Here, underneath the Brooklyn Bridge on a gloomy and cold winter day, it’s hard not to notice The Skins’ lead singer, Bayli, whose neon green dip-dyed mess of curls cascade over a colorfully bejeweled bindi forehead. She’s got a look worth a thousand Tumblr reblogs, and a presence that reminds many of Gwen Stefani’s Orange County days. But unlike Stefani, Bayli forgoes throaty vocals for those that sear through lyrics on the band’s self-titled EP, The Skins. She’s the band’s electricity and she creates its shock. But, together, Bayli, her siblings Reef and Kaya, and guitarists Daisy and Russell, are the new face of Brooklyn’s upcoming rock scene.
“The fact that we are from Brooklyn, black, like Led Zeppelin, and want to play actual rock is a surprise for most people,” confesses the lead singer. But don’t get it twisted, The Skins rock is anything but traditional. “All of us are interested in different types of music,” Daisy added. “Reef plays a lot of hip hop beats, Russell keeps the guitar playing solid rock. I am in between. Bayli has a soulful voice and Kayla holds it down. [So} while we’re obviously a rock group, we don’t only like rock music.”
The quintet graduated from New York’s School Of Rock, and their neo-sound is catching on. They’ve toured cross-country, showcased at Sundance and Afro-Punk, signed with actor Adrian Grenier’s Wreckroom Records, and even landed an upcoming spot with The Heavy across Europe. Not bad for a group whose median age is 17, and a pure feat for a band who only gained its lead singer by chance. “I didn’t even know I could hold a note [until I sang] I’ve Got To Use My Imagination by Gladys Knight And The Pips [at a talent show],” confessed Bayli.
Now, however, the youngins are producing tracks that possess the core. On “Surf”, Bayli’s voice elevates from soul to tempered scream while her brother Reef carries the drumbeat. And on “Summertime”, The Skins sound like a polished rock output with lyrics calling for warm weather “shine.”
But back on set in wintry Brooklyn, as the band prepped for our photoshoot and giddily chatted about their upcoming tour, we grilled them on their dirty little secrets:
On The Biggest Secret Few People Know
Daisy: Well, me and Russell are dating.
Russell: I love pop music so much it’s kind of ridiculous. I love Top 40, except Justin Bieber.
On How They’ve Spread Their Music Via Influencers
Bayli: People in the downtown scene can really appreciate our art moreso than people who aren’t hip to our style or new trends. We make a lot of good connects, because of the poeple we surround ourselves with. It helps to spread our music and art.
On Their Plans To Spend Their Make-It-Rich-Money
Reef: The first thing I’m going to do when I get all that stuff is get a living space that can fit anything that I want. Which means a room that is devoted to me hanging out and watching TV and playing video games, ok? And a studio, somewhere in my house with the greatest boomcase ever. That’s all I want. I could just live in those two rooms my whole life.
Bayli: I don’t mean to sound corny or mad sentimental, but this is the truth. If we can buy whatever we want I would probably pay the mortgage on our house and buy my grandma a new house, so they don’t have to work anymore. That’s the only reason why I want money in the world, so my fam doesn’t have to be stressed.
On Bayli’s Favorite Artist
Bayli: “Amy Winehouse, that’s my girl! I got a new Amy tat. It says Amy Amy Amy inspired from her first album, Frank.”
On Their Hopes For A Major First Collaboration
Daisy: The Heavy
Kaya: The Skins X Pharrell
Bayli: Hmmm..let me think for a sec. I probably said this before, but I actually love M.I.A.’s stuff. I just want her. I want to be around her, wear her clothes, and be her friend. And her music is retarded. Her music is her own and she is mad fierce. She does her own thing and doesn’t care what people have to say. To tour or collab with her would be a crazy exposure.
Reef: Jay-Z, because one, that song would be mad famous. We would be more successful because of Jay. Two, he is the greatest hip hop artist of all time. Three, he is my favorite person ever.