In the early 90s the golden days of live Australian music had subsided to a burnt out landscape of encroaching pokies and corporate pop. Yet, on the outskirts, change was signalled with the emergence of Grunge, the rise of Rave culture, and the first jolts of Hip Hop beginning to spark.
One group that emerged out of this time to forge a unique path in the Oz music annals is SKUNKHOUR. An amalgam of members that fused eclectic influences to form their own brand of rhythmic, indie-soul-pop. A combination of funk, rock, and rap, with elements of new wave, that carved new ground.
An irresistible rhythm section of brothers Dean and Michael Sutherland, melded with the innovative cut of Warwick Scott’s guitar, overlaid with the exhilarating lead vocals of Aya Larkin, cemented by the immediacy of brother Del Larkin’s arresting rap, then spiked with a shimmering brass section.… Moving rapidly they hit Australian radio airwaves for the first time in 1993 with the independent debut album “Skunkhour”. The record quickly achieved cult status, catching on with a knowing audience around the country.
The band toured relentlessly throughout the 1990’s, earning a reputation as one of Australia’s must-see live acts and becoming festival mainstays.
Their storied debut was followed by the Gold status selling album FEED in ’94, including the iconic track “Up to Our Necks”. A UK/European deal with the British label Acid Jazz ensued, with tours of Europe and the UK in ’95 and ’96, to sold out gigs in France, Switzerland, and Italy in particular.
Del left the group after those tours, and Skunkhour began to record a third album, “Chin Chin”, released in 1997. A darker, more innovative outing, showcasing the synth talents of keyboard prodigy Paul Searles, who joined back in 1994.
The band achieved further success with the critically acclaimed “the Go” in 2001, with two songs from the album being voted into Triple J’s Hottest 100 that year. They split soon after with members moving interstate and overseas. In 2009 they reunited for a national tour, and the group maintains a performance presence to the current day.
From their early conjuring of alchemic grooves in a Kings Cross nightclub, to rocking the main stage in front of massive festival crowds, SKUNKHOUR pried open a closed door through which acts such as the Hilltop Hoods, the Cat Empire, and the Avalanches followed.
They garnered a widespread international following, fostered a passionate home fan base, and have left an enduring legacy within Australian music.
“….One of my favourite Australian bands ever, Skunkhour, were before, and after their time, existing in the nexus of things known and unknown in a time when grunge excused every shit guitarist and forced every cardigan clad under- graduate into a sneaker gazing depression. Skunkhour were bright, bold, and f**king beautiful!” Adam Zammit – former CEO Big Day Out, Parker and Mister French Artist Management, Publisher- The Music Network, Brag Magazine