Sydney two-piece Skinpin have taken their voracious appetite for touring to Europe, where opportunities are more plentiful for a band willing to sacrifice basic living necessities for the sake of punk rock.
The committed duo – Andrew Rickards (guitar/vocals) and Anna Goldstein (drums) – played their first o/s show on July 1 in Helsingør, Denmark and since then have shaken down bier barns, cemetery garages and wedding reception halls across the continent.
UB received the following wire Rickards from inside a Serbian nuclear fallout shelter where the band played last week (true story – Ed.)…
We’d decided around October last year to go to Europe and try our luck, but we didn’t announce it until May. At first it was just to do a tour and then come back, but as time went on we thought we could probably do this full-on and give it a good go. So it soon became an undecided amount of time when we’ll return, which is the way it still stands now.
The previous year in Australia we’d played 101 shows in essentially nine months and thought: ‘Where else can we play? Hey, if we went to Europe the amount of distance that we cover in Australia we’ll be in another country, or many.’ So with the added fact that we both have European passports, it seemed a no brainer.
We’ve always done everything ourselves. Not for some absolute belief in some mandate, but more so if we waited around for the world to catch up to what we’re doing, nothing would get done. This way we’ve self-released two albums and toured Australia continually on a schedule made by us.
We try to play as much as we can. If we can physically get to the show, lock it in. We no longer have a bass player because we couldn’t wait; there are shows to be played! We’ve also never paid for accommodation – money we don’t have.
“Faded” video, for West Papua:
We quickly discovered that trying to book shows in Europe from Australia is very difficult and most people didn’t care. So in true Skinpin style we confirmed two shows and thought: ‘Stuff it. Let’s go and just do what we did in Australia. It’ll take a while to find the right people but we’ll get there.’
I arrived a few days before the first show and by the end of the week I’d booked seven more shows. From those shows we met more people and bands and some of those people were the right people and now it’s starting to roll on like we did in Australia. So soon hopefully we’ll finally get to play every day.
Since we’ve been over here we’ve played a bunch of festivals and shows through countless countries. It took a few years of touring for Australian audiences to go crazy at our shows but in Europe it’s been from the first show. And if there’s Swedes involved, multiply that crazy by four! It’s like there’s some leftover Viking blood in them and they go nuts!
Our first show was in Helsingør, which is about 40 minutes above Copenhagen but it’s also across the water to Sweden’s Helsingborg. So the Swedish punks catch the ferry over, buy all the cheap beer and then go mental. They jumped about to the first band but when we came on they watched about half of the first song then they went into berzerker mode. We thought it must have been a one-off but every time we’ve played to Swedes it’s the same thing.
We played a punk wedding in Stockholm and from what I could see from the stage it was just a mess of bodies, hands, feet and limbs. If someone was seriously hurt I wouldn’t have been surprised.
I’ll never forget to my utter dismay and joy of watching the bride in full wedding dress materialise on stage only to dive off and crowd surf and be finally enveloped by the crowd.
So in Helsingør these Swedes had been given a heads-up from a fan from Newcastle whose wife is Swedish and seems to be the only daughter of the Swedish punk scene. He’d told them they needed to see us and they told him they were already going.
They started by dancing then crowd surfing then stage diving and then diving onto the stage to dive off. This never stopped all set. After the third encore three guys somersaulted onto the stage at the same time. I couldn’t get my teeth away from the mic fast enough and copped it full blast. Nice busted lip and chipped tooth. Thank you and fuck you very much. I’ve since moved my mic back from the front of stage for safety.
I use to think that unless you’ve played some town midweek to nobody you don’t know what touring is. Now I think if you’ve not played a garage behind a cemetery in the Czech Republic, you know nothing!
Playing our music is tough as we realise we’re never going to be Rolling Stone cool and it takes a lot out of us every show. We don’t have anyone looking after us so we’re always on the frontline so to speak. It hurts really bad when we get screwed over and don’t have enough money for food. Being homeless and starving in Poland is not a romantic comedy.
But having said that, playing is awesome and if we didn’t believe in the music and how good it feels we wouldn’t do it. Besides, even playing a bad show is better than packing shelves.
If you live in Europe, go see Skinpin… and please give them food.