Skating Polly, the multi-instrumentalist duo of Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse, started their band in Oklahoma in 2009. Admittedly the female-driven alternative acts that inspired the band such as Veruca Salt, X, The Breeders, L7 and Babes In Toyland (the later of whom Skating Polly toured with in Europe) aren’t typical reference points for most of today’s up-and-coming bands, but maybe they should be. ‘The thing that we identify with in a lot of those bands is that they can be really aggressive and loud while also being super melodic,’ Kelli explains, adding that the new dynamic in the band helped them be more expansive when it came to their sound and arrangements. ‘Everything happened very smoothly when Kurtis became part of the band. It just felt natural having him there and writing with him.’ In typical Skating Polly fashion, the trio will still be switching instruments live, something that’s become a hallmark of their performances and one that opens up more possibilities with the additional instrumentation on their latest long-player The Make It All Show.
Speaking of live shows, Skating Polly really need to be seen in a club to fully grasp what makes them so special. That’s probably why Kate Nash took them out on her European tour. ‘It can get pretty chaotic when we’re playing. People have said it feels like it could fall apart at any moment but in a good way,’ Bighorse says with a laugh. ‘We try to make our music honest and engaging and I think that’s what drew us to people like Nina and Louise or Exene; you can probably guess a lot of the acts that we love, but we’re able to keep making music that always sounds like us,’ Mayo explains. ‘We really try to make the songs the focus instead of trying to flaunt technical musical abilities,’ adds Bighorse – and that honesty and optimism is why everyone from legendary musical figures as well as hardcore fans have gravitated toward Skating Polly’s music. The Make It All Show is the most fully realised work by Skating Polly yet and hints at an even brighter future for one of rock’s most promising acts.