The Skins Talk BK Funk And Their New Single, "Bury Me"
If ever there were a band repping NYC with 100% authenticity this day and age, The Skins would be it. Forever inspired by the city’s grit and spirit, the crew is at the forefront of the new wave of funk-injected rock taking Brooklyn by storm, one dope track at a time. And if it weren’t obvious already, this isn’t your everyday pop band spiraling toward one hit wonder stardom—they’ve got a sound of their own, and trust us: they’re here to stay.
In anticipation of their performance in the JamRoom tonight, we sat down with The Skins to talk about just what makes their music so damn good (hint: the perfect marriage of creative collaboration and innate chemistry) along with the inspo behind their latest single, “Bury Me.” For these guys, it’s all about channeling the vibrancy of the city and taking the product of it to new heights with each performance.
Alright guys, let’s go around and have each of you introduce yourself with one fun fact.
Kaya: I’m Kaya Nico and I really, really, really, really love buffalo wings, bass rapping, shopping, looking good, and makeup.
Russ: My name is Russ and a fun fact about me is that I play guitar in The Skins and I love fried chicken.
Reef: Hey, it’s your boy Reef Cole and a fun fact about me is that I have a lazy eye!
Daisy: My name is Daisy Spencer and I play guitar. My fun fact is that at one point in my life, I knew over 200 different species of fish and their scientific names.
Bay Li: Hi! My name is Bay Li and I’m the singer of The Skins and I guess my fun fact is that not only am I a musician, but I’m a visual artist too.
Group (collectively): Yeeeahhhhhh.
Cool! Okay, first of all: major congrats on the new single. I want to take a quick dive into the lyrics, so let’s get really deep for a second.
Bay Li: So “Bury Me” was a very fun track to make. The night it happened it was just me and Kaya in the studio with our friends Daytrip who we co-produce with all the time. They’re amazing. And it happened really organically, like I essentially free-styled the lyrics, which never happens. And on a conceptual level, it’s about being in a toxic relationship and kind of not realizing my self-worth and letting the person use me and almost saying I want you to use me because I need this illusion of love.
I love it. And everybody was like yes, dope we’re on the same page?
Bay Li: Usually how we work, it’s very, very collaborative. Everyone has a part in creating music, visuals, anything, but yeah, these guys usually just let me have free range with lyrics and concepts, but they help me out a lot, too. Like on “Bury Me,” K helped me come up with the concept and all that stuff.
Awesome. What was it like working with D.R.A.M. on this track? I want to hear some fun stories.
Bay Li: It’s funny; we didn’t actually meet until after we did the song because we tracked it remotely so he tracked it probably in LA or something and we were in New York. But I remember when we first heard it, we heard a few different artists renditions of the songs and we heard his first and it was so dope, we knew that it was the one. And he was just awesome when we did the video…he was amazing, super, super loving and open and cool.
Daisy: He’s as sweet as he looks.
Bay Li: He’s as sweet as he looks!
Daisy: His smile is very genuine.
Bay Li: And super just chill; we were friends immediately.
Awesome. Quick, each of you name your favorite song of all time.
Bay Li: I’m going to say “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” by Gladys Knight and the Pips.
Reef: My favorite song in the whole wide world is “Slob On My Knob” by Tear Da Club Up Thugs.
Daisy: My favorite song is “Y Control” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Kaya: My favorite song is “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson.
Russ: If I had to pick one song of all time, I’d have to go with “New Mistake” by Jellyfish.
What is something that you guys turn to for inspiration? Is there like a weird muse that everyone kind of has collectively or individually?
Bay Li: As a general statement, I think I can talk for the band, but I think for me, our songwriting is based on our experiences. We live in New York, we’re from here, born and raised, and the city is so colorful and diverse and there’s a lot of inspiration here. We don’t have to look far for inspiration. Things that are kind of happening now in terms of social issues and politics, that stuff is very inspiring too, like current events and things like that.
Do you guys foresee anything politically inspired coming together from what’s happened throughout and beyond this election?
Bay Li: Oh my god, the second this election was over, we were texting each other that we’re so grateful to have each other, and we love each other, but I personally feel more inspired than ever.
Reef: One of the songs on our upcoming EP coincides with all of the political stuff that’s going on in the world right now, or with America at least. It’s called “Stampede” and it’s going be on Still Sleep, baby. That’s righttt!
So you sort of already answered this, but what’s up next for you guys? I mean I assume you’re always kind of thinking ahead.
Daisy: As soon as we finished the EP, we already started to work on what our next project was going to be, because we’re just trying to get people to hear our tunes as quickly as possible.
Bay Li: And we love writing, we love writing our own music.
Daisy: We love it. Yeah, absolutely. So over the next couple of months, the project will be out in mid-December roughly, we can’t say specific dates right now, but yeah, touring, we want it all. We definitely thrive on the road and in a live setting, so I know the band is really excited because we love touring, we love how dirty and grimy it is, we love everything about it.
What’s your favorite place you’ve gone on a tour?
Bay Li: Canada was…Montreal and Toronto were amazing. And Vancouver too.
Daisy: The night in Montreal I remember really, really specifically just because it was freezing as hell. We were in the polar vortex on that entire tour, the crazy winter storm, and everywhere we went, the storm was passing through.
Reef: Every time we opened the door, it would be like knives.
Daisy: Yeah, it was crazy and we slept in parking lots. And I remember going to Chicago, we slept in a Walmart Express parking lot because we couldn’t get a hotel and we would not trade in anything to redo anything, we loved it.
Russ: Also, Austin, Texas, great, great music.
Bay Li: We’ve also been to France, and they’re really welcoming to us, they’ve invited us back on more than one occasion. We loved it there.
I know three of you are from Brooklyn, right? What about the other two?
Daisy: So the band is from Brooklyn because we rehearse in Brooklyn, but I’m personally from Harlem (I grew up and lived there for a while), and Russell lives with me in Harlem so we’re a New York City-based band.
Cool, so I’ll just open this question up to all of New York then: what kind of impact and influence does the city have on what you guys do and who you are?
Kaya: So much impact, I would just say New York City has molded me into the person that I am today, just subways and colors and bad days and good days and struggling experiences and just everything. Just seeing a lot of diversity everyday, going to high school in the city and it’s the only city where I feel like everyone is free. I feel like we all know we can be free, we do what we want and we can try anything. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but New York City, and I’m just so happy. It’s very vibrant here, in every sense.
Bay Li: The Skins is just diversity and vivaciousness wrapped in one.
Images courtesy of Rachel Hodin
Stay tuned to Milk for coverage on tonight’s show and future updates on our friends from The Skins.