Wakefield’s Skinny Living came together despite troubling situations through relentless hard graft. Their story is one of synchronicity, chance meetings and unflinching belief that their glorious acoustic soul – with its echoes of Bill Withers and Paolo Nutini – will out. Ahead of a European tour – including Manchester in September 2019 – The Journalix fired some questions to lead singer Ryan Johnston to hear all about it…
SKINNY LIVING: THE INTERVIEW
How did you all arrive at this point in time?
SKINNY LIVING: That’s deep but I suppose we met each other randomly made music then we got sent this email so here we are.
Who inspired you to be musicians?
SKINNY LIVING: Loads of different artists but I think for most of us it’s fair to say the music played by our families when we were growing up sparked our interest.
Your Father is Protestant and Mother is Catholic – how was this handled in your upbringing?
SKINNY LIVING: At the time I was born it was the very height of the troubles so my Mum and Dad moved to Bangor when I was about 2 years old as it was much safer for us to grow up there and as far as how they handled raising us, it was a Christian household full of acceptance for anyone from any walk of life and it taught all of us that there is good and bad on each side so not to tar or fear a whole race because of the actions of some bad people within it.
Can we expect religious and political themes to your music?
SKINNY LIVING: I think so yeah but not all the time they are elements of the life we’ve lived but they certainly don’t dominate it.
Your website has a wall of social media posts relating to #skinnyliving which includes a lot of dietary advice at the moment – where does the name come from?
SKINNY LIVING: Hahaha I haven’t seen that but I am not surprised, I love that that is the case though! Not because I care about diets but it’s just funny! The name came from us being broke and a discussion where I mentioned we were living skinny, Will [Booth – guitarist] flipped it round and we called ourselves it! It’s a pretty mad name but it is what it is.
Naturally there are comparisons to Paolo Nutini with your vocals, does this mean a career based on drinking vodka, smoking weed and dating models?
SKINNY LIVING: We certainly like similar things replace the vodka with whiskey, keep the weed! Models have proven to be quite complicated already and as a band we like the easy life but never say never.
Seriously though, your sound is perfect for an acoustic performance. That must mean tons of practice?
SKINNY LIVING: The acoustic stuff comes really naturally and if it’s over thought or played it losses some of its raw magic so too much practise can sometimes kill the vibe.
THE JOURNALIX – A MANCHESTER POP CULTURE BLOG
What have your experiences of playing Manchester been so far – are you looking forward to your upcoming show?
SKINNY LIVING: We absolutely adore Manchester it’s always been a good place to play and people seem to really get us there, we can’t wait to get back and play again.
We’re off on our holidays soon, can you recommend me a film for the flight, a book by the pool and some music to soundtrack it all?
SKINNY LIVING: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Secret and The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill.
We’re a pop culture website – how would you sum up the 2010’s?
SKINNY LIVING: It’s just been a meme.
What does the future hold for Skinny Living?
SKINNY LIVING: All I know for sure is we will be releasing more music and touring it.
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