DESIGNER MAGAZINE PRESENTS....SKINT & DEMORALISED
Formed via MySpace in May 2007 after a mysterious producer contacted an unknown performance poet, the Skint & Demoralised story is as unorthodox as it is extensive. At the time, Matt Abbott was completing his A-Levels and peppering the West Yorkshire music scene with short bursts of spoken word between bands. Six months later, he was the frontman of a band being championed by Steve Lamacq on Radio 1.
The success of their demos – which received 10,000 free downloads – saw them named at #3 on Lamacq’s Top 100 New Bands of 2007 before signing a deal with Mercury Records in March 2008. In order to land the role of producer, MiNI dOG suggested that they record with legendary soul band The Dap-Kings. Three months later they flew to NYC and work on their debut album began with the musicians who’d recently recorded on Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’.
The ‘Love, And Other Catastrophes’ sessions were completed at RAK Studios in London, less than a year after 19-year-old Abbott quit his job in a call centre.
All 500 copies of debut 7” ‘The Thrill of Thirty Seconds’ sold-out via pre-order; the icing on the cake being Colin Murray’s ‘Record Of The Week’ accolade. Dan Cairns’ feature in the Sunday Times Culture underlined their potential and an almost sell-out tour of the UK was supported by single ‘This Song Is Definitely Not About You’ in February 2009. Summer smash ‘Red Lipstick’ saw them emerge as a hit on the local and major festival circuit. Unfortunately they weren’t as successful in the charts as they were on the stage, and the track spent a solitary week at #100 in the charts despite being B-Listed at Radio 1, 6Music and Absolute Radio.
A sensational performance to a crammed Festival Republic stage at noon on the Friday of Leeds Fest appeared to indicate where the band was heading. But 4,500 screaming fans in a muddy West Yorkshire field weren’t as influential as 12 screaming businessmen in a plush West London office, and behind the scenes the vultures were already circling. Three months later, Matt was working as a Christmas temp in his local HMV. By spring 2010, they’d been dropped. For now, it seemed, Skint & Demoralised was over before it had even begun.
A well-attended spoken word/stand-up performance by Matt on the Alternative Stage at Leeds Fest 2010 signalled that there was indeed hope for S&D, and over the following months an album was written and recorded in MiNI dOG’s home studio. ‘This Sporting Life’ was completed before Christmas.
They had no money, no manager, no label and nobody willing to help. But they had the rights to two albums and a burning desire to resurrect the career that they’d rapidly started to build in the dizzying heights of 2007-09. One year after S&D were dropped by the giants at Universal HQ, they signed a deal with tiny indie Heist Or Hit Records. With a live band of close friends from Wakefield, Abbott took S&D on the road once more and they gigged every weekend over spring and summer 2011.
A 2CD pack of both albums was released in August after single ‘The Lonely Hearts of England’ was aired on 6Music, Radio 2 and Amazing Radio, and in October they toured the UK – including gigs with The Crookes, Art Brut and Abbott’s idol John Cooper Clarke.
Single ‘All The Rest Is Propaganda’ will be released on 30th January 2012, followed by the re-release of ‘This Sporting Life’ on 6th February. And after that? Well...your guess is as good as ours.