Interview with George Pond
Conducted By Robert Williams
New Jersey hard rocker’s Sekond Skyn are currently hitting the road with veteran rockers Living Colour in support of the new album "Addicted To Chaos" Having previously cemented themselves in the live front opening up for national acts like Testament, Suicidal Tendencies, Anthrax and Machione Head among many others; the band is now poised to tap into the international market with an appearance on an upcoming European hard rock compilation. Bassist George Pond fills us in on how an unsigned band was able to ink a deal with Viacom and have their music featured on popular television programs, adding some beef to a Men At Work classic, working with Danny Schuler of Biohazard, and all things related to the new album "Addicted To Chaos"
How are you doing George?
Sekond Skyn recently released "Addicted To Chaos" your third full length album back in March. What would you like people to know about "Addicted To Chaos" ?
What do I want them to know? I want them to know that when they put the CD in they can’t expect the same song from beginning to end. They can just expect a potpourri of different sounds and different moods and different feelings that come out of the album…you know? It’s full of a lot of energy and a lot of feeling so…that’s pretty much it. In words…that’s how I’d describe it.
It sounds like a lot went into recording "Addicted To Chaos" how long would you say you guys worked on this album? A couple years?
No. Believe it or not when you look at the dates on the releases of the albums we pretty much do write an album a year. So "Addicted To Chaos" definitely was not more than a year in the making. When we released the six song EP through the Attack/Universal label I think four months, or five months later we were already recording "Addicted To Chaos"
By the time the recording process is over you already hate the album you know what I mean? I don’t mean that literally I just mean your sick of heaing it, because you listen to it so many times…you write the album, you rehearse the album, you pre-recorded it and pre-production and then you record the tracks and listen to it a thousand times, you know what I mean?
By the time the album is released we are already six songs deep into another album.
Is "Addicted To Chaos" a self released effort?
"Addicted To Chaos" is actually self released. We left Attack/Universal. We could have released the album on that label but things happen so we just decided to put it out on our own. We are looking for some hard distributrion. You can get a hard copy of the album on CD Baby or as a digital download on Rhapsody, i-Tunes, Limewire…you know, all the big ones…Most people these days are going digital anyway.
So on your current tour in support of your new album "Addicted To Chaos" you are touring with hard rock legends Living Colour as well as playing some dates with Cycle of Pain the new band featuring John DeServio of Black Label Society. You guys have got to be physched about that…
Oh man, I mean me being a bass player I’ll tell you what Robert…That’s…one of the ultimate highs for me. You got two legendary bass players…Not to mention John (DeServio) he grew up a couple towns away from me and I grew up watching him as well as Zakk (Wylde) so I got to see these guys; I don’t wanna say "come up" but more or less John has been one of my idols growing up and as far as Doug Wimbish (Living Colour) who can discredit his abilities in the music industry? That guy is a frickin’ monster as well.
Being a bass player and looking up to these guys when I was a kid; I used to go to clinics, I saw JD play with Al Pitrelli at Guitar Center when I was like fourteen or fifteen years old. For me it’s like…I get chills just thinking about going out with them. You know what I mean?
We owe it to them because they’re taking us out on the road. Believe it or not the only reason they’re taking us out is because they are fans of the band…and that’s just another reason for me to be so stoked.
Sekond Skyn offers up a hard rocking interpretation of the Men At Work classic "Down Under" on the new album, what exactly inspired you guys to cover this track? Have you developed a huge following in Australia because of this?
To be honest this is a question that I get asked all the time Robert and it just came down to somebody mentioned it. Eddie (Heedles – Guitar) decided to take it on his own and learn it and I think three days later he came to rehearsal with the song pretty much structured the way he interpreted it on guitar and he handed John (Follett – Vocals) the lyrics and by the end of practice we were playing it.
I gotta be honest; when he came up to me with the idea at the beginning of rehearsal I looked at him like he had a chicken on his head, you know what I mean? I was like "Dude, what are you talking about? You wanna do Land Down Under? Men At Work?" You know what I’m saying? But at the end of the rehearsal we were all looking at each other like "Holy shit! That sounds cool as hell!"
I understand you guys recently inked a deal with Viacom to have your music featured in the popular Mtv programs "Mtv Cribs, My Super Sweet 16, True Life, and High School Stories" How did you guys as a currently unsigned act land such a deal?
It just so happens that we are so hard working; and I no that has become a cliche thing to say, but for an unsigned band we really do get a lot of opportunities by trying to see what kind of opportunities are out there constantly. We’re really hard working at that. A lot of people might think that just being good players and good musicians and playing a couple local shows that somebody’s just gonna come knocking on your door with a bag of money and a record contract…I mean, that’s just not the way it happens…you know?
Especially in today’s market and today’s music industry it’s tougher than it has ever been before because record companies are just not signing bands in this economy. You have to be extra dedicated to do something in this economy. You really have to be willing to make some sacrifices like take some big loans out or do something like that. Just crazy things like drive somewhere to go meet somebody that you may not even meet, you know what I mean? You have to do some crazy things to get ahead and it just boils down to us looking at opportunities whether it be online or a subscription to a blog or whatever. There’s plenty of opportunities out there you just have to go out and get them.
Speaking of "Let The Fire Burn" I see that you guys had filmed a video for the song "Echo" from that album. Does Sekond Skyn have any plans to film any videos for the new record?
We would love to do that. There’s been some talk with some people but right now we do have some live footage up of "The Pit" which is a big metal hit right now as far as the radio stations are concerned and stuff like that. A lot of people dig that tune and are calling and requesting it. You’re not gonna find commercial radio stations playing that song but as far as college stations and stuff like that they really dig that song.
I also watched a Sekond Skyn DVD teaser recently on youtube. What’s the deal with that, do you guys have a DVD release currently in the works?
We do have a DVD release currently in the works, that was some footage from the studio. Acutually there was a little joke on me in there, I don’t know if you’ve listened to the cd but there was a voice mail of me on there from probably a year prior. I was like "That wasn’t me! That wasn’t me!" But it was me and I didn’t know it was me. When you listen to this disc you’ll hear the part and you’ll know it was me…and I absolutely did not know it was me when I was in the studio listening to it…you know?
To me I didn’t think it sounded like me, but everyone else was like "Dude? What are you thinking? You can’t tell that’s you?" Whatever I feel like an ass…alright?
According to your bio Sekond Skyn formed in late 2005, and it wasn’t long after that when you released your debut album "Let The Fire Burn" that was mastered by longtime Biohazard drummer Danny Schuler. How did you guys originally form as a band and what led to working with Danny?
Four of us used to be in a band previous ok? We had met Jon before we knew he was a singer but honestly we didn’t really have any interest in Jon as a singer until we ran into him at a club and the timing was right. The four of us had been playing together in a previous band called Backhand when we were younger and we had split up and eventually got back together and it just kinda fell together. My guitar player Mark had run into Jon at a urinal at the Stone Pony and looked over and knew Jon was a singer and just said "Hey bro. You wanna try out for my band?" That was kind of how we formed.
As far as working with Danny Schuler…we know a mutual friend who owned a studio where Danny was the engineer there. He heard the material and he wanted to mix it and stuff and the price was right so he went ahead and did it, you know what I mean? At the time when we recorded that record we didn’t even know if we wanted to be in a band together. It was that early on. I think everybody when they get in a band feel each other out and see if they like each other and it’s kind of like a relationship, if you get past the first year you can go longer. We just got together to have a good time and we didn’t really take it that serious…you know what I mean?
Being one of the band’s set to appear on the forthcoming European hard rock compilation "Born 2 Rock 2009" also featuring the music of Metallica and AC/DC; do you presently have any plans to do some touring abroad?
You know that really just depends on how it works out. There’s opportunities all the time that fall through. If I told you every opportunity that the band has had and you saw how many falled through I would look like the biggest asshole on the planet. So…I would say…If the opportunity is there, then we’re there. There is nothing that this band is gonna shy away from as fas as touring goes, that’s for sure.If it comes about we’ll jump right on it.
How did you orginally get into hard rock and heavy metal music? Who were your early influences?
My early influences? I’m a weird dude when it comes to that because I do play bass so most of my influences have to do with bass players. More jazz oriented bass players like Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius. As far as heavy metal music I guess it’s always been in my blood I always find myself gravitating towards that. It get’s me up in the morning, it’s what makes me wanna turn my radio up…so I don’t know…that’s a tough question…my early influences were bands like Anthrax, Metallica…band’s like that who changed my outlook on music. I guess Kiss when I was young, young, young…five or six year’s old when they were wearing makeup. Pantera man…huge influence on me too. Those are band’s that I was like crankin’…you know what I mean? The first Skid Row album…that was definitely awesome. So those were my early influences.
So is it to early for you guys to start working on the next release? Do you guys have any plans for that?
Hell no it’s not too early. We got some plans and some songs on the backburner that we already wanna put on it. Right now we’re trying to get some label interest behind our music. I’m not gonna lie to you. Money is definitely an issue as far as putting the next record out. We’re just trying to push this one right now but as far as writing goes we’re definitely ready for it.
I’d like to thank you for taking the time to talk with me today George. Before we wrap this up do you have any last words for your fans?
Come out and support us on the tour man and we’ll kick ass for you. That’s all…