Devilskin hit the road
Devilskin has a No. 1 album in the bag and a 20-date tour of Australia and New Zealand lined up. They also have a wee problem on their hands.
Jennie Skulander’s stunning voice can usually be heard over pounding drums and heavy metal riffage supplied by her band mates in Devilskin.
Sometimes, during the Hamilton rocker’s heavier moments, Skulander will grab sponges soaked in thick red dye and finish a song by squeezing them out above her and unleashing a paint-stripping death growl.
But today, Skulander’s a little quieter. When she answers the phone, she greets Time Out with a barely audible whisper.
“She’s just feeding at the moment . . . hopefully she stays quiet,” says the softly spoken singer as she nurses her baby to sleep.
Three-month-old Georgia is already a Devilskin fan, with her own mini black T-shirts to prove it.
Her arrival has come at a critical time for the Hamilton rockers. Devilskin’s second record
Be Like the River is No. 1 on the New Zealand album charts, they’ve played their first show in seven months, opening for rock giants Disturbed, and they’re gearing up to play 20 sweaty dates across Australia and New Zealand over December and January.
Georgia will be going with Skulander to every show, with her fiance or a babysitter taking over when Devilskin’s due on stage.
“It’s going to be a little bit harder because I still have to be a mum,” she says. “She’s becoming a little travel baby. She’ll be at the soundchecks . . . we’ve got ear muffs for her.”
Skulander admits she didn’t plan on having a new baby at the same time as a new album and large tour.
“When I found out [I was pregnant], we’d already booked a UK and European tour . . . that I still went over and did. Because of being pregnant we decided it would be a good time to record the album and get it done.” That means all those vocals on
Be Like a River were recorded while Skulander was four months pregnant, “short of breath . . . and feeling like absolute shit”.
It got worse. During their European tour, Skulander was hospitalised with a bout of flu and gastro.
She was sick,” guitarist Nail says. “She was vomiting, she had it all going on, and she got up every night, didn’t complain, and sang like a pro.”
Having a baby on the road is another step up, but Skulander’s bandmates— Nail, bassist Paul Martin and his son, drummer Nic Martin— all agree that she’s more than capable of juggling those demands.
“She’s at the top of her game,” Paul says. “She’s got bigger balls than any guy singer I’ve played with. She’s a monster. I’ve never met anyone like her. She outstaunches them all . . . Jennie’s just risen to it, she’s an exceptional mum and everything’s on the up. It’s just worked out really well.”
But both Paul and Nail admit there were some tense moments when she first told the band she was pregnant.
“The whole ‘Jennie getting pregnant’ thing obviously was like, ‘Woah, the singer’s pregnant, I’ve never been in a band with a pregnant singer before. What happens next?’,” says Paul.
“Our whole band’s a family. We’re all there for each other, everyone wants the same thing, we just want to make more music, and wherever that takes us, we’re into it.” To a point.
“We’ve done our time changing nappies.” Which is exactly what Skulander is doing as she gets Georgia ready for her nap. Luckily, Devilskin’s newest member is a fan of their music and often falls asleep listening to their songs.
“My partner reckons . . . heavy metal comforts her,” says Skulander. “Maybe she knows the songs from when I recorded them while having her in my belly.”
Kiwi rockers Devilskin are hitting the road for a December/January summer tour— and lead singer Jennie Skulander has just had a baby.