PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO US AND TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
Hi, I’m solo artist Steve Skidmore aka Skidders - song writer, producer, guitarist and session-guitarist. Born in Smethwick in the centre of England, within an area known as the Black Country due to steelworks, furnaces etc., during the Industrial Revolution.
I produce all my own material and play all instruments, apart from the human voice, which I am eminently rubbish at! So my compositions are 95% guitar instrumentals. On my three albums to date, I have not really limited my compositions to be “gig friendly”, hence me gigging mainly with other projects, as I call them. For example, I gig regularly with my duo Bukechi, with the fabulous Sammi Roberts on vocals. However, I will start working on my fourth album shortly, which will be geared towards taking on the road.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW ALBUM OR SINGLE?
So my latest and third album, “Friends & Family Vol. 2”, was only released a few weeks back, 4th May. I’m still busy promoting the album which is my favourite to date. There are three videos for three of the tracks - two were released as singles prior to album release. The album is available on all streaming platforms and if you have a subscription, please do take a listen. It is also available in CD format (what’s a CD?). It is a very eclectic album with 13 electric and acoustic guitar instrumentals tracks and one song. I drafted-in the fantastic Cotswold legend, Andrew James for vocals on that one. Don’t think it’s all ‘pretty pretty’ guitar music. Take a listen to track one - “Aunty Bulgaria”. It’s a rock instrumental for which I was very proud of the end result. My Stratocaster sounded lovely on that track, thanks to Leo Fender!
WHAT INSPIRED THE ALBUM OR SINGLE?
As the title might suggest, “Friends & Family Vol. 2” is my second album dedicated to friends and family members, past and present. My debut album, “Skidderslectric” was a random selection of electric guitar instrumentals (bar one song) and my second album “Friends & Family” followed the same pattern as my latest and third.
I couldn’t fit all the tracks, or rather, people I wanted to on one album, hence volume 2. So what inspired me was the people I dedicated the compositions to. Each track, I tried to have empathy between the person to whom it was dedicated and the composition. For example, for some Irish friends, I composed a Celtic style acoustic track.
CAN YOU SUM UP THE ALBUM IN A FEW WORDS?
The album is very eclectic and there’s rock, jazz, reggae, C&W and even the Celtic I mentioned. The one song on the album was dedicated to my long-suffering wife, so I couldn’t sing such a serious song, hence me drafting in Andrew. The remaining tracks are either acoustic or electric guitar of various
styles. I would not describe it as middle of the road, rather, going to the edges of the various genres.
WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
Great question! Sorry, I have to list 4 because they all had a similar impact on me. They would be “Love Me Do”, The Beatles; “Dance On’, The Shadows; “Honky Tonk Woman”, The Rolling Stones; and “Alright Now”, Free.
They all made me sit up, listen very carefully, soaking them up and made me want me to listen to them again and again. I was fascinated by the guitar work on all of them. The first two made me fall in love with the guitar and the last two had me copying the originals in my bedroom on my Baldwin hollow-body electric.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOUR BAND OR ANOTHER ARTIST?
My own favourite video is “Just Boozin;”. As I mentioned earlier, I can’t sing, but if I do it will only be for tongue in cheek songs. So as the title suggests, this song is about my wife moaning at me for drinking too much (autobiographical?). The lip syncing is deliberately poor and was made on a shoelace budget. I have to laugh every time I see it.
My favourite video of an artist is Eric Clapton’s “Pretending” - boy, did he get wet!
WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
I love cooking Indian food and entertaining. Fly fishing is another hobby. Music seems to take up most of my time however.
DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
It depends where and what I am playing. As I mentioned earlier, most live performances are for projects other than my album music. If I am totally solo, I tend to get more nervous and I get around that by ensuring the set is rehearsed to death. A gig I played with Bukechi just before the pandemic was so professionally run, we had to go on the stage when prompted and start playing almost immediately. This happened several times as other acts came on in between us. Waiting behind the curtains to be called was quite stressful and the worst part was plugging in my guitar and starting off the song as soon as possible to avoid the deafening silence in between artists. I should have gone wireless in retrospect.
HOW DO YOU WRITE?
I either have an idea I want to develop. It could just come into my head or I might hear something on a film, the TV and want to do something similar. I know that sounds a bit plagiaristic but it’s not about copying the song, rather be inspired by it to develop my own composition. Other times, I might be practising or noodling on my guitar and come up with something I believe is a good idea to develop.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Simply the music itself and/or the performance. If the composition grabs me and it’s executed superbly, I will soak it all in and possible some of it might inadvertently come out later in a riff or passage of my own playing. I have all my old favourites that have inspired me, plus some newer ones. KT Tunstall is brilliant and I listed to Amthyst Kiah’s “Wary + Strange” recently. She’s great!
WHAT IS NEXT?
My fourth album will be geared towards playing live, rather than my previous albums. So it will be less “produced” and more cut down. I will start work on “Feckem Hall” later this year. I am also recording some guitar for a writer called Kylolus who is putting together a prog-rock album. It is very cool stuff and he has me doing some nice long guitar solos on quite a few of the tracks.
PLEASE TELL US ANY SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS SO WE CAN SHARE.
Many thanks to Photogroupie for the opportunity of this interview and for all readers, keep safe!
Twitter - https://twitter.com/skiddersmusic
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/skiddersmusic
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Soundcloud - https://www.soundcloud.com/skiddersmusic
Apple Music - https://music.apple.com/gb/artist/skidders/259672296