Peyton Bighorse & Kelli Mayo of Skating Polly, 2016
|Origin||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States|
|Genres||Riot grrrl, indie pop, punk|
|Labels||Nice People, Chap Stereo|
Skating Polly is an American alternative rock band formed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States, in 2009. The band was founded by multi-instrumentalist step-siblings Kelli Mayo (born March 29, 2000) and Peyton Bighorse (born July 11, 1995), who were just 9 and 14 years old when the band formed. Later in their career Kurtis Mayo was added to the band to play the drums while Peyton could focus on guitar and Kelly on bass. The band is noted for its members alternating instruments, poetic lyrics, intense live shows, melodic arrangements and an eclectic array of songs that vary in style from riot grrrl to piano-based indie pop.
Kelli and Peyton met after Kelli's father began dating Peyton's mother. The girls' families eventually moved in together and they began playing with various musical instruments that their parents owned. The band's first setup consisted of Peyton on drums and Kelli playing a basitar, a two-stringed bass instrument most notably used by alternative rock band The Presidents of the United States of America (band). (Kelli's father made her a basitar after she complained that a traditional six-string guitar hurt her fingers.) The girls played their first show at their family Halloween party in 2009, with Peyton playing simple drum beats while Kelli played her basitar and improvised vocals. They named their band Skating Polly because they considered it "ironically juvenile." Kelli soon taught herself to play basic piano and drums while Peyton taught herself guitar. They began writing songs at a furious pace, trading off instruments and lead vocal duties. They were eventually discovered by Chris Harris, owner of the small indie label Nice People Records based in Norman, Oklahoma. Harris showed Kelli's father how to utilize home recording equipment and the girls began recording their first album, Taking Over the World, in their living room.
Influences and comparisons
Skating Polly is often compared to bands associated with the riot grrrl movement such as Bikini Kill and Babes in Toyland, but many songs bring to mind artists such as Kimya Dawson and Beat Happening. Skating Polly does not have a front person in the traditional sense, as both Mayo and Bighorse typically write and provide lead vocals for their own songs. The band is known to cover other artists and has put its spin on songs by Spacemen 3, Neutral Milk Hotel, Dead Boys, Portishead, Perfume Genius, The Left Banke, Ol' Dirty Bastard, M.I.A., AC/DC, Nina Nastasia and Syd Barrett.
Association with Exene Cervenka
Shortly before Taking Over the World was released on Nice People Records in November 2010, Kelli and Peyton met Exene Cervenka of the seminal punk band X (American band) after a show in Oklahoma City. Exene was surprised by the girls' extensive knowledge of punk rock music. Cervenka began corresponding with the girls via email and, after hearing Taking Over the World and demos of new songs, began discussing them in numerous interviews. (She stated in a Los Angeles Times interview that, if she were in charge, she would have Skating Polly play the Academy Awards.) Cervenka eventually offered to produce the band's sophomore album. In the meantime, Taking Over the World was well-received locally and the band began to perform at clubs throughout the midwest.
Cervenka came to Norman, Oklahoma in December 2011 to produce what would eventually become Skating Polly's second album, Lost Wonderfuls. The entire album was recorded in four days at Hook Echo Sound studios. Blag Dahlia, lead singer of the notorious punk band Dwarves (band), mixed a version of the album which was set to be released by a startup label in the Spring of 2012. However, the band's deal with the label fell through after the release date was repeatedly pushed back. The band went back into the studio to work on new material. Meanwhile, Kliph Scurlock, drummer of The Flaming Lips, became a fan of the band and offered to remix Lost Wonderfuls while a new record deal was being finalized.
Lost Wonderfuls was eventually released by the Los Angeles-based label SQE Music in April 2013. Scurlock mixed the final versions of all songs except the title track. The album is a mixture of punk rock, riot grrrl, folk music and twee pop influences and was well received. The band released music videos for the songs "Placer", "Carrots", "Lost Wonderfuls" and "Blue Obvious." Many well-known musicians and artists have praised the band, including Rosanne Cash, Sean Lennon, Django Django, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Ty Segall, Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips), Kate Nash, Wavves, Lori Barbero of Babes in Toyland (band) and the actor Viggo Mortensen. Kliph Scurlock has perhaps been the band's most ardent supporter, as he can be seen wearing their T-shirt at various Flaming Lips concerts such as Freak Nigh OKC Zoo AMP 2012 and Indianapolis 2013, in the documentary Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, and in a Super Bowl commercial for Hyundai and in the Gruff Rhys American Interior Documentary.
In the fall of 2013, the band traveled to Olympia, WA to record their third album, Fuzz Steilacoom with K Records founder Calvin Johnson. The album was released in the Spring of 2014. Allmusic noted that the band had "subdued some of their twee-pop tendencies in favor of a raw, raucous, and more immediate sound" and praised the album as "brimming with creative wit, youthful abandon, emotional fervor, and classic punk spirit." Several songs received airplay on college radio throughout the U.S. Rodney Bingenheimer of KROQ began playing songs from the album on his influential Rodney on the ROQ program. The band toured throughout 2014 to support the record.
The Big Fit
The band spent the fall of 2015 recording The Big Fit in Lawrence, KS with Kliph Scurlock. The album was released in the Spring of 2016 and received acclaim, particularly from the UK press. Kerrang described the album as "overflowing with power, passion and songwriting excellence" and Paste deemed the album "one of the strongest punk records in recent memory." Shirley Manson of Garbage also praised the album in the press.
The band collaborated with Louise Post and Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt for the three song EP New Trick, released in 2017.
Since the release of Lost Wonderfuls, the band has garnered a considerable amount of airplay on indie and college radio stations across the United States and in certain places in Europe, particularly France. The band has toured extensively across the U.S., providing support to Deerhoof, The Flaming Lips, Band of Horses, Mike Watt, Kate Nash, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Emily Wells, Generationals (band), Holly Golightly (singer) and Wavves. The band played 7 shows at SXSW in 2013 and recorded a Daytrotter session.
Their third album, Fuzz Steilacoom, was recorded by Calvin Johnson (Beat Happening, K Records) at Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, Washington in October 2013. It was released on February 25, 2014, on Skating Polly's own label Chap Stereo. The album was co-produced by Allan Vest, of Oklahoma indie-rock band Starlight Mints, and Chris Harris. Dub Narcotic Studio engineer Bob Schwenkler co-produced one song on the record, "Dead Friends." The album was named after Steilacoom Road in Olympia, WA, where the duo stayed while recording the album; the word "fuzz" was added because Skating Polly felt like the most common element among all the songs was that they sounded loud, distorted, and fuzzy.
On January 27 of 2017, the band announced on their Instagram the addition of Kurtis Mayo, the girls' brother, on drums to expand the band's full potential.
In 2018, Skating Polly released their 5th studio album "The Make It All Show".
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- Taking Over The World (Nice People, 2011)
- Lost Wonderfuls (SQE Music, 2013)
- Fuzz Steilacoom (Chap Stereo, 2014)
- The Big Fit (Chap Stereo, 2016)
- The Make It All Show (El Camino, 2018)
- "Fuzz Steilacoom" 7” (Chap Stereo, 2014)
- "Benny Once Told Me" (Chap Stereo, 2015)
- "Nothing More Than a Body" (Chap Stereo, 2015)
- "New Trick" (El Camino, 2017) [released as 'Skating Polly featuring Louise Post and Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt']
- "Skating Polly on Twitter: "Lincoln! Come share some tasty treats with us at @vegaLNK for Kelli's 16th birthday! Doors at 8!"". Twitter. 2016-03-29. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- "Skating Polly on Twitter: "HAPPY 20th BIRTHDAY PEYTON!!! đ&#x;˜˜â?¤ď¸?đ&#x;˜˜ "". Twitter. 2015-07-11. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- "Skating Polly - Outlook - Edmond and North OKC Oklahoma Magazine". Outlookoklahoma.com. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- Dexter Blumenthal. "Sage Youth: an interview with Skating Polly - La Blogothèque". En.blogotheque.net. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-13. Retrieved 2013-10-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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- "How Exene Cervenka Came to Rule Over the Boy's Club". KCET. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- "If I Ran the Oscars: Exene Cervenka puts the red carpet on a budget | Awards Tracker | Los Angeles Times". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. 2011-02-24. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-16. Retrieved 2013-10-16.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "The Indie Leak: Skating Polly: TheIndieLeak Exclusive". Theindieleak.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- Gene Triplett (2013-04-05). "Edmond stepsisters, Skating Polly, poised to take over the pop-punk world". News OK. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- "Skating Polly Releases Fuzz Steilacoom Today". OklahomaRock.com. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "Amazon.com: The Big Fit: Skating Polly: MP3 Downloads". Amzn.com. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- "Skating Polly on Twitter: "BIG NEWS!!!!!!! "". Twitter. 2017-01-27. Retrieved 2017-06-07.
- "Watch Skating Polly's new video for 'Perfume For Now' | Upset". Upsetmagazine.com. Retrieved 2017-06-07.