EMQ’s With SKIDDERS
Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with UK songwriter, producer, guitarist and solo artist, Skidders. Huge thanks to him for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Can I please first start by saying, rather than a band, I’m solo artist Steve Skidmore aka Skidders – songwriter, producer and guitarist/session guitarist. Born in Smethwick in the centre of England, within an area known as the Black Country due to steelworks, furnaces etc, during the Industrial Revolution.
Most of my live performances revolve around other projects and bands rather than my solo music, for reasons I explain below. For example, I gig regularly with my duo Bukechi, with the fabulous Sammi Roberts on vocals. I produce all my own material and play all instruments, apart from the human voice, which I am eminently rubbish at! So my compositions are 95% guitar instrumentals. On my three albums to date, I have not really limited my compositions to be “gig friendly”, hence me gigging mainly with other projects, as I call them. For example, the track “Masala Magic” from my first solo album, would need an Indian Bhangra band.
How did you come up with your band name?
Well, my surname is Skidmore. Friends started calling me Skidders so, as there are quite a few Steve Skidmore’s about, I thought Skidders would be unique. It is nothing to do with the state of my underpants!
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
As I mentioned, the middle of England, UK. The Metal scene is healthy, but not as healthy as I’d like. However, we have brilliant bands like Conjurer, Blood Youth, Rolo Tomassi etc., “holding up the British end”, as Roger Moore playing James Bond said.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
So my latest album, “Friends & Family Vol. 2” was released only in May. I’m still busy promoting the album, which is my favourite of three to date. There are three videos for three of the tracks, one which has vocals, and two which were released as singles prior to album release. It is a very eclectic album with 13 electric and acoustic guitar instrumentals tracks and one song. I drafted-in the fantastic Andrew James for vocals on that one. Don’t think it’s all ‘pretty pretty’ guitar music. Take a listen to track one – ‘Aunty Bulgaria’. It’s a rock instrumental for which I was very proud of the end result. My Stratocaster sounded lovely on that track, thanks to Leo Fender! There’s also jazz, reggae, and even Celtic.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Bands that I have listened to, watched, and generally any music that has grabbed my attention. The Shadows were my first love in music, and you can hear in my music today, some “Shadows’esque” styles (e.g. “Ronnie Two Sheds” on my latest album). I do not try to imitate, but from absorbing different areas, it comes through naturally.
A string of other bands, including the likes of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, CCR, KT Tunstall and genres of blues, jazz, funk, etc have inspired me, and bleed through into my style. I might also hear backing tracks on films etc, and it could inspire me to do something of that genre.
What first got you into music?
I started writing quite late in my musical career, after years of playing guitar in various bands from the age of 14. I started an acoustic duo with my great friend, Sammi Robert née Houston, called Bukechi and we still perform today.
We played on BBC Introducing Coventry & Warwickshire and the then presenter was Vic Minett. We’d just finished an EP of covers and played a couple of tracks from it and Vic, who was interviewing us, asked when we were going to write our own material. At the time, we hadn’t thought of it, but Sammi had a few under her belt and we eventually released our album “Welcome To Suburbia”.
After that experience of writing with Sammi, I started writing myself and found it came to me naturally. So my first album, Skidderslectric, was released 2015. As I cannot sing, all tracks bar one was instrumental and were rock, blues and jazz instrumentals. I’ve just followed that on since with a further 2 albums of mostly guitar instrumentals, with both electric and acoustic guitar.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
As a session guitarist, I am recording on some tracks for a writer called Kylolus, who is putting a prog-rock album together. It’s great music and I’ll look forward to hearing the end result. Another musician who is helping Kylolus, is Cotswolds’ legend, Andrew James, who I already mentioned. I hope to do more music with Andrew, in fact he has a track he wants me to record some guitar on over the next few weeks.
If I could collaborate with absolutely anybody, that would be Eric Clapton. But let’s face it – that will never happen!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Glastonbury. It’s mega and internationally leads they way in festivals.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
I was playing some Seasick Steve blues on a cigar box on a small stage. Someone brought me a full bottle of wine, so I opened it and drank it all through my set. This is why I called myself Pissed up Steve. It all went down well through. I suppose that’s not weird, but it’s the best I’ve got that I can actually publish.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Please play my music! It’s on all streaming platforms! And do send me your thoughts on social media.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love playing live and loud to an audience that are up for a good time. There’s no other buzz like it. But writing and listening to the end result of a composition is very gratifying. What I hate is whenever it means I have to be away from my family – I’m a bit of a ‘home bird’.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Ban Simon Cowell; replace him in the industry with Ozzie.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“Pilgrim” by Eric Clapton. It was one of his first studio albums for a long time and the entire album was, for me, sheer perfection.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?
I went through a period when I was young, of getting rid of my vinyl and having my music on cassette. What an idiot I was! Objectively, CDs can be the best quality, because they can hold any format in the highest specification. Downloads could do the same but it would not be practical for the size of the files. Vinyl can sound warmer and of course, you’ve got the album cover to admire.
Downloads have taken over the world for all manner of obvious reasons. It’s what I now use almost exclusively, although I still have a record deck. I use my Mordaunt-Short hi-fi speakers as recording monitors – they are amazing.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Most definitely, playing the Cavern in Liverpool – both stages. A little while on and Paul McCartney and Dave Gilmour were both on the same stage as I had played, only weeks earlier. Playing the Forum in Kentish Town was also fabulous – all the dry ice and a changing room of our own with a fridge full of Bud.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I’m a qualified Mechanical Engineer, but let’s keep that quiet.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
My wife, Eric Clapton, Billy Connolly, Jesus and Hitler.
What’s next for the band?
My fourth album will be geared towards playing live, rather than my previous albums. So it will be less “produced” and more cut down. I will start work on “Feckem Hall” later this year. I am also recording some guitar for a writer called Kylolus who is putting together a prog-rock album. It is very cool stuff and he has me doing some nice long guitar solos on quite a few of the tracks.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Pretty much all the available platforms. I’ve even opened a TikTok account, which I used to promote “Friends & Family Vol. 2“.
Web – https://www.skiddersmusic.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/skiddersmusic
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/skiddersmusic
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/skiddersmusic
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/skiddersmusic
Soundcloud – https://www.soundcloud.com/skiddersmusic
Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/artist/4zqTExvjnWSFTP2vKXG83v
Apple Music – https://music.apple.com/gb/artist/skidders/259672296
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Jaffa Cakes – Jaffa Cakes! It’s a delicate balance and shouldn’t be messed with. This topic is taboo.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Do please take time to listen to my music on any of the streaming platforms. If you have a playlist, please add your favourite tracks and let me know on social media what you think. I would appreciate your opinions.
Finally, many thanks to Ever Metal for the opportunity of this interview and for all readers, keep safe!
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.