Interview: Skinny Knowledge
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Music was always a big part of my childhood. I didn’t get into playing music until I was 11, but my Nan was a professional opera singer, and my Dad loved music. I remember always being fascinated by the albums on rotation in the car - Meat Loaf, REO Speedwagon, Eagles, Neil Diamond - amongst loads of others, and I think this really set the foundation for me. I then wanted to learn drums (and guitar, but I had to choose just one at that moment in time!), and started getting into more classic rock - Guns N’ Roses, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC etc.
Not long after it came out, I discovered Green Day’s ‘American Idiot’, and it didn’t take long before I realised that’s what I wanted to do with my life. That album inspired me to become what they were. I found something I was good at, and I absolutely loved it.
If I hadn’t gotten into music, I think I’d want to be a motorbike racer of some sort. Not that I’m any good at it, just think it’d be cool! Haha
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
There’s not a lot else I do when I’m not doing something music related! Maybe play a bit of Spiderman on PS4, or I’m out walking the dogs! None of which particularly inspire my musicality haha… I have to admit though, I do sometimes find I come up with some cool and random ideas when my brain isn’t looking for them. So the moments where I’m washing up, or walking the dogs, and there’s nothing else on my mind, I find my brain is free to explore, so it sometimes gives me good ideas! Maybe this is why I should do more washing up…
How long has your band been around?
Skinny Knowledge was born late 2019, but only became a band in Sept 2020. It started out more of a concept, as I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to put a band together, I just wanted to write a bunch of songs, and put them out as an album. It was only in the midst of recording the album on my own, that I thought to myself “I need a band around me, and we need to play these songs live!”, and that’s when the whole thing came to life.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based in Bournemouth on the south coast of England. I can’t really say that Bournemouth has influenced the music so much, there isn’t much of a scene around here! The music is definitely influenced more by the west coast of USA to be honest. California, San Fran, Seattle etc.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The band name was originally made back in 2015, during the band’s first life. I had a Uni band whilst I was at BIMM, and Oscar (the guitarist at the time) and I got drunk one night, and just wrote down a whole load of random words, spanning over about 3 A4 pages. We started putting some words together, and there was born Skinny Knowledge. There is honestly no more meaning behind it than that, unfortunately! But the name always stuck with me. We disbanded when I left Uni in 2016, and when I was looking to release my album, I wanted to use that name. I just think it sounds like a cool, punk rock name!
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Being a fairly new band, we’re still racking up our gig counter, but we’ve definitely had some pretty sweet shows already. Our debut show at Canvas in Bournemouth was amazing. Thanks to the pandemic, the album came out in the March, and we couldn’t gig until the July. As sad as that sounds, the silver lining was that everyone had a good chance to listen to and learn the words to the album, so when we walked on stage and played the opening and title track ‘Don’t Turn Out The Lights’, the whole room sang it back, and it was a feeling I’ll never forget.
Our 5th ever gig together was actually at Bournemouth’s O2 Academy, supporting Elvana (Elvis Fronted Nirvana Tribute), and that’s a BIG stage and room. I’ve played there a few times before, but on drums. Being stood there as a frontman was pretty terrifying, but also super exciting. That was a great show.
One of my other favourite ever shows was when we visited Cardiff to support our friends, Tom Auton & the Bottle Breakers. It was a little student bar called Misfits, and the place was rammed. Even though no one knew who we were, everyone danced, moshed, and sang like they did. It was insane. It made me think of those documentaries I watch of my favourite bands, playing in their early days in some little club back in the early 90’s or whatever, and people just had a good time. They weren’t filming, they weren’t snapchatting, they were just embraced in the moment, and literally letting the music flow through them. It was an incredible experience, and it’s part of the reason we’ve chosen to start our tour there in February.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
As stated above, Misfits was a cool venue that we’re excited to go back to. But I have to admit, the O2 Academy (venue-wise) is a type of venue we could get used to! Haha… So more O2 Academy’s would be pretty sweet!
Places we haven’t played? Wembley, obviously…
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
That’s a tough one because between us, we love so many different bands. Having said that, the obvious ones would have to be the likes of Foo Fighters, Green Day, Sum 41, Dinosaur Pile-Up… SO yeah, all of those would be pretty badass.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Advise for someone getting into a band: DON’T DO IT, IT’S A TRAP, YOU’LL BE POOR FOREVER!
All joking aside, just do whatever makes you happy. I know it’s cliche, but life is too short. Write and play music that makes you happy, not what you think everyone else wants to hear. I’m fully aware that music in the style of Nirvana, Green Day, or Sum 41 isn’t necessarily ‘cool’ or ‘popular’ anymore, but it’s what I love, so it’s what I’m going to write. I fully encourage everyone else to do the same. Do what makes you happy.
In terms of myself… Well, I believe everything happens for a reason, so I don’t regret waiting until I’m 26 to start this band, as I may not have been in the write place a few years ago to start it, but I do wish that I’d maybe started writing music from an earlier age, so I’d had a bit more practise by now!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
‘Wheel Of Love’ is a pretty special song, as it’s written entirely about the day I got engaged in at Winter Wonderland on the Ferris wheel! Whenever I sing it, it takes me right back to that day, and it’s like I can feel those emotions all over again.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I think my favourite to play is Keep Me Out Of It. It’s a proper little bop, and it’s also our most ‘heard’ song, so whenever we play it, we get a great response! With that in mind, it’s probably our most requested song, other than Wonderwall or Free Bird… Haha
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Up until now it’s been a fairly solo project in terms of writing, but now we have a consistent line-up, we’re starting to write as a group which is nice, as it brings more influence and ideas to the table. I’m excited to see where the next few songs take us, and where the sound goes!
Normally when I go to write a song, I have an idea of what ‘type’ of song I want to write. So I’ll think “right, I’m want to write a song that people can mosh to, or a catchy song for people to sing to, or jump to”… It’s normally based of what I want the crowd to be doing. They’re normally at the forefront of my mind when I’m writing a song. I’ll put myself in their shoes and think “would I jump around to this song, or would I sing along”.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I normally tend to write songs that are close to home, because I feel much more comfortable writing lyrics about real life things that I’m feeling, rather than fictional experiences. So it’s normally real life stuff… Whether that be how poor I am, or my relationship, or whether I’m upset, or my childhood, or how I feel about social media and reality TV stars… I even wrote a song about how much I hated my next door neighbours! There’s always something there to write about, and it’s normally straight from the heart too.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Fortunately I can’t say we’ve had any big disagreements! We’re all very much on the same page with this band, which helps. Not only musically, but where we want to take this band, and what we want to achieve. We’re all in it for the long run! We sometimes have different ideas, but we work in a diplomatic way, and we’ll normally take a majority vote if there’s ever two ideas battling it out!
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We’ve got loads of exciting plans this year! We’ve got our brand new single, ‘I Wonder’, coming out on Friday 25th February, and we’re heading out on our first ever tour in support of it. We’re super excited about it, it’s just a little 10-date DIY tour, but we’re psyched to play a bunch of shows and meet new people, and start getting our music out there!
Moving in to the rest of the year, we’ve got a few more singles to release, and hopefully some more exciting shows!