Interview: Skinny Lister

The Waterfront’s Gareth Matson interviewed Dan and Lorna from Skinny Lister prior to their support slots with Frank Turner. 

How’s the tour going?

Yeh just come back from a seven week US tour as well! That’s where we met Beans on Toast and since then he essentially locked us in rooms after shows to write a Christmas song which we finally recorded in San Francisco along the way, the most un-christmasy city in the world!

How would you describe your music in 2 words?

Shanty Punk seems to sum up a lot of what we do and we still do a few sea shanties. It is quite folky and there are some ballads as well.

You do a lot of festivals in the UK, any favourites?

Glastonbury! Gone since we were 17. We had a pretty full tent as well, but then it started raining and we were the most popular band there! You know, the new Glastonbury crowd wanting to keep their hair straight or whatever. There’s great festivals all round the world, Coachella is great in its own way, at Glastonbury sets get cancelled to lightning, Coachella they get cancelled due to sandstorms! They also have a polo pitch in the middle of the desert and polo teams are actually playing on it, bit surreal. 

How much influence does the UK have on your music?

We formed to sound as British as possible. We grew out of the same climate as bands like Mumford & Sons which did open doors for us because people were all of a sudden ok with Banjos on Radio 1. But Mumford have more of an American twang and bluegrass sensibility, we have more of an English sensibility with punk fragments like The Clash. It’s fed into our artwork and song names, it’s just the type of music we enjoy. We are quite influenced by bands like The Pogues as well, that sort of Celtic vibe but still keeping it English.

You’re often labelled as ‘boozy’ music, do you live up to that after the shows?

Well I (Lorna) did join the band to get into festivals for free and get drunk, I just had to convince the band they needed a female singer in the mix. We did 32 in one year which was the record that year, number two was Ed Sheeran but I think he may have got paid a bit more! We still have boozy nights out and a few drinks before we go on stage, but you know this is a 10 week tour so you can’t go hell for leather every night. 

Is the song ‘Trouble on Oxford Street’ a true story, Dan?

Yeh every word, a couple years ago when I was working in an office we had an office party. Was walking down the street very drunk when there were a couple of punks, as the song says, outside this club, I ruffled this one’s hair he said “If you do that again I’ll hit you”, no naturally I ruffled his hair again idiotically, he hit me I went down and lost a tooth! I am the biggest prat when I’m drunk.

Which of your songs should soundtrack a night out?

‘Six Whiskies’ probably but then it depends what part of the night out, start with ‘Trouble on Oxford Street’ then ‘Six Whiskies’ once you’ve inevitably been kicked out of the club.