Towards the back end of 2018, I bought 20 vinyl copies of Skint & Demoralised’s début album ‘Love, And Other Catastrophes’ from German indie label Firestation Records. I saw it as nostalgic speculation; they offered me a decent price and I was hopeful that I’d sell all 20 copies within a couple of months.
They went within a matter of hours, and when I bought a second batch of 20 from Firestation, this represented the last remaining copies on earth. This has prompted me to make all three Skint & Demoralised albums available via Nymphs & Thugs on digital download, at £5. They’re also available on Spotify, Apple Music etc. but obviously we all know it’s better to support the indies!
In many ways, the S&D years feel like several lifetimes ago for me. There are certain tracks which I can’t bring myself to listen to, and certain tracks that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Either way, I’m immensely proud of what we achieved, and particularly for those of you who aren’t familiar with my musical background, here’s a very brief summary of each album.
This was originally supposed to be released via Universal in summer 2009, but for several reasons, it never was – and the unreleased album was left to gather dust before Heist Or Hit Records finally brought it to life in summer 2011.
I wrote these lyrics when I was 18-years-old, initially as a side project after David Gledhill layered some rough poetry recordings from MySpace over some instrumentals that he’d been working on. Within 9 months, we were one of the hottest unsigned acts in the UK and had signed a massive record deal with Universal.
Album sessions began at The Daptone Studios in Brooklyn, NY with iconic soul session band The Dap-Kings, before being completed at RAK Studios in London.
Before we were eventually dropped by Universal (it’s a long story), we’d ditched the S&D moniker and reverted to our original electronic-based sound, with the plan for me to release as a solo artist. So when we started writing what was to come ‘This Sporting Life’, it was a retro-infused guitar-based rebellion against what proved to be a very brief songwriting sojourn.
This album was released alongside the début, and saw us tour the UK extensively – including shows with Art Brut, The Crookes and Dr John Cooper Clarke – before playing a couple of headline shows in Dresden and Berlin with acts including The Lovely Eggs and H. Hawkline.
I vividly remember being on holiday in Portugal when David sent me an instrumental entitled “Nymphs & Thugs”. I’ve no idea why he called it that, but the instrumental immediately triggered the idea for a lyric, and in virtually no time at all we had ‘Amores Perros’. This is also where the name of my spoken word record label came from.
Some of my favourite ever S&D tracks are on this album, and I’m gutted that it didn’t receive more attention when we received it. Lyrically, it’s a concept album which follows a circular narrative which, inspired by Spanish film director Julio Medem (how bloody pretentious can you get?!)
The ‘When Saturday Comes’ track was used on Gillette Soccer Saturday and is still a popular choice on the opening day of the football season (according to social media). The instrumental for ‘Breakfast at Sylvia’s’ is one of my favourite pieces of music that David has written, and some of the lyrics – in particular ‘Broadway Circle’ – were developed into Maria’s strand in ‘Two Little Ducks’.