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Skinny Living are grafters. The Yorkshire based band have been at it for nearly seven years making fans the old fashioned way; playing shows and releasing lots of tunes.
The hard work is paying off for the four-piece, particular in the past few years where they’ve seen their music receive regular airplay on BBC Radio 1, have performed sold out shows across the UK and have seen their streaming numbers soar.
A further marker of how much they’ve grown in popularity came this summer when Leeds indie-rock royalty Kaiser Chiefs asked the band to open for them at their huge Elland Road homecoming show.
The performance obviously left an impression on the Ricky Wilson led band, who have now invited Skinny Living to support them on the first half of their forthcoming UK arena tour.
Having just released their new single My Blood, the band will take to the road this September for a small run of headline shows.
Ahead of the upcoming gigs, we spoke to the Skinny Living’s frontman Ryan Johnston about what people can expect from the shows, their latest single My Blood and what their future plans are.
How much are you looking forward to your upcoming September shows?
We’re buzzing! We’ve got loads of new music that we haven’t played live before, as well as songs that we know people already love so it’s going to be great.
We’ve also got loads of new songs to put out, some maybe even just before the tour starts. Everything just feels really good with us at the moment.
What can fans coming to the gigs expect?
Just a relaxed great vibe.
Your latest single My Blood came out in July – what can you tell us about the track?
It’s just a song about family. The song’s title came first and then it was actually inspired by that and how you value your family over everything. It kind of wrote itself really and it was a really easy song to make. It only took a few hours in the end. I think it’s an easy song to relate to, ‘cause almost everyone feels that way about their family. It’s about looking after your own.
When you’re writing do you imagine how the song will sound live being sung back to you?
It depends on the song, but most of the time we do write wondering how people are going to react to it; whether they’re listening to it at home washing the dishes, sitting around with friends or if they’re at one of our gigs.
We try and have as much variety with our music as possible. Personally, I don’t like going to a gig where the band is just playing the same kind of music all night. Someone I think is really great at that is Paolo Nutini. There’s a lot of variety in his records. There are lots of different emotions throughout each of his albums and it’s the same when you see him live.
When you play a song live for the rest time, does the reaction ever surprise you?
Definitely. There are some songs where you’re pretty certain the crowd are going to react well – you just get a feeling that’s it going to happen – and then there are some songs that you’re unsure about and the crowd reaction takes you off guard. You didn’t think they’d like it that much!
Two of the shows are at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds – what does that venue mean to you as a band?
That was the first venue I ever went to when I moved here. I went to see Matt Corby playing there and the atmosphere was unbelievable. Obviously he’s great, but the vibe in the room was really great. It’s just a proper venue putting on amazing music.
You supported Kaiser Chiefs at Elland Road earlier this summer, what was that experience like?
It was crazy and surreal. Looking back at the videos afterwards and seeing our faces on the big screens was mind-blowing. It was a great experience and we got to play alongside some great bands that day, but our music is quite different to them. We’re not as up-tempo so I think we stood out a bit.
Apart from playing shows, what’s your favourite thing about touring?
Just hanging around with the boys. We all went to see Once Upon a Time In Hollywood with each other the other day and someone was gobsmacked that we all hang out with each other when we’re not making music. We’re all like brothers. When we’re touring everyone just gets on and has a great time.
Do you think fans can feel that connection between you guys?
Yes. We used to bump into each other at open mic nights and have a beer together before we started the band. Our chemistry is brilliant, and I think that translates into the songs. We already all liked each other before we started making music together.
What are the band’s plans for the rest of the year?
Lots of new music. We’ve been holding back for a few years for various reasons but, we’ve got so much music in us. We write all the time and we just want to get it out there. We’re really excited about it, I think there’s gonna be new music coming from us every month.
Are you aiming towards releasing an album?
I’m not really worried about that at the moment. We’ve been doing this for nearly seven years and we’ve got the music for one, but when it comes to the production it’s hard for us to get over our live sound – that’s kind of who we are. So we’re just going to keep releasing music and if one of the songs takes off and that’s the sound we arrive at that could lead our recordings, then maybe. At the moment it’s just about getting more songs out and trying to get more people to know who we are.
Catch Skinny Living at the following shows:
10 September 2019 – The Garage, London
11 September 2019 – Manchester Adacemy3
13 September 2019 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
14 September 2019 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
17 January 2020 – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham supporting Kaiser Chiefs
18 January 2020 – Bridlington Spa supporting Kaiser Chiefs
21 January 2020 – Bonus Arena, Hull supporting Kaiser Chiefs
22 January 2020 – Usher Hall, Edinburgh supporting Kaiser Chiefs
24 January 2020 – Empress Ballroom, Blackpool supporting Kaiser Chiefs
Grab tickets to upcoming Skinny Living shows at Ticketmaster.co.uk