When he picks up the phone ‘The Axeman’ and Devilskin bassist Paul Martin warns there’s the potential for our scheduled phone interview to be spasmodically interrupted.
“I’ve got a crew over tearing up my driveway, so you might hear the odd kango hammer or sledgehammer pounding and smashing away.” It’s a wonderfully metal introduction for a wonderfully metal man.
For numerous decades now he’s stalked stages all over New Zealand and across the world as a member of bands like Knightshade, Blackjack, World War Four, and more recently, Devilskin.
Next year Paul and his Devilskin family, vocalist Jennie Skulander, guitarist Nail and drummer Nic Martin, will be heading our way to rock Mount Maunganui’s ASB Baypark to its foundations on January 6, 2017.
The upcoming concert is part of a massive 20-date tour of New Zealand and Australia in celebration of their new album Be Like The River and will see Devilskin joined on stage by Grammy Award winning American hard rock band Halestorm for seven of the shows.
“The last time we played Baypark, it’s a huge venue and I was crapping myself thinking it’d look awful if it’s not full, and we got a massive crowd. Beautiful people partying and there for a good time. We always have a good time when we play the Bay.
“Playing with Halestorm during this tour is going to be a lot of fun. They actually requested to play with us and we’re stoked about that. They sound like really neat people and there’s a bit of funny serendipity between the bands.”
That’s because Halestorm singer Lzzy Hale and drummer Arejay are brother and sister, and their dad used to play bass. While with Devilskin, a dad plays bass, his sister in law’s the singer and his son is the drummer.
“It’s kind of crazy.”
The official video for Devilskin’s second single ‘Pray’, created by director Tim Van Dammen.
This upcoming tour will see Devilskin play new material from their latest album Be Like The River which was recorded at Modern World Studios in Tetbury, England, earlier this year and saw its release on November 11.
Prior to recording Be Like The River, Paul says the band spent months locked away writing and preparing material for the album and they would eventually head into the studio with roughly 30 demos – 11 of which would make the final cut.
“All of us got disappointed in one way or another,” he says laughing. “So we’ve got a huge backlog of songs that we haven’t recorded yet. If we had the money and the time to record another album they’d stack up quite well with each other.
“We’re just absolutely blown away with what we’ve achieved, we set out to make these songs, recorded really well and just make it the best we can, and we all came away pretty satisfied.”
When asked if there’s an overall theme which runs through Be Like The River, he replies: “hope through darkness”.
“The overall feeling is there’s lots of darkness out there and some shit going on, but there’s always hope. That’s kind of the concept of where the album is going, it’s uplifting but it’s got some darkness to it.
“It’s not a conceptual album at all, it just flows really well and got that overall sort of theme of hope through darkness.”
The first single ‘Mountains’ from Be Like The River, Shot and directed by Joe Murdie.
On the day we speak, Paul’s favourite song off of the new album is ‘House 13’ and it’s one he’s also looking forward to busting out live next January.
He says the song features a guitar riff he’s had for years and years, a riff that refused to leave him alone.
“It kept nagging me and nagging me and wanted to be written. I had it tagged for my other band World War Four but when the other guys heard it, well we started playing it and holy crap, it fell together more beautifully than I ever could have ever dreamed.
“Jennie’s performance on is just outstanding and stunning, her singing on the first album is awesome but she’s outshone everything on Be Like the River.”
The day before he says his favourite track was ‘Closer’, a song that’s completely opposite to ‘House 13’ as it’s quite stripped down and features one guitar, vocals and strings.
“It’s a lot more honest and simple, some of the songs on the albums are quite complex. There’s another track called ‘Limbs’ which is this big swirling rollercoaster of a ride where we’ve layered vocals and guitars, it’s our Pink Floyd track if you like,” he says with a chuckle.
“My favourite song will change tomorrow, every time I listen I’m going ‘wow, is that us?’. It’s hard to pick a favourite, this new album is really diverse, it’s like trying to pick a favourite child.”
Despite the countless hours and all the hard work each and every member of Devilskin have put into the band, Paul admits the success they’ve achieved recently has caught them by surprise.
“We really appreciate everyone who’s stood by us and the people who’ve come see us play and bought the tee shirts and CD’s. A huge thank you to everyone who’s stuck by us and got us to where we are today, we are all really grateful to be here.”
When the tour kicks off in December, it’ll be Devilskin’s first tour in a long, long time, and Paul says the band are all fired up and raring to go.
“We can finally live and breathe these songs on stage and play them to people. Playing live has always been first and foremost to Devilskin, so when you’re away from a stage for more than six months it’s hard.
“We’ve got a bigger, better PA and pretty special light show, plus having Halestorm on the bill and City of Souls from Auckland, a neat bunch of guys and a great live band. It’s going to be a great night to be in the audience I think.”
SunLive has two double passes and two copies of Devilskin’s new album ‘Be Like The River’ to give away to two lucky reader who can tell us ?
Enter online at www.sunlive.co.nz under the competition section. All entries must be received by Wednesday, November 16.
Devilskin with Halestorm and City of Souls will rock ASB Baypark in Mount Maunganui on Friday, January 6. This is an R18 gig. Tickets cost $70 and available online from Eventfinda. For more information visit: www.devilskin.co.nz