Hailing from the land of Monkeys and Makers, Skint And Demoralised are a spoken-word-poet-slash-reclusive producer duo that, on the strength of literally one song, had major after major lining up to try and sign them.
Universal subsidiary Mercury landed the signatures of nineteen-year-old Matt Abbott and ‘The Stig-like’ Mini Dog as, “they were the only people who didn’t say what they wanted us to do. They let us come up with what we wanted to do.”
“I love music and lyrics but I’ve never been able to play anything,”
The pair have now completed work on their debut album, which saw them fly over to New York to record their album with the legendary backing band The Dap Kings, and are preparing for the release of their first single ‘The Thrill Of Thirty Seconds’, on the super-cool Another Music = Another Kitchen label. All of this has happened in little over a year – from actually meeting one another, to where they are now.
“I love music and lyrics but I’ve never been able to play anything,” the young poet recounts. “Mini Dog found me on MySpace and asked if I fancied putting any of my words to music. So we worked on four or five songs, played a gig in August, got played on Radio 1 in November and then got signed in March. It was mad.”
The band’s name came from the feeling Abbott got after he left his time in education and found himself treading water in the big, bad world. “When I were sixteen I went straight into fulltime work,” he says in his unmistakable South Yorkshire accent. “Me and my mates would go to work, go home, go to the pub – we were stuck in this cycle and that’s exactly how I felt… skint and demoralised as it were. Me and my friend Jon McClure (from the aforementioned Reverend And The Makers) used to say it all the time. I started using it as my stage name and he put it in his song ‘Bandit’.”
"It’s something I feel quite passionate about "
A fan of politics, but not of politicians, Abbott realised that he could use his music to create political awareness to a much greater extent than when he was a member of the Liberal Democrats. This was driven home recently at the biggest gig they’ve played so far, with Kaiser Chiefs at the Love Music Hate Racism show in Rotherham, where over four thousand people turned up to watch. “I’d like to think we managed to prevent some BNP people from winning places in Leeds. It’s something I feel quite passionate about – they’re winning a lot of seats in local councils and we have to watch out for it.”
As a pair, Abbott is the face and spokesperson, as well as lyric writer. Mini Dog stays well in the background, not appearing in any videos, promos or at live appearances, preferring instead to put the lyrics he receives from his band mate to music and also get on with the production. “No one knows what he looks like. It’s a bit like Robbie Wiliams and Guy Chambers but not as cheese...” Abbott concludes the interview with – his tongue firmly in his cheek.