*Note: This story originally appears in the Fall 2014 issue of VRLX Mag. Find out more and get your copy here!
Sometimes it feels like we’re drowning in the sea of today’s music, and we could really use a breath of fresh air. Cue The Skins, the Brooklyn-based rock band that’s giving us some tunes to get hyped about.
When you come across The Skins, there’s no doubt that you’d be captivated right off the bat. Ranging in ages from 15 to 21, the members are just as multifaceted and dynamic as their infectious music. Each one is teeming with personality and one-of-a-kind style from their sounds to their aesthetics, meshing aspects from various genres via punchy guitar riffs, catchy beats, viral rhythm, and sharp lyrics. And although you wouldn’t necessarily think to throw all of The Skins’ elements and influences together, there’s no denying that the result is instant harmony. Maybe you wouldn’t expect the members to all hang out, either. But whether they’re slaying on stage at The Knitting Factory in Williamsburg or prepping for a photo shoot at their Bed Stuy rehearsal space, the group is like a true family, with good vibes all around.
Siblings Bayli, Kaya, and Reef Mckeithan linked up with friends and dueling guitarists, Daisy Spencer and Russell Chell back in 2012 after getting to know each other at New York’s School of Rock. They instantly caught the attention of actor Adrian Grenier, and “Surf,” their first in-studio music video recorded by Grenier’s Wreckroom Records got over 10,000 views within its first week on Youtube.
Still need convincing? How about the fact that The Skins have already done two sold-out tours with the UK band, The Heavy, and captured audiences’ attention at festivals like Afro Punk, CMJ, and SXSW? Oh, and they’ve also gotten their track, “Dead Hands” licensed to be used for an eight-week ad campaign for the Australian World Open on ESPN and Cinemax. Not too shabby for a bunch of kids from Brooklyn.
But that’s the thing: this isn’t just another group of friends jamming out. The Skins’ music ranges from every area on the rock ‘n’ roll spectrum and beyond, while the group still manages to maintain a strong identity comparable to many seasoned pros. Their self-titled EP contains seemingly endless layers and dimensions. Meanwhile, their additional tracks take things even further, experimenting with everything from hard rock to hip-hop. On one hand, you’ve got “Kiss Me,” which combines passionate lyrics with heavy, grungier chords. But on the opposite end of the spectrum lies the super-upbeat “Pump Up the Speed.” Somehow, the songs still make sense when put alongside “Rude Girl,” the insanely catchy, rap-infused banger (where the singer threatens to “go Solange on a bitch”).
Of course, this cohesive dabbling in different styles wouldn’t be possible without each band member’s unique role. With a hybrid of Gwen Stefani’s spunk and Amy Winehouse’s soul, Bayli’s vocals heighten powerful lyrics with fortitude beyond her years. And while Reef could easily bang out hip-hop-friendly beats, his skills go perfectly with Russell’s solid rock guitar licks. Daisy adapts her multifaceted style accordingly, while Kaya acts as the glue, holding these different elements together. It just goes to show that differences – no matter how vast – can produce the best results imaginable.
Music should be fun, and there’s no denying the good time Bayli, Kaya, Reef, Daisy, and Russell are having. But you can’t argue their passion, either, which is what’s really shooting them above and beyond. After signing to American Recordings, the band is currently working on new releases, giving listeners a lot to look forward to. Keep The Skins on your radar; you’re sure to be blown away while they’re blowing up.