Well, if I tried including everything that was noteworthy, I’d be closer to writing a book than a web-page. So I’ll try and condense it as best I can, in a matter-of-fact manner to save it from being nauseating or rambling.
2007 | Formation and first radio plays
Right, so I’d been writing poems for around six months and uploading them to a MySpace Music profile (remember them?!). Initially inspired by Jon McClure of Reverend & The Makers, Dr John Cooper Clarke and Linton Kwesi Johnson, they were distinctly working-class rhymes about seaside shenanigans, nights out and anti-racism.
I was approached by a songwriter/producer using the guise ‘MiNI dOG’. He started cutting these poems up and layering them over instrumentals, which had recently earned him Demo Of The Week in NME. Within a few months, we’d written Northern Soul influenced pop tracks ‘Red Lipstick‘ and ‘The Thrill of Thirty Seconds‘.
We decided to send a demo in to Steve Lamacq, who at that time had a show on BBC Radio 1. The demo CD simply had our MySpace URL, and within a few days Lammo had messaged us, declaring his love for ‘Red Lipstick’. The following Monday he played it on his show.
Colin Murray then played the demo on his Radio 1 show a few weeks later, and Lammo gave it a third play on Christmas Eve, when he named us at No.3 in his Top 100 Unsigned Acts for 2007. Cue a music industry frenzy in the capital, with Skint & Demoralised attracting attention from major labels across the board.
2008-2009 | The Universal journey
In March 2008 we signed to Mercury Records (part of Universal Music Group) and the drama truly began. In the June, we flew to New York City to record with The Dap-Kings at Daptone Studios in Brooklyn. The Dap-Kings had recently completed sessions on Mark Ronson’s ‘Version’ and Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’. Our debut album ‘Love, And Other Catastrophes‘ was then completed at RAK Studios in London over the summer.
Debut single ‘The Thrill of Thirty Seconds’ was released on 17 November 2008, limited to 500 copies of a 7″ single. It was Colin Murray’s Track Of The Week on Radio 1 and led to a handful of “Next Big Thing” accolades including Q, The Sunday Times Culture and The Guardian.
Second single ‘This Song Is Definitely Not About You‘ was supported by a UK headline tour in February 2009, as the accolades and media acclaim continued to swell. This single was followed by ‘Red Lipstick’ in July 2009, which was set to be the “summer smash” that saw Skint & Demoralised breakthrough into the mainstream.
Despite heavy airplay on BBC Radio 1, 6Music and other stations, as well as strong media coverage and even an interview on ITV’s ‘Loose Women’, the single failed to hit the Top 40 and our Universal journey was effectively over. Yep, it was that simple.
2010-2013 | The Heist Or Hit years
When we formally parted company with Universal in 2010, we managed to do so whilst retaining the rights to the unreleased debut album. Towards the end of the year we wrote and recorded second album ‘This Sporting Life‘, and in spring 2011 we signed to indie label Heist Or Hit Records.
Summer 2011 saw both albums released together, fronted by a double A-Side release of ‘The Lonely Hearts of England‘ and ‘43 Degrees‘. Later that year, we completed a 20-date UK tour – including shows with Dr John Cooper Clarke, Art Brut and The Crookes – before headlining the Full English Breakfast festival in Berlin and Dresden that Christmas.
We then wrote and recorded third album ‘The Bit Between The Teeth‘ in the latter part of 2012, before releasing it on 8 April 2013 – on the day that Margaret Thatcher died. The album campaign was fronted by the single ‘Breakfast at Sylvia’s‘, and the track ‘When Saturday Comes‘ was featured on Gillette Soccer Saturday.
So, that’s a very brief and basic summary of the Skint & Demoralised story to date. We’ve still been getting new fans since we stopped releasing music in 2013, partly due to ‘Red Lipstick’ and ‘The Thrill Of Thirty Seconds’ featuring in several episodes of ‘Gavin & Stacey’ series 3.
We started working on this fourth album when David sent me a WhatsApp message on 28 November. And if you’d have asked me on 27 November what the chances of an S&D comeback were, I’d have said less than 5%. But it feels fucking great, and no matter what happens, I’m really pleased that the door is back open, and I’m immensely proud of this album. Let’s see what happens…