Female-fronted band Skating Polly to play Philadelphia on May 20.
Skating Polly doesn't take many names. But they do kick lots of butt.
The ugly-pop band – led by stepsisters – will put their deadly karate on display at Kung Fu Necktie in Philadelphia on Saturday.
The family band was founded in Oklahoma in 2009 by stepsisters and multi-instrumentalists Peyton Bighorse and Kelli Mayo. Earlier this year, the band grew into a trio, as the girls officially enlisted their brother, Kurtis Mayo.
Skating Polly's latest project is the EP “New Trick,” which dropped in spring.
What influence has Oklahoma had on your music?
KELLI MAYO: Growing up there made it very natural to write loud messy punk music. The scene there wasn't really separated by genre. There wasn't one sound that everyone was sounding like. We would play shows with rappers, folk artists, shoe-gaze bands, hardcore bands, psychedelic bands, all sorts and it didn't seem out of place.
So because of that we were able to just be who we wanted to be and didn't worry about matching a scene’s sound; and also I think we were inspired, especially performance-wise, by genres most would consider pretty separate from the bands we get lumped in with.
I also think growing up in a red state made liberal causes feel more important. We had one of the worst governors in the country and she was always finding ways to screw people over so that the fossil fuel industry could have more tax breaks. Maybe that added to a feeling that we should rebel in some way.
Where does the name Skating Polly come from?
PEYTON BIGHORSE: We were trying to come up with a name that could represent both of us, so originally it was “sKatingPolly,” with the weird capitalization and it ran all together. The K stood for Kelli and the P for Peyton.
How would you describe “New Trick?”
PEYTON BIGHORSE: It’s different than anything we’ve released before. We wrote and recorded the songs with Nina Gordon and Louise Post of Veruca Salt, so their input played a big part in it. So did the producer Brad Wood. It’s poppier and more polished, but I think it still has the same rawness that’s always in our music.
What are some of the sacrifices you've had to make to get to where you're at?
PEYTON BIGHORSE: We don’t have as much of a social life as a lot of people, I think; not to say we don’t have one at all, but we spend most of our time together down in our bedroom or practice space. But the thing is it doesn’t really feel like a huge sacrifice because we've always been each other’s best friends and a lot of the other closest, most supportive, reliable, sincere friends are friends we've made through the band.
KELLI MAYO: We’ve lost lots of sleep, missed out on some events - although we've also attended lots of our favorite concerts because of SP - and family/friend gatherings. Really, the band is at the center of my heart; and because of that, all the sacrifices seem insignificant.
What does your brother bring to the band?
PEYTON BIGHORSE: With three people we sound heavier live. He’s a really powerful drummer. And he’s always brought a lot to the band, even before he joined. We would turn to him when we were stuck on a part of a song or to hear his opinion on lyrics. It’s great having him as an official member. We’re working on new songs that would sound incomplete if we still just had two people.
What's something a lot of your fans don't know about you?
KELLI MAYO: We're pretty big graphic novel/comic nerds. Matter of fact, we're nerdy about lots of TV too like “Game Of Thrones,” “Westworld,” “South Park,” “Rick and Morty,” and “Doctor Who.”
PEYTON BIGHORSE: I really can’t stand the song "Spoonman" by Soundgarden. I don’t hate the band in general or anything, but that song drives me nuts. Kelli is always trying to find ways to trick me into listening to it, or some weird remix of it.
What's a question you wish more people would ask you?
KELLI MAYO: Maybe people could ask about our album artwork more. We always put so much thought into it and are very proud of it. Also, I love getting to praise the artists and photographers we've collaborated with. Speaking of that, the photos on "New Trick" were taken by the punk photographer and co-founder of Slash magazine Melanie Nissen. And Peyton created the etching on the back of the album.