by Margaret Chrystall
WITH their third album Himalayan out since March, Band Of Skulls have come a long way since the earliest demos made in drummer Matt Hayward’s dad’s shed-studio.
But for Matt, a good measure of how far the three-piece with guitarist and singer Russell Marsden and bassist and vocalist Emma Richardson has come came at Glastonbury in June.
"At Glastonbury, we couldn’t believe how many people showed up at the Other Stage for us!" he said.
And even the stage had special significance for Matt, reminding him of his first Glastonbury as a young teenager.
"Funnily enough me and Emma went to Glastonbury – I think I was about 14 - It was back in the years when you didn’t really have to buy a ticket and 14s and unders could go in for free.
"Me and my friends just waited by the gate, waited for a couple to be our surrogate parents for 10 minutes and then we were in!
"I remember going to watch a load of bands at the Other Stage.
"So to get to play there ourselves was one of those full circle moments when you’ve been there yourself in the crowd and you think ‘Well we made it up here!’."
The image on the front of the new album - all gold and silver fragments continues the theme started by their first album cover, inspired by the Rohrschach ink blot test both sides a mirror of the other.
Matt said: "The back story to it was what we originally wanted to do is put the soundwaves of a song into a computer to make a 3D sound image, then printed out of the computer.
"But the sculpture of the song that came out wasn’t all that appealing, so we moved on from that idea.
"We fed it into a computer again and this time it’s the sound waves of the song that have been manipulated quite a bit.
"But we always try to keep the theme of the Rohrschach from the first one."
In the aftermath of the release of Himalayan, months of travelling the world mean that Mark confessed he wasn’t sure when they’d be playing Belladrum – or arriving!
"I’ll get a phone call some time next week saying ‘Go to the airport now!’.
"You have to take it day by day."
But festivals are good times for Band Of Skulls, whose hard and heavy blues/garage sound is heart-stopping live.
"We’ve always been one of those bands who have not lived in a very mainsteam-media type world so we’ve built up a really great fanbase just by touring,"said Matt.
"People who might still just know the name or may heard something – but still don’t quite know what we are about – come to have a look at festivals, so we get a lot of people in and have to try and convert them!
"And I love that situation."
Band Of Skulls play the Hothouse Stage at Belladrum on Saturday.