Great LezBritain: Interview with Skin of Skunk Anansie

AE: What inspired the band’s reformation?
Well, we’ve been meaning to do it for the last few years but the timing wasn’t right. We couldn’t get four members together at the same time. Then the record company was going to do it anyway (with the greatest hits) but we said, "You’re not going to do it without us." So that was the catalyst and we just had so much fun making the new songs that we wanted to continue.

AE: I have read that you described your sound as “black feminist rage.” Is that still the perspective you are coming from?
Skin: I never described it as that, other people did. And it was just a lazy journalist viewpoint because that’s too limiting. There is lots going on in our music, it’s very passionate, we have mellow stuff and at times a really rock and heavy sound, but the running theme is the chemistry of the band and that comes out in our performances.

AE: When you first arrived, you were mostly amongst white indie boys so you naturally stood out. Was that a positive or negative place to be?
Skin: Well, we were very much the outsiders, we were never fully on board with the Britpop phenomenon. And I think that as we continue, we are still outsiders and I think that is a good place to be. That’s where we are comfortable because we like being unique.

AE: You coined the term “clitpop” I take it that was that as a reaction to Britpop?
Skin: I did it to take the piss out of Britpop because, at the time, we couldn’t get any of the same television or radio shows as the Britpop bands were getting and I thought the term was quite clever really! It was quite funny, and people still try and call us “clitpop” but I tell them that scene is over.

AE: What do you think of the current scene of women in music?
Skin: I think there are lots of interesting women doing some really interesting things. The scene is varied, which is nice because at the beginning of the 21st century there was some really bad over-sexualised girlie pop. That’s fine, but you need balance and it seems we now have a heavy splattering of interesting women like Florence and the Machine and Beth Ditto from the Gossip.

AE: Is there a pressure attached to being the only black, openly bisexual woman in British music?
Skin: People tried to make me feel pressured but I never have. I am an individual and if you want to feel inspired by what I do, that is a really good thing. Yes I happen to be female and black and bisexual and these are things that are part of me, but they don’t tell the whole picture, it’s too limiting to put people in boxes like that.

AE: We recently put you in a box because we included you in an article we wrote celebrating the UK’s top 10 lesbian and bisexual women. How do you feel about that?
Skin: I wasn’t number 10, was I?

AE: It wasn’t ranked so you were both 10 and 1 …
Skin: Oh good! You can get carried away with the flattery you receive. I like to inspire women to get up and play guitar and it’s nice that people can look at me and say “She’s doing it so why can’t I?” But it’s very important that people make their own paths, because it is much more interesting for them to be themselves. So please don’t copy me, it probably wouldn’t suit you!

Skunk Anansie’s new album, Wonderlustre is out on September 13  worldwide. For more information, check out the official website at

"Great LezBritain" authors Sarah, a Londoner, and Lee, a Glaswegian, met in a gay discotheque one bleak mid winter, eight years ago and have been shacked up together ever since. When not watching Tipping The Velvet, they find time to write, run a PR company, DJ at their own club nights and love a bit of jam on toast. Follow them on Twitter at greatlezbritain.

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