Southampton three-piece Band of Skulls have built their way up to become one of the UK's hottest new bands, gaining critical acclaim and a fervent fanbase.
After relentless touring and two previous longplayers, they unveil new album Himalayan on March 31st and all the signs are that it will propel them even further into the big league.
We caught up with them during rehearsals to discover their Ultimate Playlist - read on for some excellent selections and the stories behind them.
Favourite movie soundtrack song
"Have you ever seen Blow with Johnny Depp? The film’s based around a fella called George Jung who was the biggest cocaine smuggler in the 70s, which is played by Johnny Depp. We’ve got two songs from the film: the first one is the opening song from the film and they're bringing a delivery of cocaine from a small prop little prop plane, as soon as it touches down, it’s Can't You Hear me Knocking by The Rolling Stones, and it sets the scene so beautifully. Later on in the film it’s Rumble by Link Wray which, again, is music to take drugs to."
Favourite sad song
"Well we’ve got two. Our first sad song is The Beatles – In My Life. It sort of feels like a clocking-off sort of song, your days are up, it’s reflecting on things, the guitars are very beautiful, beautifully sad. That one always gets me.
"The other one is Elvis’s Always On My Mind. The opening line is so instant. You just crumble at that first line “Maybe I didn’t treat you quite as well as I should have”."
Favourite song from my childhood
"This is a big of a tricky one. My dad who’s a musician used to play this song to us called Mama Don’t Allow No Guitar Playing Around Here. It’s this old traditional song, I don’t know who did it, he got it out of a song-book, what you do, you change the line every time of what Mama doesn’t allow. We’d sit down, and me and my sister would take turns in thinking of what Mama wasn’t going to let us do. The best one’s always like ‘Mama Don’t Allow No Guitar Playing Around Here’ but then you know Mama couldn’t allow no cigarettes knocking around here, I don’t care what Mama don’t like, I’m going to smoke my cigarettes any old time. It was great. There was a version of that which was done by JJ Cale. I phoned up my Dad to find out who originally did it just a little while ago; he used to be a headmaster - he’s retired now - but he said he did it with all the kids in the school and he’d go around all the various kids and they’d pick something that Mama wouldn’t let them do. So, yeah that’s my memory from childhood."
Favourite club anthem
"This is definitely a collective of the three of us, it is M.I.A – Paper Planes, but it’s a remix which was done by DFA. You can drop that anywhere, and it’s just irresistible."
Favourite song that no-one else has heard of
"There’s a lady called Sarah Johns, I went to see her play at the Old St Pancras Church. I got taken there by a friend of mine, who knows this girl, she runs a pub up in Dalston, and we go there a lot, and we went to see her play, she did a show there. She’s just released an EP and she’s got a song on it called Blossom Tree, which is very beautiful and sweet, and she’s got a wonderful voice, she plays a drum and she loops a lot of stuff, her harmonies and vocals. I don’t think a lot of people have heard that song, it’s pretty great."
Favourite wedding song
"We’ve got two here, Emma’s choice was Chas n Dave – Rabbit, we’re big fans of Chas n Dave, we thought that would be hilarious at a wedding. Russell’s choice went for a pretty, straight-up obvious one White Wedding by Billy Idol."
Favourite lyric from a song
"Emma was at hand for this one, this is a Tom Waits song called God’s Away on Business and the line from it is “I’d sell your heart to the junk-man, baby, for a buck, for a buck”, because it’s just one of the best songs there’s ever been, just his voice and everything."
Favourite current song
"We’re really big fans of a lady called Anna Calvi, we knew her from years ago when we used to run club nights in Southampton. We managed to get her down with her old band and she’s one of the most incredible vocalists; she’s such a small lady, but the power in her voice that comes out is incredible, and she’s such an amazing guitarist. Russell was terrified to go on afterwards, I’m sure she won’t mind me saying that. She’s recently come out with a new album and the lead single from it was a song called Suddenly, which is beautiful and there’s a real magic to it."
Favourite one-hit wonder
"Do you ever remember in the 90s when Levi’s did those amazing commercials? Yeah it’s The Lilys – A Nanny in Manhattan. They always had the coolest music which fitted with their adverts; Shaggy - Mr Bombastic was one of them. It was always these great sort of hits, they did a campaign when Levi’s was going all hippie-ish, with all these bell-bottoms, and flower power sort of stuff, that was the trend at the time, and the song is called A Nanny in Manhattan and it’s a real throwback song, but it’s awesome."
Favourite song from your own music
"We’re being totally selfless and plugging our new single! Our new single is a song called Nightmares, I can’t give you any other reason, other than we’re plugging the complete shit out it!"