By Ben Doy
Tonight sees the beginning of Devilskin's nationwide 'Mountains And The Moon Tour', kicking off at Altitude in Hamilton before heading to Auckland tomorrow at The Powerstation & heading down south throughout New Zealand from there (full dates listed below).
We had the chance to catch up with guitarist Paul Martin ahead of the tour, where we discussed the band's history, their future and that Simon Sweetman review...
How did Devilskin first meet and form?
Basically we were fans of each others bands... we were all playing in different bands. We were mates and we bumped into each other all the time. When Jenny's band Slipping Tongue fell over, we corned Jenny. It was pretty easy really. We all knew each others talents and that was a big part of it. This was about 6 years ago I think.
The original drummer that we had, he had to have an operation on his shoulder and needed some time out. We were stuck, so I pressured my son Nick in to doing the tour with us... he was 15 at the time. And we didn't want to go back to the other guy after we heard Nick play.
How did the name come about?
We were just mucking about with different things. Jenny had written the lyrics to the song ‘Fade', and as I was reading that I got an idea for a concept where someone could put on a devil's skin to act like a devil. They can be like ‘I've got my devil gear on, I'm going to act like an arsehole!'. Then they can put their angel gear on and be a nice guy sort of thing. So it's just how people change their personalities and wear a different coat to show their true feelings... or to hide their true feelings.
So I just sort of suggested it and everyone went ‘Mmmm... yeah... dunno...'. And we sat with it and it stuck and here we are.
You built up a very strong & loyal following, which seemed to happen in a very organic kind of way.
Yeah, we just did what we wanted to do. We wrote our own songs, went out and played gigs and started at the very bottom. We started from playing shitty little rooms in front of a dozen people. But we stuck at it, and always put a lot of time and effort into the stage show and dressing up the stage... giving people value for money. I guess that's a big part of it.
Your album ‘We Rise' became the first New Zealand rock album to achieve platinum status since 2010. Quite an achievement!
Totally! I don't think it's been done before with an unsigned band... we don't have a record label so did it all ourselves. It's no mean feat I think probably a few record labels might be kicking themselves (laughs).
And it was an enjoyable experience making the album?
Yeah! When you're in the studio it's exciting and we were 100% committed to bringing out the best in ourselves. We were excited about the songs we had then; we had to drop about 8 songs that we wanted to put on the album. There were just too many.
Now we're finding the same thing on the new album that we're writing at the moment. But it's kinda cool because you can just pick the very best of them.
You've opened for Slash and more recently Motley Crue. How did those gigs come about and how was that experience?
They came about because we have an on to it manager. He put our name forward and the promoters saw that we're a band that can pull a bit of a crowd. So they took a punt with us. Both gigs were absolutely incredible experiences. We were hanging out with Slash for a little while and got to see how it works for the big boys stage, you know? And a whole lot of fun playing at Vector Arena and Claudelands Arena. It was like a dream come true.
And you're about to embark on a pretty extensive NZ tour!
Yeah, we're doing about 12 or 13 dates. This time last year we did a tour that was about 20 dates and we started that one in the middle of winter in the South Island. We're from Waikato and it's foggy but not always that cold. And the first leg was like 5 days in the row, so it was pretty full on. It was a lot of fun too but pretty gruelling, so 12 or 13 dates is pretty easy really. And we'll be playing some really good venues.
You recently had that scathing write up by Simon Sweetman. What did you make of that?
We've never sent the guy our music so it's kind of cool that he went out and bought the DVD. But that's the way he writes. it's his style and it's his opinion.... he disses lots of bands. His writing didn't faze us but what was cool was the way people jumped up and down at our defence and took it to him you know? He slagged our audience as well, so it was a pretty lame sort of thing that he wrote. He got peoples backs up and probably got way more clicks then he's ever had in his career. That's just who he is.
Following the tour, what's next for Devilskin?
We're just looking at a few gigs over New Year's at the moment, and hopefully early in next year we'll be heading off to the UK to play some shows; they've just released our album in Europe. And we'll probably look at recording the rest of our second album while we're over there.
Devilskin - Mountains And The Moon Tour 2015
Friday 18 September: Altitude, Hamilton
Saturday 19 September: Powerstation, Auckland
Wednesday 23 September: Sammys, Dunedin
Thursday 24 September: Caroline Bay Hall, Timaru
Friday 25 September: The Bedford, Christchurch
Saturday 26 September: Rattle n Hum, Nelson
Thursday 1 October: The Royal, Palmerston North
Friday 2 October: San Fran Bath House, Wellington
Saturday 3 October: Trentham Racecourse, Upper Hutt
Thursday 8 October: Tokoroa Club, Tokoroa
Friday 9 October: Stadium Lounge Bay Park, Mt Maunganui
Saturday 10 October: The Mayfair, New Plymouth