The Skints from East London are riding on the crest of a new wave of the British Invasion. The group has been capturing the attention of Europeans since 2007 and finally made their stateside debut to support the release of their genre-defining album FM released through Easy Star Records.
The Monterey County Fairground was chock-full of chatter and laden with anticipation for their performance at the 6th Annual California Roots Music and Arts Festival on Sat., May 23rd.
Like all of the bands on Easy Star, signing with them was an easy decision, “Has anyone ever made you an offer you can’t refuse?” joked guitar player and vocalist Joshua Waters Rudge about the label they have respected and fancied for some time. The first leg of their first American appearance allowed them to skim the East Coast with the Easy Star All-Stars and the ever-energetic Fishbone before making their way West with Fortunate Youth and The Steppas.
The quartet made a pit stop in San Diego to rock The Casbah, a favorite underground venue of the local SD punk, indie, and hardcore scene, where they performed an intimate headlining set for the first time in America. The venue reminded vocalist Marcia Richards of punk clubs in London known for being a little rough around the edges.
Joshua and Marcia have been close mates since they were five years old and met bass player Jonathan Doyle and drummer/vocalist Jamie Kyriakides in high school. The Skints were born and began playing all over London while refining their sound inspired by a myriad of musical styles.
Marcia learned to play piano and developed her style from listening to classical music. Although she has interests in jungle and electronica, “as The Skints did more and more I discovered more Jamaican music.” She enjoys a vast adoration of varying styles creating a “mixed bag” in her repertoire. Her melodica and flute skills are also coupled with an exceptionally tranquilizing voice and she can burst into a jaw-dropping rhyme at the drop of a dime.
Influenced by his parents 80s soul disco, Joshua Waters Rudge grew up jamming to punk, hip-hop, grime, reggae, and ska. It came as no surprise after seeing his commanding presence on stage as he plays with conviction and does not compromise when it is his turn on the microphone. Subtle hints of a young electrifying Joe Strummer along with the swagger of a Tim Armstrong are present with his unique roughneck reggae assertiveness.
Drummer Jamie Kyriakides adds a different dimension while keeping the beat and complementing this vocal tag team. Jamie grew up in the late 80s and early 90s with influence from the pop music at the time. His father introduced him to classical music at an early age while his mother listened to more indie and progressive rock. Artists like Jimi Hendrix, REM and Deftones peaked his interest amongst many others.
Bass player Jonathan Doyle’s strings emit perfect tempos that fit seamlessly with each song. He appears to be perfectly content as the rest of the band handles each verse and chorus. Doyle’s parents raised him around such groups as Thin Lizzy and Queen and he was drawn to jungle and electronica, reggae, jazz, and soul early in his life.
American punk rock has also swayed The Skints sound. Along with their UK tour with Me First and the Gimme Gimmes in December 2015, they have hit the road with friends The Slackers and The Supervillians. NOFX, Bad Religion, Pennywise, and Rancid play a huge roll in the punk and ska influence, as Joshua explained, “There was UK punk… American punk happened and everyone was influenced by it. All punk bands in England were influenced by the California sound.”
While exploring the West Coast, San Luis Obispo is one city that stood out. Marcia described their first time playing the SLO Brewing Co., “It wasn’t like this big city, it wasn’t thriving, but it was just this crazy corner of California that is so peaceful and cute. We just weren’t expecting it to be like that, it kind of touched me. And we’re from England so quaint is kind of our vibe.”
I asked if there were any cities where everyone were complete assholes, but Marcia dismissed the notion right away.
“American people will look at our tour schedule and they would be ‘You might not like Bakersfield.’ It was great, the audience were wicked. It’s all great for us; we’re very lucky to be here.”
John says Charlottesville was lush quaint on the East Coast but big cities like New York remind them of London, and they seemed eager to see something new.
“You can tour the UK too much very easily. We started concentrating on Europe because it is really big,” explained Marcia. “This country is huge and some of these American bands can tour constantly around this country and not play the same place twice and that’s crazy for us.”
We let them know they were the talk of the festival since we had arrived to Cali-Roots.
“I might just not play. It’s a free country, right? Bill of Rights,” Marcia said with a smile.
After California Roots, The Skints ended their U.S. appearance in true American fashion at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas. We have not heard from them since so they are probably following the first rule of Vegas. We hope they made it out okay.
They plan to make the United States a regular part of their tour schedule and there is no denying they will be welcome back with open arms. Although they had a laundry list of artists they would like to share the bill with, Wu Tang is the top American group with whom they would love to tour.
Marcia added, “we played a couple of shows with Fishbone and we really want to make that happen.”
Regardless of the artist lucky enough to share the bill with these pleasant and waggish individuals, The Skints new album FM should be a top priority for any record collection. Stay tuned as The Pier plays Paul Revere to warn you the next time the British are coming!
Purchase The Skints new album FM on vinyl by clicking HERE!
The Pier: Set-Lists at Cali-Roots 2015
The Skints Website
The Skints Facebook
Article by: Blake Taylor
Photo By: David Norris
Watch: The Skints – “Rise Up”
Watch: The Skints – “This Town”