Hot off the heels of a whirlwind tour of our shores with Slash, Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators just last month, New Zealand’s premier rock act Devilskin are already headed back our way in mere days to play Download Festival Australia. We sat down with Devilskin’s ferocious frontwoman Jennie Skulander in the lead up to their trip and had a chat all about it!
“We’re really excited,” she begins. We’ve played all over New Zealand, we’ve gone and played Europe and the UK and we’re finally breaking into Australia. It’s weird, Australia’s right there but we’ve always found it really hard to break in over there so we’re really excited it’s finally happening.” With Download 2019 being Devilskin’s first Australian festival appearance, Skulander admits that keeping the news secret was no easy task. “We knew since about September or October last year but we weren’t allowed to say anything until the Slash tour. We’re so excited for it, so it felt really good to finally be able to announce it and be able to talk about it after so long!”
Due to so many new Australian fans who have only recently discovered the fearsome foursome, Skulander tells us that their Download set will be filled with primarily older material. “We’ll be playing a lot of our old stuff. Because we’re just starting to make waves over there and a lot of people there have only recently discovered us, we really want to showcase some of the older songs, so there will be a lot of songs off We Rise in the setlist. We do have a new single out that we released at the end of last year called ‘Endo’ and we’ve got another new song that we just filmed a video for – which is going to be released really soon actually – so that’ll be in there too.”
“It’s quite late over here,” She says when she first picks up our call at 9:30pm New Zealand time. Having settled back into ‘Mum mode’ since being back home, Skulander admits that this weekend is set to be a big one. There are so many amazing bands on the line up, it’ll be a huge weekend. Personally, I’m really excited to see Slayer and Judas Priest. Alice In Chains would be cool to see, but their set times are pretty similar to ours so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to catch part of their set or not, I might already be getting ready to play. It’s always good to get to catch up with the guys in Halestorm too. We’ve toured with them a few times now, so it’s shaping up to be a good weekend, it should be lots of fun.” Speaking of the mighty Halestorm, it’s no secret that the two bands have a huge overlap in their fanbases. Throwing caution to the wind, we tentatively ask if there’s any chance we might see Halestorm and Devilskin sharing the stage together one day. “Umm, I don’t know. We never thought of that to be honest. That could be really cool. Maybe one day.” While it’s not a definite yes, it’s surely not a no, an answer that I’m sure will excite many fans of the two bands.
Despite their insane touring schedule of late, Devilskin have also found time over the past year to write material for their upcoming third studio album. With studio time booked for April, Skulander has been spending some time trying to trim down the 30 songs they’ve written to decide what will make the final cut for the album. She admits that while there isn’t a theme as such showing through the collection of songs they have prepared, the new material definitely does draw heavily on life experiences. “We took a writing weekend to Manakau Heads here in New Zealand last year, and on the way home we came across this serious car accident that had literally just happened. We were basically the first people there, two people had been thrown from their car and were lying on the road, it was a real mess. It was bad. That took me a while to recover from, I just kept thinking back. So there’s a song about that. We did find out later that everyone was okay though, so that’s good.” It’s clear that the guys and gal have some serious culling to do when they hit the studio, but Skulander does let slip one piece of news that is sure to please many of Devilskin’s longer-standing fans. ‘Be Like The River,’ the title track of their last album – which didn’t make the final cut onto that album – will definitely be on the next record. This tidbit continues a theme Devilskin have had going from the start – The title track from their debut album We Rise didn’t make the final cut of that album, but did eventually make it onto their second album, Be Like The River, however, Be Like The River’s title track then didn’t make the final cut for that album. Skulander jokes that “I guess whatever we end up calling this new album, we have to make sure that the title track ends up on the next album instead!”
Evidently there is plenty to look forward to from New Zealand’s busiest rock band, the first of which being just days away when they hit our shores once again to play Download Festival! The excitement is evident, and these guys are a force to be reckoned with – make sure to catch them playing the Ascension Stage at 6pm in Sydney on Saturday or 6:45pm in Melbourne on Monday! (If for some crazy reason you haven’t got your tickets yet, you can grab them HERE!)