Skyclad, if for some strange reason you didnít already know, is a band that is fronted by Martin Walkyier, the same individual that fronted the now defunct Sabbat (But I think they got back together - Mike 2004). Anyway, Skyclad is a band youíll probably either love, or hate. Why? Well, the more obvious reason is because theyíre not your typical style of metal, which one could say that they arenít even metal, huh, Lieff?
This picture of Martin was sent by an old pen-pal. The others on this page were taken from their albums.
Consisting of eleven releases, nine of them being full-lengths, this band releases albums faster than any other band Iíve tried to keep up with. When I finally hear about a release, either in the U.S., or Europe, theyíre already getting ready to release their next album. Skyclad releases used to be hard to find, but thankfully Century Media is keeping stock on their releases, so be sure you check this awesome band out. I must also add, they have signed to Nuclear Blast, yahoo! (But that didnít last long, does anyone know what happened with that? - Mike 2004)
Oh, hey Martin, my phone bill was $154.64 for this phone call, you owe me! (Just Kidding.)
Martin: How are you doing, alright?
The Outcast: Yeah, Iím doing real well actually.
Martin: Is the weather nice over there?
The Outcast: Itís a lot better than what it was.
Martin: It has been alright today actually for England, itís not been too bad.
The Outcast: Whatís it like over in England?
Martin: Rainy, if you would probably imagine in Britain, but its okay right now for this time of year.
The Outcast: Yeah, my ex-girlfriend just got back from England actually.
Martin: Where about has she been?
The Outcast: All over from what I understand. She went to Iceland, UK, Italy I think, Denmark I think. It was a thing from school.
Martin: Thatís good. Sheís been to places that I havenít been to.
The Outcast: Yeah, I want to go really bad.
Martin: Yeah. I must say that your magazine is absolutely excellent, really, really good.
The Outcast: Thanks, so you liked it?
Martin: Real professional. I was showing it to a friend last night, and I was saying that I had to do an interview today, and my friend was saying how good it looked and couldnít believe it was self done.
The Outcast: Have you read any of the stories or interviews?
Martin: Iíve not had the chance to have a proper look through it; Iíve just had one look through it because weíve been really busy the past few months. Weíve been on tour, weíre looking for a new record deal because weíre free from the deal we had with Massacre now. Did you manage to get a copy of the new album?
The Outcast: I sure havenít. Itís hard to find in the U.S.
Martin: Did I send you the e-mail address for the record company?
The Outcast: I canít remember, but I think so.
Martin: Iíll tell you what, let me see if I can find a copy, if I canít get one, Iíll send you my copy.
The Outcast: That would be great!
Martin: We try to promote ourselves now, but we donít really have all the material to do so. We might be signing with another German label, it looks like we are, a company called Nuclear Blast. That has a lot more promotion in the U.S. and in other countries, which will help us promote the band and you never know, you might see us in the states one day.
The Outcast: Iíve got the two that Century Media re-released. What happened with them, why didnít you stay with them?
Martin: Iíve got no idea that was to do with Massacre. I think it was some kind of business deal that they had with Century Media, but I really donít know what happened and why the new one isnít released out there. Thatís the problem with Massacre, they were changing distribution companies a lot as well and it was just loads of problems with them. We got a lot of e-mails from a lot of people asking for a promo CD and that they never got one. We try our best to try and keep up with everything, but we do it all our selves so itís hard at the moment.
The Outcast: Who do you guys usually tour with on the road?
Martin: The last few things that weíve done have been on our own. Weíve done heavy shows and we did an un-plugged tour of Irish pubs that were very amusing. That was across Europe which was a lot of fun. It involved a lot of beer drinking, partying, it was great. Weíve toured with Paradise Lost, Manowar, Yngwie Malmsteen...
The Outcast: (Surprised to hear Yngwie) Really?
The Outcast: Thatís cool.
Martin: I think that with Skyclad, with the kind of band, we can pretty much play with any kind of band. We can have any band support us, and we can support any band, because the kind of music that we do is quite off the wall. Itís quite different; we donít really fit into a category. But when we play live shows we have all kinds of guys at our shows, we have the real metal heads, punks, goths, a really, really wide variety of people and thatís why we enjoy the music we do, because itís a lot more fun to bring a lot of different people together with the music.
The Outcast: What bands or musical styles do you enjoy most?
Martin: Practically everything Mike, everything from Dead Can Dance, Monster Magnet, many, many things honestly. Weíre really influenced by many styles. To me music is like food, if you only ate Chinese food, or Indian food, it would get very boring and monotonous, so itís nice to try different things every day, depending on the mood youíre in.
The Outcast: So tell me about the new album "Vintage Whine", and how does it compare in sound to any of the past albums?
Martin: Itís going back to the heavy roots. If you can imagine a cross between "The Answer Machine?" and the "Prince of the Poverty Line", itís kind of a mixture between the two. Weíve tried to keep the vocal harmonies which we started doing and using a lot of fiddle and different instruments and things like that. We try to keep the things that work from our little folk experiments, but at the same time go back a bit to the heavier roots. Weíve been around now for such a long time now, it makes it more interesting for us if we keep changing. I think if we found a formula and stuck with it for ten years; I think we would all be bored. Itís a very important thing for us.... our creativity. If a major label for example would tell Skyclad what to do, I donít think that would work. Some of the things weíve done havenít really been commercially successful, but it hasnít bothered us.
The Outcast: In Europe you guys are pretty big arenít you?
Martin: We do really, really well in mainland Europe. We get quite a lot of letters from the States, but how they get our material I donít know. We donít get much mail from Japan, but hopefully with the Nuclear Blast connection that might all change as well, Iíd love to go there. Iíve been to the states on the holidays; I have relatives who live in San Jose, California. We went to mix our album "The Silent Whales for Lunar Sea"; we mixed that in New England. We had a great time doing that, but weíve never been there to play. I think Skycladís music is kind of quirky, and Iím not saying that people will really like it all over the States or in Japan, but Iíd like to find out, you know?
The Outcast: Yeah, and I would really like to see you guys before I die. Do you play any of the old songs when you play live?
Martin: We try to play a mixture, we try and play something from every album, which is obviously quite hard to do sometimes, and weíd probably be on the stage for about a week if we did that. But I would say that 1/3 of the material is older stuff but we keep changing every tour, so...
The Outcast: You definitely have the material for that. Hey, can you hold on for a minute?
Martin: No problem.
The Outcast: My kitty wanted to get out so I had to put him up (Hey Spookito!).
Martin: What cat have you got?
The Outcast: I have a little calicoes cat.
Martin: I want a cat, but I donít think it would survive very long in my apartment when Iím away on tour. It would starve to death.
The Outcast: Do you guys tour a lot?
Martin: Yes, weíve done a lot of places. We keep going back to the same places a bit. Weíve done Germany, Holland, we just got into doing shows in Italy, France, we played the "Gods of Metal" festival this year, which hopefully will open the market of Italy further a bit. Actually weíre having a break now; weíre just beginning to write material for the new album. I donít think weíll be recording that until the fall of next year and maybe do some festivals in the summer. Itís a big thing for us really, for the next album that we want to do. It would be good to really work on it and get like we want it.
The Outcast: How fast do you write albums?
Martin: Very, very quickly. I think what it is Mike, is that with six people in the band now, together we have so many different influences and so many ideas. Writing songs, weíre like a kettle of water, weíre boiling and if the steam isnít allowed to get off, weíd explode. We said weíre not going to release an album or start recording it until the middle of next year, but Iíd be interested to see if we can actually wait that long before putting something down on tape. We like creating it. If we were a band that was told that they couldnít release an album for four years, I donít know what weíd do, weíd go mad, you know?
The Outcast: How do you feel about having session musicians? Do you think that has helped Skyclad evolve in any way?
Martin: The reason we had session musicians is a bit of a shame. We had practically apart from the violin changes we had the same line up until after we recorded "The Silent Whales..." album. Then Dave P. and Keith B. the guitarist and drummer that we had, decided to leave the band due to financial reasons. Weíve been looking for the last four years the replacements for them and then we actually found the right people and they are the guys we have now. Kevin was there the whole time, heís been our producer and we had often thought about asking him if he wanted to do it but we just assumed he would say no. Finally one day we asked him, I think we were drunk in the pub, and he said yes, heíd love to, so that was good. Jake, the drummer, is a guy weíve known for a few years. He was actually playing drums in another band when we heard that heíd left the band. We called him up and here he is. We actually have that family feeling back again and that is very important to us.
The Outcast: So what happened with Fritha Jenkins? I know she was pregnant, did she not want to come back?
Martin: She wanted to return to the band when Maegan was a bit older, but I think she realized once she had her daughter, the commitment of motherhood was too much. Then we had Kath H. who helped us out for about a year, which was good of her. In the end we got Georgina, and I think it was the best thing that happened because sheís by far the best fiddler weíve ever had and sheís got very good ears for music and sheís very, very nice to work with and sheís more rock n roll than the rest of us put together. She can drink more beer than any of us in the band and Iím not joking there.
The Outcast: Why do you think it ends up being a woman for the fiddle rather than a guy?
Martin: It seems to be that itís a girlís kind of instrument, but Iím not sure. In a way itís something that we have chosen. I think itís a positive thing...there seems to be in metal a lot of sexism around, itís not so bad now as it was, but a few years ago, when I was growing up with heavy metal when I was fifteen or sixteen, they (the women) werenít the ones on stage, which I think is a real shame because women are equal to men and often superior in many ways. I see no reason why women shouldnít be up on the stage making the music and I think itís good that Skyclad is a band that is against all isms, sexism, racism, the whole lot.
The Outcast: What is your opinion on our current world technology?
Martin: I think technology is a very good thing if itís used in a right way, which unfortunately what man kind never seems to do. Whenever something new is invented, it always seems that human beings are very, very good at finding a way to screw things up. Weíve genetically modified food, crops, you know the advances in genetic engineering and I think itís all very frightening. There is no control and people are very greedy, and itís a shame.
The Outcast: What do you think about the Y2K?
Martin: Whatís that story; I donít know what that is.
The Outcast: Itís supposedly a worldwide virus thatís going to cause everything to crash in the year 2000.
Martin: Iím not that much of an expert on computers. Iím not on the Internet you see, which is why it takes a long time for your e-mails to get back to me, I donít really know, will it be bad?
The Outcast: I donít really know, but I think itís all a money scam thing to sell more books on it and stuff.
Martin: I use a notebook for writing my lyrics and things on and thatís about it, so as long as it doesnít affect my notebook, thatís okay.
The Outcast: Speaking of your lyrics, what inspires you to write?
Martin: Life really. Iím a big people watcher. The songs are about people that I have met, things that I have seen on T.V., books that Iíve read, things that have influenced me, that moved me in either a positive or a negative way. I donít keep a diary but in a way my lyrics are sort of like my diary from the last...I could say ever since the Sabbat days. Basically all it is what my opinion is about the world. Everything can influence me, you know?
The Outcast: What about the Bible, how much does that influence you on your lyrics?
Martin: Iíve read the bible, Iím not a Christian at all, Iím a pagan, but I think itís always good to read as much as you can about every religion. I think itís always good to understand another personís point of view before you comment on it. I think a lot of what the Bible says in the New Testament is very good. Love your neighbor as you would yourself and things like that. Itís very basic, also to the pagan beliefs that I have. The thing I donít like about the bible is the way itís been twisted and corrupted by people who have used it for the wrong reasons.
The Outcast: Exactly.
Martin: The same thing that has happened with technology as well. Sometimes I try to keep positive and keep my faith in human nature, but sometimes when you look around and see what people are really up to. I wonder sometimes what kind of world weíre going to leave our children to inherit and how will they know whatís truth and whatís lies because the whole thing so twisted and itís getting worse.
The Outcast: What do you think about eye for an eye or turn the other cheek?
Martin: It would be nice to able to do it, but I donít think you can do it in the world today. I try and go through life and treat other people the way I would like to be treated. I try to walk through life with a smile on my face. There are times when things do get too much and do get you annoyed and I believe that there are things worth fighting for, but not the things that most people fight about, like money, petty arguments and things like that. I believe if somebody does something to you, you have to look at it objectively and say "is it really worth violence" and Iím sure that nine times out of ten it isnít and you should turn the other cheek. But there really is a time when you have to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. But this macho way people tend to go around, and not just men, but women as well with this aggressive attitude. I think itís a very negative thing. I think we should all try and put ourselves in another persons shoes and if someone does something bad to you, you should try and think about their reasons for doing that, why theyíve done it and try and understand their point of view, and if in the end of the day you still feel youíve been wronged, then you should do something about it.
The Outcast: So with saying that, whatís your #1 philosophy in life?
Martin: To respect yourself, respect one another, and to respect nature and all the animals as well. In one word, respect, respect for everything, I think itís very important.
The Outcast: Why do you think people go from one extreme to another?
Martin: I think people like extremes. Extremes are things people can latch on to and can identify with. A lot of the young kids who may be disillusioned with Christianity because of all the bullshit that has been done in the name of Christ, will automatically say, "Well Iíll go to the opposite extreme, which is Satanism", instead of looking for the middle ground. Extremes attract the young. You have to look at the kind of music that people listen to, itís very, very extreme in a lot of ways. I donít believe in Christianity or Satanism, I think itís all a bunch of rubbish, because if you say "I am a Satanist", then you must surely believe in Jesus Christ and God, so then it makes you some kind of perverted sort of Christian really. In my opinion Satan was invented by the church to scare people into paying their taxes or something. I donít believe in anything the church has invented.
The Outcast: So what do you think about Jesus Christ?
Martin: I think there was a guy called Jesus Christ who was a prophet, who was ahead of his time, and who was a very good and a very gentle and a very wise man. He said a lot of very special, clever and important things in his time, up to where he said he was the son of God. It wasnít worth the millions of people who died in his name.
The Outcast: So, what do you hope to find after death?
Martin: Um, a pub (laughter). A pub thatís open 24 hours a day. I donít know really. Iíve read quite a lot of books on the subject and talked to a lot of people and I definitely believe that there is a life after death, but I wouldnít call it what we call life or something, but something happens when we die, itís not the end. I think there is a source of energy in the universe where all life comes from, we borrow our energy for a short while from that big source, and when were done with it, when itís had enough of being in our bodies, it goes back to where it came from. I mean, Iím not sure what to expect, Iím going to leave that as a big surprise and see when I get there.
The Outcast: Yeah, I think everyone will be surprised really.
Martin: If you go through life and you try and treat people nice and a fair way, everyone screws up now and then, but if you try your best to do that, you canít go far wrong. If the Christians got it right at the end of the day, and on judgment day you know, Iím standing before St. Peter or whoever, I can always say "Look, Iím sorry I totally pissed off the church a little bit, but I wasnít too bad was I?" So hopefully heíll let me sneak in the back door or something (laughter).
The Outcast: What do you think would be the worst way to die and the best way?
Martin: I think that the worst way to die would be alone and in pain. The best way would be to be screwed to death by two beautiful bisexual girls!
The Outcast: What do you want your epitaph to say?
Martin: On my tombstone I would like it to say: "Here lie the earthly remains of Martin Walkyier; Screwed to death by two beautiful bisexual girls!"
The Outcast: Whatís a Skyclad show like?
Martin: We try to make every Skyclad show a real "event", where both band and audience give 100% and have a real good time. The Skyclad audiences are a mixed bunch of like-minded people. We get all sorts; Metal Heads, Goths, Punks, Bikers, Hippies and just about every type of person that you could possibly imagine. Not that many bisexual girls I'm sorry to say.
The Outcast: What are some of your favorite movies?
Martin: Check out the memberís page on our web-site. We all list our favorite films, books, foods, etc.
The Outcast: If Death came and told you that you only had one more day to live, what would you do?
Martin: If Death came and told me that I had only one day to live, I would spend the daylight hours writing as many lyrics as I could. In the evening I would go for a great meal, and then have a party with all my friends. The last few hours would ideally be spent with a large bag of weed; and hopefully two beautiful bisexual girls of course!
The Outcast: Off the subject, whatís your educational background?
Martin: I went to three pretty normal schools where I did sort of alright but that was about it. I was always a weird kid. I was only interested in religion, philosophy, and things like that. English language and literature, that was my favorite because I found it easy. Words are something that comes easily to me. Math was definitely my least favorite subject and still is. Iím terrible with numbers. I was the only kid in school that was really interested in religious education. My religious education teacher actually thought because I was really interested in this, I think he thought I was a Christian as he was. He called me back after class one day and said "Ah, look Martin, if you want to attend any of the church meetings that I go too, you can always tag along." But when I turned to him and told him that I had faith but that it was totally different than his, I think he didnít really know what to make of that. I enjoyed that, but after that we still got along, so...
The Outcast: Well Martin, I believe thatís it for me, do you have any closing words?
Martin: A very big hello to all the readers of The Outcast, and we look forward to getting to the States. Thanks a lot for your support if youíve been digging through the record stores trying to find Skyclad Cdís for the last ten years. Hopefully itíll get better. Cheers and thank you very much Mike.