London-based indie rockers The Skinner Brothers have amassed a passionate critical and fan following for their raw attitude, anthemic choruses and blistering live shows.
On the scene since 2018, the band now has a fresh, new line-up – Joe Fisher on guitar, Perry Meadowcroft on bass, and Alfie Clayton on drums, joining frontman and songwriter Zac Skinner – and is packing out venues and festival stages, ahead of a UK tour and a ton of new music.
We got to chat to guitarist and proud Sheffield boy Joe Fisher, 22, about his start in music, his love for Arctic Monkeys, and how he came to be in one of the most exciting British rock bands of the moment: The Skinner Brothers.
Have you always been into music?
For sure. My dad took me to see Arctic Monkeys on their AM tour in 2013. It was a birthday treat. I hate using the word ‘cool’ – saying it makes me sound like Dad! – but I remember coming out of that gig thinking, ‘That’s the coolest thing I have ever seen.’ I was 14.
I asked for a guitar that Christmas and, as they say, the rest is history.
How long before you joined your first band?
About a year. My first band was The Paisley Royals. I owe a lot to those guys and to that experience. It was sort of like my apprenticeship. But, being 15 at the time, it was daunting. That first gig in front of 10 people in Leeds was my Knebworth!
That band didn’t work out, for whatever reason, so I joined a band called JupiterMoon. Again, I learnt so much from those guys, mainly from the song writing/recording aspect. But things went very quiet during Covid, as happened to so many bands.
I was looking for an opportunity to keep pushing myself, and that’s how I found The Skinner Brothers.
How did you come to join the band?
Instagram! It’s the way of the modern world! During the lockdown, I was sort of doing nothing – posting the odd guitar video, and I released a tune of my own – and I found myself talking to The Skinner Brothers on Instagram. I was a fan, so it was pretty nuts!
Long story short: I got the opportunity to come to London to rehearse with the guys. Everything felt right immediately. They liked me and I liked them, and it just sort of fell into place.
Being in the band has been a really great experience for me. I’ve grown so much as a person, and as a musician.
That’s pretty special, going from being a fan to being in the band. Did it seem unreal?
Yes, often! I always try to relate things back to the early days, when I was playing along to Arctic Monkeys in my room after school. Teenage me would never have thought he’d ever do anything more than play in his room.
And now I find myself in a position where I’ve supported The Streets, toured with Kasabian, sold out two Brixton Academy shows! Crazy stuff!
But the real pinch me moments come at our own shows. When we’re selling out venues, packing out festival stages, it’s like, ‘Wow, these people really came for us!’ It’s a great feeling.
Is it that feeling that drives you?
Yeah, you can’t beat that feeling when you’re on stage and the crowd's loving it. I love sharing the music with those people that have always supported me: my family and friends. Seeing how happy and excited they get for me is a great feeling.
That definitely keeps me going, because things aren’t always easy with music.
I won’t lie, I also like proving those people wrong that mocked me years ago. ‘What are you doing that for? Do you think you’re going to be famous?’ Every time I’m on stage it’s like those people can see me and I’m sticking two fingers up at them.
Haters gonna hate. Was it always Artic Monkeys you were playing along to in your bedroom?
Yeah, pretty much. Alex Turner is just different league. My music taste sort of grew from them. They got me onto like Jamie T, Miles Kane, that sort of stuff.
Nowadays I prefer to listen to softer stuff really. I’ve been listening to a lot of Still Woozy the last couple of years. I’m finally seeing him this year with my girlfriend, so I’m buzzing about that.
Okay, tell us about The Skinner Brothers.
Where do I start! So, there are 4 of us in the band: me on guitar, Zac’s the frontman, Alfie’s on drums, and Perry’s on bass. We’ve got a great team around us and that really shows when we’re on stage.
We like to have it big! ‘Large and in charge’ is a common phrase you’ll hear around us. ‘Large and in charge!’ We roll out with a crate of Stella, dish that out to the crowd, and lay down some tunes.
I’d definitely say we fit into that indie rock sort of genre, however broad that is these days. Zac is an amazing songwriter. I’ve no doubt one day he’ll be considered one of the best. He knows his way round a big chorus, perfect for getting everyone involved.
Our music is personable: you can connect with it. The same goes for everyone associated with the band. We’re not trying to be anything we’re not. What you see is what you get.
What was that first gig with the band like? Squeaky bum time?
Joiners Arms in Southampton. Some big bands have played there. It’s a venue with a lot of history. That night we were the support act. I had a shocker actually. My amp kept cutting out. I remember it choking out in a section where it was only me playing! But what can you do?
Just to add, there was a guy in the audience that night who became a fan and follows us around everywhere now. It just goes to show how important every gig is, whether it’s big or something more small scale.
Tell us about some of the big shows.
What’s in the works for The Skinner Brothers?
It’s all happening at the minute. Our new single - 'Lonedon' - is out now, and we've got an EP coming later this month. And the ‘Soul Boy II’ vinyl is available to preorder now.
As for live shows, we’ve just played Reading and Leeds, which was insane. Then we’ve got our second UK tour of the year, starting in October. It’s nonstop!
You wouldn’t want it any other way. Where can people go to support you?
The interrogation is over. Any final thoughts?
Yeah, come to a show!
📸 Images by Connor Hill.
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