Skegss‘ Ben Reed picked up a guitar at the age of 12. A neighbour taught him Green Day’s Time Of Your Life. “It’s a real good strum pattern to learn,” admits Reed, who preferred making up his own songs and started learning to sing whilst playing.
Starting with chilled tracks (think Stuck In The Middle) in his bedroom, at the age of 16 he moved to playing in his first band, The Single Fins, with his drummer mate Jonny Lani. Here he discovered his punk side.
“Jonny showed me heaps of punk sorts of music. I said ‘Shit, what have I been doing listening to this chilled sorta stuff?’” laughs Reed.
“When I finished school I moved to Byron and that’s when we [The Single Fins] stopped playing. I ended up living in Toby [Cregan]’s house and me and Jonny were jamming and Toby sorta just joined the band.” Starting with a house party (as any good band starts), Skegss were born, and what better location to do it than the laid-back township of Byron Bay?
Skegss have just released their third EP, Holiday Food. Do they prefer EPs? “We’re always writing songs, but when you have a bunch that you really wanna play… you just record that.” Having said that – “’cause no one really gets CDs anymore” – I suggest that maybe they don’t need to release a full-length album at all, but Reed discloses: “We’re probably going to do that next.”
When discussing the creation of an LP, Reed takes on a serious tone. “You wanna hope you’ve got 12 good songs that you’d be happy to keep playing for a while.”
“What about the standard throwaway songs?” I ask.
“I’d be way more stoked if we could have no fillers, as if it were a bit of a playlist.”
The three EPs from Skegss have seen the band progressively refining their catchy sun-bleached sound, and they are so proud of Holiday Food that they have decided to release it on vinyl. “I actually bought it so I can get it as soon as it comes out!” he laughs, “I’m an idiot!”
Having just rounded out a huge national tour with Ratbag Records’ founders Dune Rats, they’re pumped to be the first band on the roster. “They’re pretty positive people to be around all the time. They don’t really get bummed out. You see that and you’re like, that’s why I wanna be doing it.”
Teaming up with YouTube comedian Aaron “Gocsy” Gocs for their latest video clip Got On My Skateboard shows the pulling power of this burgeoning three-piece. “Our manager just hit his manager up and he was keen! Our buddies in Melbs filmed it,” says Reed of the collaboration. The clip also features a young Benny on the slopes, showing his triple-threat of skills on snow, surf and street.
On the cusp of their first-ever European tour, Reed says, “I think we’ve actually been selling a few tickets or something, which is pretty trippy.” With a string of gigs in the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France, followed by a headline tour of Australia, I ask Reed where he is most excited to play. He surprises me: “I’m pretty excited to go to Europe. I didn’t think we’d go there this early, but I’m keen to go to Tassie. We’ve only played a festival in Hobart. I just love playing different places every time.”
“It’s so sick whenever you play, especially rural towns, you go back and young kids that you meet tell us they’ve started a band since you were last here. They may as well do it, ‘cause it’s hell fun and you get free beers!” Inspired words indeed!
29 April, The Blurst Of Times, The Brightside / The Foundry Brisbane / Black Bear Lodge