Posted by Matt Rushton in Culture on October 18, 2022

Piecing together members of Black Peaks, Memory of Elephants and Kainoah, prog-hardcore thrashers Skin Failure are already generating a huge buzz and following only a few months after the release of their first single.

The video, shot at Bristol’s ArcTanGent Festival back in August where the band made their live debut, sees the guys having all the fun in the world, with footage from their insane first-band-of-the-weekend set riling up the crowd in the most intense way, to backstage shenanigans, shooting beer pistols at unexpecting fans, and persuading everyone they can to let them shave their hair. Why not?

The song encapsulates everything to get excited about with the band, their ferocious riffs combining with Will Gardner’s deranged vocal, backed up by a rhythm section that know nothing other than playing as hard as they can, all culminating in a blast of glorious heaviness from a band who should have a hell of a career ahead of them. The track, along with the album itself, manages to masterfully switch genres and emotions more often than most bands who’ve been attempting to for much longer could wish to. With a firm rabid following and crowd favorites in their live set already, Skin Failure are a very exciting prospect indeed. We spoke with frontman Will Gardner to talk about Radillac and the longer-term ambitions of the band.

Skin Failure have exploded on to the scene and you’ve caused quite the commotion already. Obviously you guys have all played in different bands, but what brought the five of you together?

Dave (Larkin) brought us together. He had played with me in Black Peaks previously and a few other bands with the other guys. They had been having fun and writing riffs for a while and Dave sent me some stuff and said “fancy doing some shouting”? I loved it immediately and did a little phone recording audition then got the job!

Your debut album Radillac is out in just a few weeks, and it’s a barrel-load of fun melded with ferocious intensity and crushing riffs. Who were your main influences when writing the record, and was it a conscious decision to have Skin Failure sound completely different to any of your other projects?

I think it’s hard to pin down exact bands but I think we are all massively into thrash bands like Slayer, and I think there is a good mix of proggy stuff like Mastodon and Dillinger in there. It wasn’t really a conscious decision actually, we all just write what comes out and were always searching for a bigger, better, more interesting sound really.

You’ve released a couple songs from the record now – how have people responded to them? How excited are you for the fans getting to hear the rest of the record?

It’s been a very funny mix so far, most people fucking love it, especially live. It’s been amusing watching some of the Black Peaks fans responding in shock and dismay as it’s A LOT harder and heavier than anything Dave or I have put out before. I think those that are on board are fucking well excited which is excellent. We cant wait to get out and play this shit live!

Radillac, along with being a wild ride of a listen, also has a rather intriguing concept. Could you explain what the record is about and how on earth those themes came about?

Yeah for sure, we had a lot of the music written and It was so big and bombastic that I wanted to write something that was equally huge and mad to go along with the record. I started writing a story and this mad ultra violent comic book 80s style thing just sort of fell out of my head. It was very fun to write it and it’s been great making the comic to go along with the record.

You made your live debut at this year’s ArcTanGent Festival. I was lucky enough to be there, and it was the perfect way to start the weekend with the raucous energy and the biggest wall of death I’ve ever seen for a first band of a weekend. How did you feel the show went? Were you expecting every single person in the tent to be losing their shit as hard as they did?

Ah man cheers, yeah it was a fucking raucous show. I was very stoked with the crowd reaction and we even got them singing along to ‘Meat Pond’ which had not come out at that point which was awesome. I think we just gave it shit tonnes of energy and people responded really well to that which is fucking sick. I never expect anything to be fair, we just work hard for the crowd and try and put on the most fun show possible to get them going, anything else from there is a bonus.

You have an upcoming UK tour in November with InTechnicolour. What can fans expect from a headline show, and how excited are you to be able to get back out on the road after a while away?

We’re gonna play the whole record in full which is fucking wicked and VERY intense haha. So yeah that’s gonna be great. I think we hope to have some more beer cannon peeps at each show and more wizardry and fuckery so that will be ace. We also have at least 2 new songs in the set that are heavy as all balls. So loads to look forward to. Yeah personally I can’t wait to hang out for a few days and play some music, it’s gonna be brilliant.

The video for Sleeveless Jesus | The Void shows some… interesting scenes. Just how many mullets did you manage to shear over the weekend, and what’s the origin story for this?

We managed to shave 12-14 people including myself and Toby. Pretty fucking amazing considering haha! A mate of Paul’s had an idea originally that it was going to be a contest and we would announce winners and stuff but in the end we only had one set of clippers and we just all had a go. It was honestly one of the funniest things I’ve ever done. We were all pissing ourselves. I imagine we’ll do some more mullet shaving on the tour if punters are willing.

What are your ambitions for Skin Failure? It’s been a hell of a start for the band with some seriously devoted fans already, so where do you see yourself going?

God, no idea really. I mean, we have a great team behind us and lots of lovely people are getting picked up along the way so it’s only up really. Ideally we’d love to play some festivals in the UK and Europe next year – let’s see what comes in. We’ve already got well into making the next record so its go go go!

Radillac is out Nov 11 via Small Pond Records.

1. Intro l In time and Space
2. Sleeveless Jesus l The Void
3. Meat Pond l Down by the River
4. Skit l Remy LeBeau’s Big Pile of Bones
5. Full Throttle Nothing pt2 l The Montage
6. The Beast Awaketh l A Hole in the Sky
7. Southern Fried Homicide l The Radillac Battle Sequence
8. Give’r By the River l As Bridges Fell (Metal Alarm Call)
9. Radical One l Amphetamine Dreamland

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