Walking to the rehearsal studio, Bayli McKeithan is surrounded by drivers angrily honking their horns, and by ambulance sirens shrieking frantically as they try to make their way through traffic: the backdrop to a typical Brooklyn morning.
Composed of New York natives Bayli, Kaya,Reef McKeithan, (vocals, bass and drums respectively,), and guitarists Daisy Spencer and Russell Chell; the Skins have been touring with The Strokes’ guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. and British singer/songwriter Jake Bugg since early January.
The McKeithan siblings met Daisy and Russell several years ago at the School of Rock in New York.
“That’s totally a real thing,” laughed Bayli, referencing the 2003 Jack Black film where students learn to perform and play music. “It was just a perfect coming together.”
The band members, ranging in age from 15 to 21, wanted to create their own pieces and write their own lyrics, and decided to break away from the school to indulge in their own creative pursuits.
“You’re basically just covering songs, learning songs, but you’re not writing your own stuff,” added Bayli.
Based out of Brooklyn, Bayli expresses her appreciation for “the cultural diversity of New York City that makes [the band], and helps [the band] stand out.”
Currently working on new material for a future EP and album, the band does not shy away from mixing different genres other than rock together to create a fresh, eclectic sound.
Citing Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and other legends as main sources of inspiration, Bayli explains how each individual member of The Skins currently has different musical preferences, ranging anywhere and everywhere from Beyonce and Jay Z, to The Strokes and The Arctic Monkeys.
“We try to enmesh a lot of the styles of music that we listen to together,” she said.
Since their first self-released and self-titled EP in 2012, The Skins have been working with Wreckroom Records owner, actor, musician and entrepreneur, Adrian Grenier.
“When he launched [Wreckroom Records], he asked us to come and do a song and a video and it worked out in favour of both parties,” Bayli explained.
“We’re surrounded by creative people, it’s insane.”
Self-described as part of a “super lively” band, the young, energetic frontwoman notes that working with her siblings has made the writing and production processes a lot more enjoyable.
“Since we’re so close, we can just be honest with each other without getting defensive,” she said. “It made it easy for all of us to be just like one big family unit.”
Despite the relatively young age of its members, The Skins “don’t think that age really factors in” when it comes to writing or performing.
“Everything that we’ve put out so far is all our own,” says Bayli of their EP. “Sometimes the younger you are, the more creative, or the more enthusiastic, the more imagination, I don’t know. We’re just really about energy, and expressing yourself and vibrancy and amazingness.”
With a slew of upcoming North American tour dates, including a stop last Sunday in Montreal, Bayli admitted that she’s feeling a little nervous.
“This is the most amount of dates we’ve ever done,” she said. “We’re just super grateful that we’ve been able to accomplish all this stuff.”