Interview by Chloe Hoy / Photo by Winnie Surya. Earlier this year, we got the chance to talk to The Skins about school, tour with Jake Bugg, being siblings in band and more. Read the interview below or on our issue here.
Your self-titled debut EP was released in 2012. What inspired the music behind it?
Our EP was our first collection of music released to the public. It was basically like our first stepping-stone to becoming a “real” band haha. We did it when we were super young, individually and as a band and most importantly as writers, and we were fresh out of music school (School of Rock) where we learned to love a lot of Classic Rock, Prog and Soul/Funk music. So the songs on our EP are inspired by bands like Led Zeppelin, Earth, Wind and Fire, Janis Joplin, Jane’s Addiction and King Crimson. Musically and lyrically, we meshed personal life experiences with the style of a more classic rock or soul band.
Who or what inspired each of you to take up an instrument, and being making music together?
Reef was always EXTREMELY (almost abnormally) natural at learning to play new instruments and new music quickly. One day our father came home with an electronic drum kit, and without ever having any lessons or even coming in contact with a drum kit, Reef picked up the sticks and just began playing! No lie! It was really amazing to witness. So after our Dad had succeeded at getting both Reef and I (BayLi) into rock bands like Zeppelin, Hendrix, The Doors, etc. our mother proceeded to sign us up for lessons at The School of Rock (in NYC) where Reef began taking drum lessons and I (BayLi) took guitar. A few years later our sister Kaya joined the school and after trying out a few instruments (and not really liking them) she landed on bass and the rest is pretty much history! I will say though, Kaya’s case is even more impressive because seeing that she only attended the school for a few months, she is basically self-taught. For being a self-taught bass player, who only picked up the instrument 2 1/2 years ago, she is extremely advanced and skilled in her playing and performance. Daisy’s father and Uncle Jimi, as well as her older cousin Jimi, played a huge roll in inspiring her to play guitar. After she saw these very important men in her life create music with a guitar it made her want to do the same thing. For Russell, it was inspired to play guitar after seeing a few friends playing. He thought it was super cool so he picked it up himself and BAM he became the awesome guitar player that he is today.
For Bayli, Kaya and Reef, what is it like being in a band with your siblings?
This is definitely one of the most commonly asked questions we get and the answer that we always give is that it is amazing being in a band alongside our siblings! A lot of people assume that because we’re siblings we fight or argue a lot but it is quite the contrary. Because we are related we can be open-minded and honest and genuine with each other. Not saying that we never disagree, but if we do we have a way better understanding of each other than most people do, so we know how to go about handling touchy situations or disagreements. Honestly though, we VERY rarely disagree on things so I guess we are just lucky to get along so well.
How did you guys manage being in school and your music career?
Kaya and Reef are currently enrolled in homeschool tutoring after having to leave regular public schooling because of how much we travel and tour. Daisy and I (Bay Li) are currently on leave of absence from our colleges (Daisy :The New School and Bayli: Pratt Institute) and Russell withdrew from his college in New Jersey to live in NYC and be a full-time musician.
You released your latest single, Dead Hands, at the beginning of last year. When can fans expect to hear some new music?
We don’t have a set date on when we will be releasing new music but in the next few months, potentially around Summer time, we are supposed to be putting out an EP with brand spanking new tunes on it! We are so excited for you guys to hear the new music we’ve been working so hard on creating and perfecting for your ears.
What do you hope to gain from touring North America in the upcoming weeks? Are you excited to be on the road?
We are excited to simply spread our music and name around to all of these different people in places we’ve never even been! We are excited to play for audiences that we KNOW can appreciate good music. Although we’ve been out on the road before, this tour will be the biggest tour and most dates we’ve ever played, so it will definitely be an experience to say the least. Most importantly, we are pumped to hit the stage and feel that rush of adrenaline and energy and genuine happiness that happens every single time we perform. We always hope that we relay that feeling to our audience as well.
Can each of you describe, in one word, how you feel when performing on stage?
Where do you see yourselves in ten years from now?
Daisy & Russell : Following in Michael Jackson’s footsteps, with 10 Grammys
Reef : In 10 years? I just want to have a lot of money!
BayLi: In 10 years, I want us to love each other and our music even more than we do now.
Kaya: In 10 years, the question should be where I don’t see myself… cause I see us everywhere!
What’s in store for you guys for this year?
This year will be an EPIC year for The Skins! We have been writing and working with a whole bunch of AMAZING writers and producers and we are so excited to show you all what we’ve been up to! We will be releasing new music and touring a lot more! We will soon be in a city near you, so keep an eye out.