On 17 September, acclaimed UK rockers Skunk Anansie are
set to release their fifth studio album, Black Traffic, marking
their second release since reuniting in 2009 after an eight-year
hiatus. The quartet rose to prominence during the early 90s,
offering a riff-heavy, politicized "clit rock" alternative to the
pervading Britpop scene, introducing the world to Brixton-raised
Skin, a fierce, queer pin-up with inimitable vocals and an
unashamedly confrontational approach to songwriting. DIVA caught up
with Skin ahead of Skunk Anansie's forthcoming European tour (which
ends on 1 December with their only London show, at Brixton Academy)
to hear why, nearly two decades on, Skunk Anansie are still
DIVA: How are you?
Skin: I'm in Ibiza. I've been lying on my
veranda, eating melon.
It's grey and rainy back here in Blighty.
I know; I was there last week. I've just moved back to England
after three years of being in the US. I must be out of my mind
Let's talk about Black Traffic. What inspired the title?
Black Traffic was our way of describing all the stuff we don't
know about, the stuff we don't get to see. The Barclays bank
scandal, for example. I remember when interest rates were
rocketing, and now we find out years later it was because of
Barclays and other banks. We were talking about all the trafficking
we've seen while we've been touring and travelling. We were talking
about the dark web [the encrypted, criminal underbelly of the
internet]. Sometimes it feels like there's the real world and the
real web, and then there's all the stuff that goes on behind it all
- the forces that control everything.
Skunk Anansie were a singular UK band during the 90s, staking out
a style very much at odds with Britpop. Has being outsiders served
I think so. The best bands are always outsiders. We often have to
remind people that Skunk Anansie were never Britpop; we were not
allowed to be. But it spawned our independence, and it was to our
advantage, because very quickly that whole Britpop thing got really
annoying and lame and became a marketing tool to get bands popular
in America. We became an antidote to it. There's still no one
like us, and there's still barely any black females fronting bands
now, which is really depressing. But we survived without a
scene because we were an original band with our own unique
To read the rest of our cover interview, get a copy of
DIVA's September 2012 issue.
View the September issue at divadirect.co.uk by clicking here
PHOTO Stuart Weston