It’s been a crazy year for up and coming Ska/Reggae band The Skints, having made big waves in France, sold out their UK headline tour and caused a huge buzz on the UK festival circuit. This summer we caught up with the lead guitarist and singer Josh at Undercover Festival to talk about the highs and lows of life on the road, the importance of their fans and confirmation of a secret release cooking up for December.
“It went from doing a few shows, to booking our own tours”
How did The Skints get started?
Josh: Basically it was me and a couple of friends, I was 14 going on 15 and I wanted to make some Trad-Ska music. Me, Marcia and John were playing ska together and then we moved towards a ska-punk vibe, playing locally because we were still at school, still little kids man! Jamie came along in 2007 and that’s when we started to play all over London and we started doing more Reggae music. And from then on really you know it kind of went from doing a few shows, to booking our own tours and then yeh it just blew up! 2008 was when we started touring hard! We finished school and we were like, right!
What were your main influences?
Josh: For me personally, Reggae was always in my household, my mum and dad are big music listeners but not musicians or anything. They were about their soul and disco vibes but there was also a lot of Reggae music in my house from when I was a little kid. I’m not saying that set me off but I think it definitely laid a foundation. It was on my musical Pallet! – Like an acquired taste!
At secondary school I started skating and I got into punk. At 12-13 my uncle got me into The Specials because he said ‘You’re into punk yeah? Well check out The Clash and The Specials’. So Then I found out about that world. And then I get a little older and all my friends got me into Jungle and Raga and I started going to parties and like, Beany Man’s playing!
So growing up, all these little steps led me to have a vision of the kind of music I wanted to hear from a band.
How important would you say punk is?
Josh: I would say what The Skints do now musically, isn’t exactly the most punk sound, but we still carry that ethic. As a young teenage mind and a young thinker, punk was very very important to me.
“In Britain, I see a lot of problems socially”
Josh: Growing up in the area I grew up in, and I still see today, a lot of problems socially and a lot of problems around you, that I think when you come at it with an attitude that is given to you by what the media want you to think, it can be very negative and detrimental. I felt the media was using me and Punk gave me my own viewpoint that wasn’t being fed to me like it was being fed to everyone else.
“The Skints is reality music.”
Josh: I don’t go round with boots and a Mohawk and I don’t necessarily dress like a punk but within me, it opened my mind to think for myself, but it wasn’t a rebellion against the way I was raised, my parents were always open minded people and taught me to be open minded, but thinking for yourself is something that the punk scene encouraged which is why I rate it highly.
How would you describe The Skints sound?
Josh: To me its reality music, because we speak about the reality of ourselves, you know, some people have tried to put on some of our songs – ‘oh are you a political band because of this?’ I don’t and would never try to be a political band but it’s just about the reality of our surroundings.
Josh: All the sounds as well, it’s because that’s what we like. You know, we’re not playing a sound that we think ‘these people are gunna like it’ or ‘this radio station are gonna like it’. If other people like it, brilliant! But it should only be a bi product of us!