THEY are currently touring America but Southampton’s Band of Skulls has been given a Government grant – to promote themselves in Europe.

The three-piece, whose heavy rocking riffs have won them a global following, were awarded £25,000 from UK Trade and Investment and the British Recorded Music Industry as part of the Music Export Growth Scheme.

It means the trio, who formed the band in 2004 and features former Cantell School pupils, will receive cash to boost their promotion in Europe even though they are currently on a major US tour.

The grant has been welcomed by the band, which comes following the release of their third studio album Himalayan.

The band, which consists of Russell Marsden, Emma Richardson, and Matt Hayward, said the grant contributed to the success of their last European tour.

They are one of 14 UK-based acts, including Metronomy, Slow Club, and Bo Ningen, to benefit from a slice of the £250,000 pot.

The scheme was launched to support international touring and promotion, and help small and medium-sized independent companies promote their artists overseas.

Other acts which have benefitted from the grant in the past include Alt-J, whose guitarist Joe Newman also attended Cantell School.

A panel of industry experts was put together to allocate the funding, with advice and guidance from UKTI, the Association of Independent Music, the Music Managers Forum, and representatives from some of the country’s leading independent record labels.

Southampton Itchen MP John Denham said: “The principle that governments should support cultural exports in the creative industries is a good one.

“The creative industries are now one of the biggest exports in this country – from theatre to music to computer games.

“The test the Government has to apply is would this have happened anyway? If it would then it is a waste of money, but if it makes a difference and makes people move into new markets then that is a reasonable thing to do.

Let’s celebrate a local band and let’s be proud of what has been achieved.

“I am not against a principle that supports something that earns the country money.”

In a statement, Band of Skulls, who performed in Pittsburgh last night, and will play in Tampa tomorrow, said: “We’re very appreciative that the grant allowed us the financial support to make our recent European tour a great success.

“The funding came at a perfect time around the release of our third album and enabled us to take our live show overseas and do all the international promo we needed.”

Full list of UK acts receiving a slice of the £250,000 Government grant
• Band of Skulls
• Bo Ningen
• Charli Taft
• Christian Gregory
• Dinosaur Pile-Up
• Julia Biel
• Lulu James
• Metronomy
• Savage Messiah
• Skinny Lister
• Slow Club
• Smoke Fairies
• Transition
• Young Fathers