Room Thirteen were lucky enough to catch up with Mikey Demus from Skindred just before their UK tour and launch of their huge album Kill The Power.

R13: How does it feel to finally be getting the new album out?
MD:We've been sitting on it for a while. We finished it back in April/May last year and we've just sort of been sitting on it, so we're excited to get it out. We think it's some of the best stuff we've ever done. Ya know the album's been really positively reviewed by people and we can't wait to tour it.

R13: It comes out the same day you play Glasgow, will that make it a particularly special show?
MD:It'll be a bit of a party that day I should imagine, we love playing Scotland we always go down really well there so we're playing a nice big room so it should be a good one that one.

R13: Does it feel different to any of your other album releases?
MD:I think the pace of the release, it's like we're dealing with a proper schedule for the first time in a long time. Sometimes its kind of you're rushed in between tours to write, produce and create a record and get it out in time, ya know just keep going. Ours is a machine that keeps spinning so to speak. This is the first time we've had a large chunk of time between finishing it and releasing it. It's been good in a lot of ways and a bit weird in other ways. It was fantastic to work with James Loughrey again who we did Union Black with, a new studio we've never worked in before up North which we really loved. It's been different in a lot of ways but ya know the new material is really exciting for us. We tried to push the boundaries for what we can do. It's not just the next Skindred record, it's us stepping up really and doing the best we can do.

R13: Bands should push boundaries, that's what makes great bands
MD:We never really want to rest on our laurels, it's always 'how can we better what we do, how can we be better than before' it's not just 'oh, that works, let's just do that again' I hate it when bands do that, you know you feel like you've seen it all before It's just like covering old ground. We really put some focus on pushing it, trying to make it better, better and better and all the reviews are really positive.

R13: How do you feel about people who might have already got the album by illegal downloading?
MD:It's just part of 'it' these days, it's a shame that we don't make any kind of income from records you know, it'd be nice if we did, we pay our bills from touring, that's how we work. I think the ability to share music is fantastic but it can be crippling sometimes when your music gets distributed before release. It's a shame because we'd like to see the impact of it coming out all at once but it also shows that people really want to hear it, I'd rather people gave a shit than didn't.

R13: So you say that there's not much money in making an album?
MD:Well a lot of bands like us anyway, I suppose bands like Coldplay or Rihanna are okay. It costs a lot of money to make an album it's more of a promotional thing to get people into the idea to see us live. It's a weird situation. Bands have to be quick on their feet to get by. In terms of a creative factor I don't mind that it gets shared. I'm glad people want to hear it, it can be difficult financially but that's just the level of the beats these days.

R13: So you said that bands don't make much money off albums so how do you feel about bands who charge their fans to meet them?
MD:I'm not really down with that to be honest. It is difficult ya know I'm not criticising people because people need to be creative with making money from music but a fan who wants to go the extra mile to meet someone they'll figure it out. You know hide behind the bus or wait at the back of the venue. I don't like the idea of selling the opportunity to meet me or speak to me, it feels a bit wrong. I know other people do it so it's up to them. Fair play if you can get away with it but it's a bit weird. It's like supply and demand if someone's willing to pay it but it just feels a bit wrong to me. Show some initiative and track them down if you want something signed or something. I don't like the idea of putting a price on it because it's a bit weird. I can see why people do it because we're just trying to make a living from it. I don't want that to become the norm, something signed should be something special.

R13: How was it playing Reading and Leeds main stage last year?
MD: Amazing! Amazing it's been a real goal to do that one, we'd never done that one before and I grew up there as a teenager, so I'd been to Reading loads of times as a punter, just a real jewel in the crown for me. So when we were able to do it it was awesome, and it went brilliantly, there was conjecture about whether we were right for the festival and whether we're the ideal Reading and Leeds band and I was just glad they gave us a chance to show that. It went really well, the crowd was amazing and we can't wait to do it again.

R13: After researching I can see that the Newport Helicopter originated with your guys, how does it feel when you see other people doing it? MD:Well I feel like a lot of stuff in music performance, you borrow some things, there's not much in this world that's wholly original anymore, you know a lot of stuff is borrowed. I think we coined the phrase the Newport Helicopter, I think Benji came up with it, he threw it on a crowd unexpectedly, he would say that some of the stuff he's come up with he has borrowed from here and there but it's our thing to do it at a metal show because I don't think it had been done at a metal show before and in that respect it is our thing. I think you can borrow and do stuff and it's how you do it, it's how you dress it up or repackage it and make it your own and people do lift stuff and it's a bit transparent and people know that. People have a pretty good bullshit radar, you can tell when something's been taken. There's plagiarism and there's making something your own and they're two completely different things.

R13: The video for Kill the Power was recorded in India, was that always intentional, is it something you'd wanted to do for a long time or was it just because you were 'there'?
MD:Pretty much the latter, we knew we had to do a video, we had a single coming up and we had to do a video. We were flirting with a couple of directors in the UK and a couple of them couldn't deliver in time and we already had prior commitments to go to India so we had the idea that maybe we could get something done over there. It kind of just happened, came together, our manager knew someone over there, kind of familiar with the people who was organising the festivals over there it was like a friend of a friend of a friend said 'yeah I know someone who can help' so we spent a few days jetting around India in weird ghettos and alley ways and rooftops and clubs and warehouses and stuff and it was put together afterwards. There's normally a process to doing things and sometimes when the process is forced to be different that's when you get magic, that goes for recording albums, making music and playing live and making videos as well. We like to do things out of the norm, I mean how many bands get to go to India really, not many bands. We were honoured to go there, played great festivals and it was great to do the video there, I'd love to do another one but I don't think we could recreate the magic. It stands apart as being it's own thing.

R13: In terms of venues do you have a favourite place to play? Is there any city on a tour that you know will always deliver?
MD:There's a bit of familiarity, our crowds are all awesome. When you're playing a lot of the time there are certain things you look forward to like a good shower, behind the scene factors things change but for the actual show I think we actually get really spoilt. We never have a bad show you know and I think a lot of that is down to the fact that the crowds are always fucking ace! Always ace! We're so lucky to always have an amazing crowd who are always really into it. In that respect all the places we go we're used to that. There are some places I prefer, obviously I love playing London because it's the precipice of all that's happening. There's something exciting about playing in the capital but we like playing in remote areas where they don't get rock shows all the time. I'm glad we get to do it all, the small remote shows, the big clubs and then we do these huge festivals as well. We get to do it all.

R13: You said Reading and Leeds was a big goal for you last year, are there any specific goals you want to meet this year?
MD:I'd love to be doing a big UK festival, we tend to do one but I can't say which one yet obviously. The big festivals are always amazing and we get so much positive feedback and we've got the huge UK tour we're about to do which will probably be a highlight of the year. Going back to America, Japan, Australia, we've got a really busy year! A lot of touring coming up, that's the reward of it all, getting to play every night. Getting to play is the pay off of doing what we do. I like being busy, I don't like being sat around.

R13: So it sounds like you've got a great year ahead and good luck with the UK tour!

MD:Thanks man!