this hit we were ten days away from flying out to Europe before the plague struck, it was tantalisingly close, but hey we had to just roll with it!
Mark: It’s crazy isn’t it I think last time we spoke you would have been in Leeds or Birmingham or somewhere like that and whilst the UK is still very much in lockdown, we’re doing so well to have live music back.
Paul: I mean we haven’t got a lot to support since we last spoke (laughs) but we’ve had a fantastic tour here where we’ve sold out a few shows and had some great crowds and great energy. And we’ve been touring with this great band that we’re going to bring over to your place too they’re called Shepherd’s Reign.
Mark: Yes I’ve heard good things.
Paul: They’re Samoan boys and hold crap, I haven’t been this excited about another band for a long time. They just bring it!
Mark: I must admit I checked them out when I saw them on the poster – it’s really gonna be worth getting there early!
Paul: They put on such a great show, it’s really powerful and they have this big tribal beat going on and it’s so compelling and I’m absolutely loving it.
Mark: What I’d like to do now Paul is put you on the spot as I’m going to put this interview upon Christmas Eve so I wanted to pack a bit of ‘Festive Flavour’ in there! Let’s imagine a Christmas with Devilskin or more particularly a Christmas with Paul from Devilskin – so let’s set the scene – it’s Christmas Eve and you’ve got a beverage to drink, you’ve got a film to watch, you’ve got a recipe to make and a book to read just to close out the night.
Mark: I guess we’ll have to have the drink first because I’m still on the tequila and cinnamon and orange from last time! (laughs)
Paul: Well that’s exactly what I was going to say Mark, it’s hard to leave isn’t it! (laughs)
Mark: It is!
Paul: So it would be that or since it’s Christmas maybe a nice port
Mark: Yeah, go on?
Paul: You know maybe even through a very sophisticated little port sipper?
Mark: Yeah, OK.
Paul: Oh a dainty little glass maybe? So it would be one or the other.
Mark: And there I was thinking more of a flagon!
Paul: (laughs) they don’t sell them to me anymore!
Mark: (laughs) OK so the beverage is sorted, what’s the film that’s playing?
Paul: Planet of the Apes, the original, that’s the one for me.
Mark: Nice, Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowell.
Paul: Yeah, that’s my favourite Christmas movie. Christmassy to me because it’s end of the world so kind of end of the year. Then another year is starting when Charlton Heston rides out you know?
Mark: I like it, like your thinking. Nice.
Paul: And then if you’ve got more time there’s all the sequels, I could watch them all day long.
Mark: I like it, growing up for me it did always seem to be one of the Apes movies or a Bond film on at night.
Paul: I remember the first movie that almost made me crap myself was The Fly, the original version. I was really young and watched it at my Grandparent’s place, it was the scariest thing ever!
Mark: I must admit I can’t watch a lot of horror movies but the old ones are the best, more to the imagination. Now onto the recipe what are you going to make for us?
Paul: Ah the recipe, well a friend of mine (laughs) this was a long time ago, he found himself in jail and when he got out he shared this cool recipe – it was called Satan’s Saki! It was basically Rice Whiskey – it was rice, raisins, yeast, lemon, water, sugar and that’s about it – seven ingredients and you basically leave it for ten days and you get this kick arse alcohol. So when he got out he had to share it with the world – Satan’s Saki, otherwise known as rice whisky, you can call it what you want bit it’s a homebrew that turns into this fruity kind of punch type of drink that you can drink really easy, but it’s illegal!
Mark” Sounds good for Christmas day, we’ll settle down with some of that (laughs)
Paul: It’s only Christmas once a year! (laughs)
Mark: And I suppose if you get peckish you can tuck into the rice as well
Paul: That’s right, and the raisins!
Mark: And what about the book if we can still see by then and we’ve not fallen asleep!
Paul: Well you know at the risk of sounding like a bit of a dick, there’s a book that I’ve been picking up and putting down and reading bits of, it’s old school a book by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ it’s all about the Gulags in Soviet Russia in the 20’s, 30’s 40’s and how they worked, it’s a really interesting book.
Mark: I think it’s one of those classics that I tried to start as a young man and I’ve still not managed it yet! It’s on the bookshelf somewhere with the Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky!
Paul: (laughs) It is a bit like that! I’ve got a big stack of books and lots of Rock and Roll autobiographies that I should be reading but every time I pick up a book Mark, the first thing I think is “I should probably be practicing!” So I pick up a guitar instead!
Mark: I was talking to Ricky Warwick the other day and he said the same, he has a big stack of books he’s making his way through, but then he thought he better write a new album!
Mark: And talking of new albums I think you almost had enough songs for another record last time we spoke? What’s the thinking with Devilskin? Some bands are pretending like the year never happened and starting again and others are just picking up where the big pause came. You’re over to see us soon so we can celebrate ‘Red’ Downunder but if things don’t change soon will there be another album hot on the heels of ‘Red’?
Paul: Well yeah, we’ve been discussing that because obviously with no international travel we are limited in our options a little bit! One of the things we have been doing as a VIP component for our last tour is an acoustic set, and it’s been a lot of fun interpreting songs in different ways and scaling them right back, and Nic plays acoustic guitar as well. So it’s really stripped back and honest you know and people love it so Jen was saying “we should do an album of this” So why not?
Mark: That’s sounds great, I shall have to attend one of those VIP experiences which I believe you are doing when you come over and see us in Australia?
Paul: I do hope so yeah, they’re a lot of fun.
Mark: So we’ve got you on the way over, we’ve got our Christmases sorted and even though we’re still mourning that UK and European Tour that a lot of my mates were looking forward to I hope we’ll have the chance to catch up and maybe film an interview when you hit Perth?
Paul: Oh most definitely Mark, let’s make that happen. We’d love a bit of sight-seeing or just catching up for a beer would be great, and we’ll get you into sound check.
Mark: Sounds cool. You’ll love Amps too in Perth it’s a great venue and I’ve seen all kinds of bands in there from New York Dolls playing with Earl Slick to…
Mark: That was a funny day when I met Earl who was a lovely guy. Everyone of course knows that he’s played with Bowie and McCartney and so many others but I went up to him and you can see him thinking “Here come the Bowie questions” and so I just said “Hi Earl, I love you stuff, you played with my mate’s band Little Caesar” ad we chatted about that, which as Ron the singer of Little Caesar says must be the least memorable moment of his career! (laughs)
Paul: (laughs) I love Little Caesar! That’s Ron Young?
Mark: Yes, Earl played on their second record.
Paul: Their first album, wow! It’s one of my favs!
Mark: And 30 years old this year too. They’re playing it in its entirety online soon.
Mark: Well thank you so much for your time Paul, it’s always a pleasure to talk mate and Devilskin in February should be a date in everyone’s diary!
Paul: We’re so excited Mark, we’ve been trying to do it since March last year
Mark: Take care and stay safe!
Paul: Yes, you too man, and Merry Christmas and I hope you have a safe and prosperous 2021! It’s gotta get better right?
Mark: It has mate. And the same to you and the guys, I think out of everyone bands have had it toughest of all.
Paul: We’ll have a laugh about it over a beer Mark. See you soon!
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