I LOVE The Skins so much I featured them prominently on my Favourite Jams of 2012 list I recently complied for CollapseBoard.com. From the moment I heard these fierce musicians ranging in age from 13-19 I was hooked. With much fanfare they made the finals of Afro-Punk’s Battle of the Bands – The Skins have been chosen to play the upcoming Afro-Punk Festival sharing the stage with greats such as Erykah Badu – and are excitedly looking to record a full length debut album in the (US) Fall. Reviews have praised the group consisting of members: Bay Li (vocals), Reef “Kitty Kat” Cole (Drums), Daisy Spencer (guitar), Kaya Nico (bass guitar), Russell Chell (guitar) for their individuality, unique sound and rawkus live shows. The Skins will be dropping a new single at the end of the month! They’re definitely ones to watch.
What kind of music would you say that you make?
THE SKINS: Rock seems to be our foundation but a lot of our music definitely has hints of hip-hop, pop, soul, and blues
How did you all first meet?
TS: Well, Bay Li, Kaya, and Reef are siblings so we’ve known each other since birth (haha) and would always have jam sessions in our basement. And then through the Paul Green School of Rock Bay Li became close friends with Daisy and asked her to come over and jam with us one day. After realizing what great vibes we had and that we actually wanted to become a band, Daisy suggested bringing another guitarist in, who would be her boyfriend Russell. And that is how we met.
Who are your musical heroes? Why do you love them?
BAY LI: A mix of Betty Davis and Amy Winehouse, because first of all they’re both breathtaking vocalists, but mostly because I am inspired by the feisty, sexy and very honest presence in their song-writing and vocals.
REEF: Robert Glasper because he is an amazing composer and he writes amazing songs.
KAYA: Verdine White in terms of bass playing because his bass playing has inspired me to become a better musician.
RUSSELL: Guthrie Govan because he is just a great all around great guitar player; he is very versatile and skilled.
DAISY: Paul Leary of The Butthole Surfers, because he’s a dirty blues player.
What does music mean to you?
THE SKINS: Music is what we do to bring joy to ourselves and others
What are The Skins’ songs inspired by?
TS: Our songs are often dirty and fiery with a lot of attitude. We like to sing about exciting, relatable subjects like (good) sex, relationships, make-ups and break-ups or just feeling good and having a good time.
When do you like to write them and where?
TS: In terms of when we write, we kind of just write when the songs come to us (often during jam sessions, etc.) or when something (maybe music we are listening to at that point in time) inspires us; we just let it flow out and watch it come together. Since we write when the music comes to us, we end up writing our musical ideas down wherever we are at that point in time; whether that be in our bedroom, on the subway, or in our rehearsal space (the basement).
What’s your favourite thing about your self-titled EP release?
TS: This is a difficult question but I think that we can all agree that one of our favorite things about our EP is the cover art , that was done by our close friend and videographer Aya Brown. She is an amazing artist and has left a great artistic impact on the band.
When will we see a full-length The Skins album?
TS: You should definitely be seeing a full-length album (or something of the sort) within the next year.
How would you describe performing & how do you feel when you get on stage?
TS: Performing, at this point, is something that is so natural and enjoyable for us. Doing live shows is way more exciting than recording or doing videos. We really get to connect with the audience and physically see their emotions and how they perceive our music and it’s a great feeling. When we get on stage we are not often nervous or scared, just excited to give people goosebumps and ultimately play an epic show.
What is your favourite song to play live and why?
TS: This is an extremely hard question, as many of our songs are fun to play live but I think if we all had to choose one “Summertime” would be THE favorite song. Mostly because it’s a fan favorite and sort of a crowd pleaser. We often close our set with it.
You recently toured with UK outfit The Heavy; what’s your favourite memories of the tour?
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