SKINLAB Frontman Says New Album Is 'Selling Like S**t'

Stefan Topuzov's Music Vault recently conducted an interview with vocalist/bassist Steev Esquivel of San Francisco Bay Area metallers SKINLAB. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

Stefan Topuzov's Music Vault: You cancelled a whole tour due to your lung infection, so asking you how you are doing right now is as good of a start as any.

Steev: I had this lung infection which is a first time for me. It really kicked my ass so we had to cancel the rest of the tour and go home. We were up there on the East Coast where it is much colder than what I'm used to so t really kicked my ass. But I am doing way better now so it's back to work.

Stefan Topuzov's Music Vault: Is it just me or SKINLAB hasn't had the best luck lately?

Steev: Well, it's the fuckin' story of SKINLAB's career. I don't know what it is but we have to fight for everything we get. But when we get it — it's ours. So at the end of the day it's good. We have always been a band that had to try harder than other bands. It's OK. We love what we do and that's the reason why we are doing it.

Stefan Topuzov's Music Vault: OK, let's talk the new album — it has been out for over a month now — any idea how it is selling?

Steev: It is selling like shit, actually, thanks to downloads and everything. Probably way more people downloaded it than they bought it. But we are not in this for the short run. Things that happen don't happen overnight. We are prepared to work hard in order to sell more records. Our fans are buying it now and it's cool. It is just that we expected to be in the game with the bigger dogs and it just didn't happen. So it's back to the drawing board. We're not young puppies in this game, so a lot of this stuff is not taking its toll on us as it would with a younger band. We gotta figure out our next step here. But we are planning tours for the beginning of next year. We are pretty pissed off, so we are ready to throw down, for sure. And a lot of people thought I was pretending to be sick as a publicity stunt just to sell more records. No, I am truly sick and this is the first tour I am cancelling. But, yeah, not everyone can be FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH or LAMB OF GOD. You have to go out, you have to do your best — nothing is a given.

Stefan Topuzov's Music Vault: I remember in 2002 when "reVolting Room" came out, a lot of fans were saying it sounded overproduced and that they actually liked the demos of songs like "Purify" and "Slave the Way" better. So did you consciously go for a more direct sound this time in contrast to the previous offering?

Steev: No. We actually always want to overproduce our records. We try to make the best record that we can. I come from the school of WHITESNAKE and METALLICA with loud guitars and thundering drums — this is the big thing about metal and rock'n roll. It is all about bombs and explosions and making shit sound fat. We never tried to underproduce anything we do. All that we do we try to produce to the best quality of sound. And sometimes you explore somewhere where the fans don't want you to be, but well — we cannot make everyone happy. To be honest, I don't think we did anything different than on "reVolting Room". I guess that it is just because of the production that people get that idea. And back then all the media wanted it to be the big commercial success that it wasn't. Sometimes a label can hype it up to more than it actually it is and make an album seem different than what it actually is. We're proud of that album. It is just that the scene kind of went under our feet. Everything changed and we were kind of left standing alone.

Stefan Topuzov's Music Vault: There was a bit of a hiatus for the band before the newest one came out. Was it because "reVolting Room" failed to meet expectations of being a huge success?

Steev: It wasn't really that "reVolting Room" didn't do that well. It was just that the label didn't treat us like a band that existed back then. We basically got a tour handed down to us by SLAYER and Jägermeister and our label didn't even want to give us 200 dollars a week to support us. So at this point we decided to just stop it, stop the bullshit. For that amount of money we couldn't even eat, let alone pay for gas and stuff. Luckily SLAYER and Jägermeister took us under their wing and gave us one more show. But in reality we didn't have the money to make it to the next show. So we decided to just stop. And this kind of hurt us. But I'd rather hurt my band than my family.

Stefan Topuzov's Music Vault: DEFIANCE also had a new album released not long ago. Any more serious plans for that band? Touring and stuff?

Steev: Well, I think it is safe to say, I don't know if they have told everyone yet, but I quit the band. I was only committed to doing some recordings because that was what Doug Harrington had wanted before he died. But then we got offered a record deal and some people in the band wanted to do more than the other. Personally, I wanted to concentrate on SKINLAB. It has always been my favorite. And after taking 15 years off DEFIANCE the guys and me had separated so much it wasn't really a band to me. It was kind of a pure thrash era thing and that is not what I want to do. I'd rather do what I love. But I did the record anyway and I think it is a great one. They actually have a new singer now.

Read the entire interview from Stefan Topuzov's Music Vault.

Capital Chaos has uploaded video footage (see below) of SKINLAB performing the song "In For The Kill" on October 24, 2009 at The Boardwalk in Orangevale, California. Also on the bill were DROP SEVEN, JUDHEAD, KEBERT XELA and AWAITING THE APOCALYPSE.

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