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Interview with Kevin Ridley | «Skyclad is very much grounded in the harsh realities of life»

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The name of your band automatically leads to the conclusion that it was inspired by the pagan/wiccan history. Could you tell me what does it actually mean?

Kevin Ridley: It literally means ‘wearing the sky’ or, in other words, ‘to be naked’.

 

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When you decided to create a heavy/folk metal band, which were your inspirations? Did you adopt fragments from the very past of humanity?

Kevin Ridley: I don’t think Skyclad intended to be a ‘folk metal band’ because there was no ‘folk metal’ around at that point. In fact, people (i.e. the press) labeled the band more as a bunch of ‘English eccentrics’ (‘mad as a fish on a bike’ I think the expression was). However, there was something about being more than a typical thrash or metal band right from the very beginning. The idea was to try and incorporate some ‘folk’ and/or Pagan influences into both the music and the lyrics.

 

 

The lyrics that surround your music are truly unique and should I say that they look like a ritual. Do you want to read a dark fairytale to the world through them?

Kevin Ridley: No, I don’t think it is a ‘fairy tale’, Skyclad is very much grounded in the ‘harsh realities of life’ though there is also a concern to be storytellers that illustrate many of life’s problems and situations through them. And I think it is important to try and develop a distinct identity or your own version of things/life through your music and words that is noticeably different tothat of other artists.

 

 

How did you feel about the musical divorce from the founding member, Martin Walkyier? How did you manage to keep the band from splitting up?

Kevin Ridley: Basically, the band just kept on going because we very much enjoy what we do and we try to not to let the business side of things get us down – otherwise there would be no point to doing it year after year.

 

 

You are considered one of the pioneer folk metal bands. Do you think that people are still keen on this music genre?

Kevin Ridley: Certainly they are. I think that ‘folk metal’, in all its variations, has become a global phenomenon now (and not just because of Skyclad). There are bands emerging from many countries around the world, all bringing a different flavour to the genre.

 

 

Furthermore, I would like to know how you feel about the other metal genres. What bands exist in your playlist, except yours of course?

Kevin Ridley: Well the band listens to many types/genres of music – as we all have very different tastes – and band members are also involved with other bands apart from Skyclad. Therefore, some of usare more involved with what is happening in the world of ‘metal’, others are more into folk or whatever; so it is a very wide range with far too many artists.

 

 

Would you ever collaborate with a black metal genre band? Or is it to far from your style?

Kevin Ridley: It isn’t something that springs to mind immediately but these things depend on the specific time and place etc. So who knows? You should never say never. For example, Skyclad did a track for a tribute album to Venom and weren’t they black metal?

 

 

Since your upcoming show in Athens is in a few days, how do you feel coming back in Greece? Did you miss your Greek audience?

Kevin Ridley: Although we are now travelling to more parts of Greece, Athens has always been a very special place for Skyclad to play and, therefore, we do miss the Greek audience as they are very passionate and supportive; they can out-sing the band which is fantastic. We are looking forward to the whole band being there this time (as Steve couldn’t make it last time) and playing a set from drawn from the band’s history, as far as time will allow.

 

 

Finally, would you send a message to your fans? What would you like to say to them?

Kevin Ridley: As mentioned above, Greece has always been a special place for Skyclad and we hope that this tour (with the whole band) will be no different. We are really looking forward to playing songs – old and new – and meeting up with friends – old and new – and making more memorable experiences; with a beer or two of course.

 

 

Thank you for your time! See you soon in Greece!

Kevin Ridley: Thank you!

 

 

 

Chris Mouskos, Milena Vlassopoulou

 

Black Velvet Radio

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