In our latest band spotlight, we chat to US alt-rockers, Skating Polly.
What are your biggest challenges as a band?
Probably second guessing ourselves. Making something subjective like music, something where there really is no right or wrong starts getting incredibly difficult when I start comparing myself to others and feeling like I have no idea what I’m doing but everyone else does. Of course no one really “knows what they’re doing” but it’s easy to fall into that.
Social media can be especially scary because it’s this instant ratings machine and I feel like there actually is a proper way to do that strategically although I have no idea what that is, haha.
What inspires the band outside of music, think people and places?
There’s a comic shop walking distance from my house called Stargazer Comics, and through getting to know the people who work there and talking to them loads of about all sorts of art I learned how a comic can be much more than just an action movie in panel form.
They’ve turned me onto the most bizarre, clever books with biting social commentary and packed with obscure references and symbolism. It really gets you thinking about all the ways you can tell a story. And since songs are pretty much stories in their own weird form I can take cues from the books I get there. I also take cues from normal books I love Donna Tartt, Dave Eggers, JD Salinger, and autobiographies. Movies and TV shows too.
I’ve seriously had lyrics inspired or taken straight from Game Of Thrones, Dr. Who, Twin Peaks, Sopranos and even childrens shows like Max and Ruby. Tacky advertisements can also spark something juicy to write about. I’m always on the look out for interesting phrases or interesting narratives or characters with strange perspectives to write from. There are several people that just seeing photos of really inspires me because they have so much presence. Like Fiona Apple, Kat Bjelland, Exene Cervenka, Kate Nash, Prince, Cobain, Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen, PJ Harvey, Sonic Youth, The Beatles, The Who, Starcrawler, The Slits. Its amazing how much those people’s portraits can project alone. People’s style can be very inspiring as well and putting a little thought into my own outfit even if I know I’m not gonna leave the house all day helps me feel confident and limitless.
How are you looking forward to these UK dates?
Very much! We’re gonna be playing some songs in ways we’ve never played before along with trying a couple fresh new songs we’ve never played live. It’s very exciting and nerve racking because it’s the longest we’ve ever spent over here and we’re going to a bunch of cities and countries for the very first time. And the Kate Nash shows are either packed or sold out!! She has the best fans. They’re warm and welcoming and just like how they’ve been very open to Kate dipping her toe in all sorts of genres. They’re open to actually listening to the support band and appreciating new music. It’s great because the times in the past have felt way too short and this time I feel like we’ll actually get settled in.
How have your goals and aims as a band changed over the years?
We have always had the same aims and goals but as we meet those goals, we learn new tricks. (Pun totally intended). After working with Nina & Louise in the studio I started pushing my vocal range more and pushing my harmony skills.
While in the studio with Kliph Scurlock on ‘The Big Fit’ we started writing much more exploring creative drum parts because we would come up with drum parts we had no idea how to even begin to play but we’d take the time and do it over and over until it came to us.
After touring with Deerhoof we set a goal to play off of each other more. After touring with X I set a goal to keep the vocals fresh and slightly different every night, like Exene did, which sometimes included changing the lyrics slightly. Broncho, Babes in Toyland, Kate Nash, Charly Bliss, and Starcrawler all had sets that showcased their captivating personalities and changed the way I play today. I always strive to make our fans feel the way all of those musicians made me feel and hopefully inspire our fans the same way.
What direct experiences inspired ‘Perfume For Now’?It’s about a boy and girl I befriended, and shared lots of vulnerabilities with that I trusted wholeheartedly and felt totally attached to who ended up being some of the worst two I’ve ever met. “Thought he was a pretty scarf, then he was a snake”. While being entirely sweet and inclusive towards me they spread some of darkest rumors about me when I was in middle school. It made me beg my parents to take me out of school for 8th grade.
Looking back I realized they were never that sweet. They were always cutting me down through their posturing or trying to get things from me. And their big personalities and senses of humor that I was initially drawn to were incredibly hateful and crass and artificial and trashy. “I know you wanted to be Class White Trash. Or were you going for Class Clown?” And the worst part was that I never had the guts to officially stand up for myself or call them out on it and one night almost a year later I had a nightmare where their rudeness was pushed to extremes and I still sat there and took it. “Even in my dreams I would not be bitter. Even in my dreams I would not spit it out.”