INTERVIEW: The Skinner Brothers

London based four-piece The Skinner Brothers released their latest single ‘Away Days’ on 12th June across all digital formats via Blaggers Records with digital distribution by Horus Music

‘Away Days’ is an ode to missing your real passion – in the lad’s case, that’s football mania and is inspired by the build-up to an away game during the football season, a feeling which so many are missing during lockdown’s suspension of the football season. However, the song’s sentiments translate just as well towards all weekend activities, everything that’s not there anymore, day trips to the theme park, days out at the beach, and even time spent dodging the seagulls scoffing chips whilst drinking in the sunshine.

Frontman and songwriter Zachary Charles Skinner, who supports Millwall FC himself, stated “The song arose from my love of football culture, I’d been wanting to write a song that captures the essence of match-day for a long while and with “Away Days” I feel I’ve done it. The song takes inspiration from the jukebox classics played in the pubs, along with the fashion togetherness that the football brings!” Football culture and guitar music go hand in hand, and the band state that it is one of their passions, and indeed influences their fashion sense. The band feels that the togetherness of football fans encourages camaraderie, which is desperately needed by the public

during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The English FA plans to conclude this year’s Premiership and Championship, with games due to start behind closed doors on June 17th. The band will have a keen eye on the fixtures of Saturday 20th, as Millwall restart their season by welcoming Derby County. 

We asked frontman Zachary to expand on the song’s origins in football and the universality of the sentiments of missing and longing for your true passion, and his thoughts on this weekend’s incidents. 

Q1 – Have you always been a football supporter and who did you start off supporting?

ZS – I used to play a bit for my local club as a kid. ‘Supporter’ is probably right; perhaps more than a hardcore fan. Truth is, I came to my team later than some, after bouncing around a few clubs in my earlier years. I didn’t so much choose Millwall, as really it chose me. This really came about after spending a good amount of time working in pubs. I started in the 5 Bells, New Cross; which is just one of Millwall’s home pubs.  

Q2 – How did you feel when the premiership was put on hold? Was it a big blow to you and your passion?

ZS – It’s a lifestyle, so it changed a lot of what that weekend routine was all about. I miss home games, and I know what it means to the traveling away-fans in particular, so I’m hoping this tune will get them warmed up for the return.  

Q3 – How big a change have you noticed with no matches now for 3 months? How different have your weekends been?

ZS – Yeah, it’s definitely changed my weekends. Without the distraction of the game, it has meant I’m spending more time writing. So, not all bad I guess!

Q4 – To someone who’s not a football fan, what would you say is the best thing about it? 

ZS – The best thing about football to me, as we touched on before; bringing people together. I think the sense of family and friendship that comes with being together, both home or away. 

Q5 – How do you think the teams and the players will cope with playing matches behind closed doors?

ZA – Ah, that’s going to be tough for them I assume. I can only relate to playing a festival or gig in a tent with no background noise or cheering. I think it will be strange for them as they won’t have that extra push. It’s going to be difficult for all teams; losing the advantage of a strong home and away support. Often it’s the difference, so it’s going to be interesting to see who takes advantage in these next few games. 

Q6 – How do you think the fans will cope with playing matches behind closed doors? What do you expect to see over the next 4 weeks?

ZS – I think you’ll see more people have small football parties (whilst sticking to their bubbles or new government guidelines). Personally, I would like it if the pubs were open fully to be able to watch matches. I’m sure we will see some pubs with outdoor TVs come July. 

Q7 – There were some terrible scenes on the weekend by the hijacking of the Black Lives Matter by elements of the far-right – what do you feel when you see these incidents? 

ZS – Sadness and frustration that racism and the far-right are still with us. The weekend is a sad, but important reminder there is more to be done. I hope that music and sport, football right now, will be part of that recovery.  Bringing people together, unifying them through common love rather than common hate. Away Days is using football as the backdrop that yearns for that unity to return.  The feeling of being with your mates, enjoying life, telling stories, and having the buzz of live football and music back in our lives.     

Having formed in 2018, the band quickly gained a loyal following. After touring with The Libertines, The Skinner Brothers went on to release their debut single ‘Watchu’, which has since received over 475,000 Spotify streams. Another milestone for the band soon followed as they supported Rat Boy at Camden’s Electric Ballroom. The Skinner Brothers devoted fan base has grown significantly over the past 12 months, particularly on Spotify. The band have achieved over 1,300,000 million streams on the platform, and this is due in part to their inclusion on editorial playlists such as Fresh Finds, Hot New Bands, and The Punk List. The band’s latest headline show, which took place in February at The Stag’s Head Hoxton, sold out in 4 hours, and the band are eager to return to the stage as soon as they possibly can.

Listen to ‘Away Days’ Via Embedded Soundcloud link here.

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