Interview: Skegss – “Now everyone’s singing our songs and it’s skitz”

Having released their latest EP Everyone Is Good At Something just a couple of months back, Byron Bay shredders Skegss continue to establish themselves as a force in an ever-growing Australian punk scene. Having just wrapped up one holy heck of a tour of that record with good mates Dumb Punts and Verge Collection, Skegss are also gearing up to rip the beach a new one at the idyllic Yours & Owls festival in Wollongong in just a month.

Having been a full year since we last caught up for a couple of brews and a chat with the Skegss lads, we gave extra-laidback frontman and lead guitarist Benny a ring for a chat about their new EP, life on the road and what’s ahead for one of Australia’s best young bands.

Hey Benny, how are you this afternoon?

Pretty good, how’re you going?

Not too bad, just on lunch.

Sick, smashing it.

What are you up to?

Just cruising, just sat down for a game of FIFA.

Is that with the other boys from Skegss?

Nah, we’re all kind of all over the country at the moment. I’m just with a few buddies in Newcastle right now.

So you’re currently on tour at the moment, that’s for your new EP Everyone Is Good At Something. You’re with Dumb Punts and Verge Collection, any crazy tour stories you can share with us or has it just been a Chinese feed and a couple of beers every night?

We did have a bit of fun. The first set was in Adelaide and we just got pretty loose and stayed up all night because our flight the next day was to Perth at 5 in the morning so we had an all-nighter, but the next night we got hell loose and we were in our hotel room and we had a big wrestle.

So who’s the heavyweight champion of the world?

I am! Took down Johnny (drums) and then I took down Toby (bass).

See I would have thought Toby would have it over you guys, he’s not a small human, got the height and the weight advantage.

Yeah he had the weight advantage but I didn’t tap out. He tapped.

You have that over him for life now.

Yup, had to get him.

It must feel good, you guys have sold out just about everywhere you played on this tour. Obviously that’s a goal for every new band, have you set any other goals now that you’ve established yourselves like this?

I don’t know. It’s pretty trippy, we’re definitely tripping on it and you can tell the shows are just heaps crazy and now because we’re playing the whole set that’s out whereas before we were playing half the set before the songs were out, so now everyone’s singing the songs and shit and it’s kind of skitz.

I dunno, we’ll probably just keep doin’ it *laughs*.

We did quite enjoy the new EP. It seemed like a few of those songs were written while on the road, was that the case?

Nah not really. Probably wrote ’em in my bedroom and then whenever we hang out we just drink beers and we’ll play ’em and if we like ’em we’ll keep playing ’em. And then when we get to the studio we jam out the songs we like.

I’m guessing it’s a bit of a laidback creative environment and it doesn’t take a lot to get you guys in that sort of mood?

Nah. We all do different stuff outside of the band so when we’re together we just kind of jam… not really, we’ll just get pissed and then play the songs. We’ve got no structure to it or formula to it.

I saw you guys had a tour in South America earlier in the year.

*Laughs* Yeah that was super random.

How did that come about?

Just an email, it’s all on the Internet now *laughs*. Got an email and said it looks pretty sick and next thing we were going man. It was a couple of days before we sent our visas to the embassy and it was approved in Brazil so it was sweet but I didn’t realise that. So I got stamped straight away from this side because I think it takes the other side ages to get it all sorted.

Next thing we’re just like, fuck, we’re going. It was skitz. Took us three days to fly there I swear.

Holy heck. When you finally got there how did the crowds enjoy your music? Had many people heard Skegss before or was it a brand new experience for them?

Yeah it was a new thing and a few of them had heard us which was surreal because we didn’t think anyone would know the songs over there. The companies that got us all over there and organised it threw a couple of parties, one in Rio and one in Sao Paolo. The one in Rio was at a little surf shop, they had like a clothing store and there’s a bar there and they throw big parties. There would have been about 500 people there backed up into the street. That was the first show we played.

The second one we drove back to near Sao Paolo and played this skate shop/little venue and there was a halfpipe. That was a ticketed one that the record label who got us out there organised and there was probably 50 or 60 people there and half of them had been listening to the band so that was pretty crazy. Just when people come up to you and say they never thought we’d go to their country or they thought they’d never see us. That was a trippy thing to hear.

The third show was another one that company put on. They’re a PR company so they had all these other brands there like, all these people from different brands they got in to come check out the show and they put on heaps of piss. I think Vans actually sorted it all out. There was this warehouse underground from this skatepark called The Square, this pretty prestigious skatepark. I can’t really remember how they explained it but it turns out this warehouse is where people go to have these hell big orgies *laughs*

They’re like “this is where they fuck!”. You wouldn’t have picked there to be this underground warehouse on the street but yeah. There were probably 400-500 people at that and a few people that knew the band and a few people from blogs, people who kind of semi knew the band but those two parties not as many people did.

The next show was somewhere else in Sao Paolo and 50 or 60 kids rocked up to the show who knew the band so that was really cool. So trippy.

Sounds like you’re building up a presence in South America.

Yeah we’re gonna go back there next year I think. Probably. Or some time.

Is there anywhere else in the world you’re keen to go to as well?

Yeah we’re definitely keen to go and do Japan soon and we’re keen to do Europe next year and back to America but we’ve got nothin’ planned yet. That probably goes back to the first question you asked, that’s what our goal is.

Definitely. I guess you’re working towards checking off everything off your list in Eat It which is good.

*Laughs* Yeah yeah, fully. Well that’s what that song’s all about, just wanting to travel. We just wanna fuckin’ try and play as many different places as we can. That’s the beauty of it.

That’s the dream. Bit closer to home, your next festival stop is at Yours & Owls coming up very soon. You guys are playing that with a few of your good mates in The Pinheads and Hockey Dad.

Yeah! Pinheads and Hockey Dad! It’s gonna be sick.

Obviously very excited for it.

Yeah we played that festival last year but Toby wasn’t there for it so just our buddy from the Dumb Punts Jimmy filled in for him. We’re stoked Toby’s gonna be there for this one cause it’s such a good festival. Are you going?

I’m unfortunately up in Brisbane, maybe we’ve got some other writers closer to there who might be going though. The location of it is fantastic from what I’ve seen on Google, right near the beach there it just looks amazing.

Yeah man, the weather was real good last year, it was actually hell hot. It was real hard to get through the set. It’s so sick when festivals are at places like that, like Festival Of The Sun is on the beach too and pretty similar. You can just kind of tap out and go for a swim and come back, everything’s a good walking distance and it’s sick.

The last time I spoke to you guys was at BIGSOUND almost exactly a year ago.

Oh was that when we bought you a beer?


Oh sick, that’s you, sick.

Haha, probably my favourite interview ever. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed in a year since then?

Definitely just the shows are getting way bigger and I guess the energy gets way more skitz. And because we’re ticketing shows now you can tell… I don’t know, it’s pretty cool when people care and give a fuck, that’s like the skitz-est realisation I reckon.

This tour was crazy and it’s just so nice for someone to actually buy a ticket and come to a show. It’s sick.

Have you guys got any plans for that debut Skegss album yet? Or are you just focusing your energy on travelling and touring at the moment?

Yeah mainly travelling. We’re gonna make an album. We’re always talking about it but it’ll just happen. We don’t really plan that shit, we don’t get together and do shit like that. We just have barbecues and beers and we’ve never really tried to sit down and force something to happen. We’ll just keep playing and we’ll write an album *laughs*. That’s something you’ve gotta tick off the bucket list.

I’m sure you won’t keep us waiting as long as Frank Ocean did.

Yeah we’re gonna do a live broadcast and it’s just us hanging.

Building a halfpipe instead of a staircase.

It’s gonna stream, you should watch us doing it *laughs*.

That’s the way to do it these days. Righto Benny I’ll let you get to your FIFA but thanks heaps for the chat this afternoon.

Yeah no worries man!

Catch Skegss playing at Yours And Owls Festival in Wollongong on the 1st and 2nd of October. Tickets available here.

Image: Life Without Andy