A couple of weeks ago we gave you the chance to put your questions to one of the UK’s most authentic and original artists of the last decade: Mike Skinner. We took all of your questions and sent them off to Mike and he’s come back to us with his answers, and has also picked his favourite question to receive a signed copy of his new book – congratulations to Johannah Carroll for your great question!
As ever, a big thank you to everyone who got involved, apologies if you didn’t get lucky this time, and a big thank you to Mike for taking part!
Was it emotional when you returned to the bus stop from a grand don’t come for free cover to find that it had been replaced? Also what ever happened to Leo the lion from the tours?
I never thought of it as any more than a bus stop but it was nice that people thought it was more important than that. Made me feel nice. Leo left the streets to be on Love Island
What are your hopes for the future?
I’d like to produce lots of good music, make a decent film and then die at a grand age in the south of france.
Who are your musical inspirations?
Thomas bangalter and dr Dre are probably the 2 biggest figures of idolatry for me.
Who were your influences when you were growing up?
Rap and house music mainly. But also rage against the machine.
If you could be any breed of dog in the world – what would you be and why?
I’d be a golden retriever because men have the best luck with woman accompanied by that breed.
“Dry your eyes mate”, absolutely superb, reminded me of so many sad/happy times, why did you choose to write it and who was it based on?
It was part of the story of the album with the bus stop on the front of. It was fiction that I drew from teenage sadness.
Which one song do you ever wish you had wrote?
‘Boy Named Sue’ by Shel Silverstein as sung by Johnny Cash.
Who is your favourite blues player of all time and why?
I don’t have mad blues knowledge, but I love Jimi Hendrix .
Throughout history it’s been said ‘harsh economic times’ inspire the greatest music and art to be created, but do you think the current malaise effecting recording companies have made them play safe and opt for talent that is all a bit samey?
Very good question. Labels have to make money off every they sign these days so they can’t take risks on gut instinct. I’ve always thought people who say the charts are s**t are just old and bitter but I do think the charts are very safe at the moment. But you’ve only got to go on youtube to see how much great music is out there.
If a ‘A Grand Don’t Come for Free,’ Mike, what is the hardest you have ever worked for it?
The hardest I worked for money was a paper round. Music is probably second on the list.
Love love love the streets, and can’t wait to read the book, but when will we be seeing the D.O.T playing live?
We are rehearsing most of the time right now. We will begin touring at the end of summer. It’s very different for me as I’m just playing keyboards really.
Is there anything you had to leave out of the book that you were upset about? And will there be a sequel?
There wasn’t much left out of the book which is why some of it makes me really wince. Maybe in ten years time there will be a story of some film I made.
Who do you rate musically at the moment and what are you listening to?
I’ve been listening to a lot of club music lately because I’ve been DJing. It’s really changed how I make music. Even with the D.O.T. me and Rob started out making kind of radio music really but it’s kind of taken a new road recently a bit.
Making a concept album in ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ was ambitious, but the risk was worth taking. Seeing as you’ve now delved into writing a memoir, would you ever be tempted to write fiction?
I’ve always been daring but sometimes it works and most of the time it doesn’t. I’m proud of when it has worked though.
You were one of the first of your generation to speak in your own voice and about real things – how important do you think authenticity is in music?
There’s a difference between authenticity and realism. I guess I made realism work at a time when it hadn’t worked for a while, but authenticity can come from the most overblown pantomime act if they know what they like and who they are.
What are your future plans about relaunching your ‘The Beats’ label?
‘The Beats’ is really fun. We are taking it a release at a time but it’s nice when you have that feeling that anything is possible.
The Streets have taken you a lot of places, and made you famous world wide. What was the highlight of your career? What was your favorite place to visit?
We did roskilde in 2008 which was unbelievable. The go low was 70,000 strong. Everyone came off stage in silence.
Who would you love to duet with?
I’m not really about performing now. That’s kind of what I’ve given up with the streets. I’d love to make a beat with bangalter though.
Click here to buy ‘The Story of The Streets’ by Mike Skinner for just £13.29 from Tesco Direct!