ARYA GOGGIN (SKINDRED): “We Love What We Do And There Is Always Work To Be Done”

Skindred band photo
Foto: Dean Chalkley

Newport Heavy Metal veterans Skindred are set to release their fourth album entitled Smile on August 4th. Skindred’s drummer Arya Goggin took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about their upcoming album, Skindred’s longevity, their encounter with Mr. T, and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: Your band, Skindred are set to release their eighth studio album entitled Smile on August 4th, what can you tell fans about the upcoming release?

Goggin: Skindred as a band promote positivity throughout everything we do. There is so much negativity in the world and we want people to concentrate on the positive aspects of their lives while they are with us. That could be while you are listening to the new album or attending our live shows. Try and forget the grind and enjoy yourself. We want Smile to represent that feeling now more than ever. It has everything you would expect from us and more. It’s like a best of album but the best songs you’ve never heard!

MER: How was the writing and recording process having this being your eighth album?

Goggin: The songwriting process was very different. It wasn’t a conscious decision to do things differently at the start of the writing that’s for sure! We got together to write in February 2020 and started working on a few songs. It was going great and then the world closed. We had to react to what was going on like so many other artists did. So we made the decision to write remotely throughout the pandemic, because of that there was no rush or deadlines to adhere to which gave us a lot of creative freedom. Some ideas worked, some didn’t but we had time to reflect on the songs which was the most important thing. When it came to record, the 1st time we actually played the songs as a band was in the recording studio with the record button on! It was wild! I loved it.

MER: How would you compare Smile to your previous seven album’s?

Goggin: Every album we have released has been different to the last in some way or another. All of us listen to completely different music at completely different times! There is always someone playing something brand new which will sometimes inspire us and on the flip side there will be someone playing a classic tune trying to get a party started! That’s the beauty of the band. Variation is the spice of life! So with this record we really tried to take advantage of the fact we are different people. This record feels like our statement album. Not just the next record but the one that will elevate us. We all feel Smile is best album. A lot has happened in the five years between Big Tings and Smile. The world is different and we are different. It feels like people are really rooting for us with this album.

MER: You’ve released three singles from Smile so far, what kind of feedback have you received?

Goggin: The feedback has been amazing. “Gimme That Boom” came out and went A list at UK and German radio which was an incredible way to start everything. We’ve been lucky that our fans have been embracing the new songs but also new listeners are coming to the party. With “L.O.V.E. (Smile Please)” it was playlisted at daytime mainstream radio in the UK and people thought we were a brand new band! We have tried to release songs that give a good representation of what the album is. From the pure reggae tunes to the heavy groove tunes. We didn’t want people to hear three of the same style of song as that’s not what we are about.

MER: What do you see as plans for you and the rest of your band for 2023?

Goggin: Tour tour tour! Our UK tour is almost completely sold out and The European run is catching up! We are going to be very busy playing in the UK and Europe for the rest of the year but we have plans for the rest of the world for 2024. The US is our main priority and we are dying to come back, and we will. I know Japan and Australia are on the cards for early next year too.

MER: Is there anyone that you hope to tour with that you haven’t yet and why?

 Goggin: I’d love to tour with System of a Down. I feel like their fans would really embrace what we are about. They were underdogs and I love an underdog. Skindred has that. People bet against you because you don’t fit into a box and I know that System fans would dig Skindred. I love that their music is a culture clash and Skindred share that musical ethos. On a personal level I share a similar heritage with some of the members so Id love to get the chance to meet them and know more about their story.

MER: What have been some of your favorite releases of 2023?

Goggin: The new Iggy Pop record Every Loser is amazing. Rival Sons – Dark Fighter, Metallica – 72 Seasons, Sleep Token – Take Me Back to Eden.

MER: You’ve performed at festivals such as Ozzfest, and Warped Tour, and have also toured with bands like Papa Roach, as well as the Cavalera brothers, how has it been reaching out to so many different audiences within the genre?

Goggin: I think that’s Skindred’s not so secret weapon! We are able to tour with Gogol Bordello a Gypsy Punk band and hop straight onto a tour with The Cavalera Brothers who are playing Thrash, with no questions asked. We play Death Metal festivals in Europe and we sound like Abba compared to a lot of the acts and then the next day we will play a mainstream Pop festival with Dua Lipa and sound like we are on another planet! So it’s not just the Rock and Metal genre we defy, it’s all genres! The reason is pretty simple, it’s because we don’t adhere to the usual rules of what makes up a Rock band. My favourite band of all time is Queen and their records were similar in the fact you have a full on Rock song followed by a Folk song then a banjo led track then an acapella track then back to Rock. No rules. The thing we have in common is that we sit within the bases of Rock but are able to explore.

MER: Out of Skindred’s eight albums, what is one you would suggest to a new fan and why?

I would suggest Smile as your first listen. It has everything we have been honing for the last seven albums. Also, it represents where we at as musicians and as people right now. I love the past but I want to live in the present and Smile is us right now.

MER: Since forming in 1998, what have been some of your favorite memories with the band?

Goggin: We’ve been lucky that there have been so many to be honest. We headlined a festival in Poland in 2014 called Polish Woodstock to 450,000 people which was absolutely wild .You couldn’t see the horizon for people. Back in 2004 I remember we were doing a radio show in Chicago called Mancow where we were the musical guests. The other guest that day was Mr T! So we played Eye of The Tiger for him and he loved it! Then Mr T live on air calls up Flavor Flav from Public Enemy on his phone telling him to check us out as we were badass!

MER: What has been the key to Skindred’s longevity?

Goggin: Never splitting up! It’s been same lineup for over 20 years. We disagree about everything but always agree that we love our band. That’s the glue, we love what we do and there is always work to be done.


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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