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Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Friday, 19 December 2008
Introducing...Skint & Demoralised

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

Labelling himself 'unorthodox and uncouth' Skint & Demoralised cut his teeth reciting spoken word poetry at mates' birthday parties. No wonder he's touted as Mike Skinner's successor.


Watch Skint & Demoralised's video for The Thrill Of 30 Seconds

First, let's start by saying few new artists have more bottle than Skint & Demoralised. Aged 18, and fresh out of school, Matt Abbott would perform spoken word poetry at his friend's birthday parties and compare local band bills in Wakefield, Yorkshire.

After dodging the pork scratchings and insults he soon graduated from there.

"I remember being heckled the first time I did it," says Abbott starring out of a window - who is, incidentally, now signed to Mercury records and neither skint nor demoralised.

"I used to be mates with a lot of local bands so they used to let me get onstage as they were just about to do their set.

"The stuff that I were doing was quite unorthodox and uncouth and tailored for the pub atmosphere," he recalls. "I was really the only person doing it."

Inspired by John Cooper Clarke and the success of locals like The Cribs - his break wasn't long in coming.

"I used to be friends with Reverend And The Makers and he [Jon McClure] used to do ad-lib between songs - I went to Blackpool for a few days because they were doing a gig," he says.

"I were just sat around during day and I scribbled down ideas about it being a bit of a dump - that night he got me to do it at their gig."

Shortly afterwards the Wakefield wordsmith was invited on tour with Reverend & The Makers. But it isn't a relationship that's so cosy now.

"Controversial, potentially very controversial," stalls Matt on the subject. "In terms of the socialism and the politics I won't talk about that - all I'll say is fair play to him for having the belief to say it."
Skint & Demoralised, the facts
WHAT: Grimey soul and gritty tales from Wakefield
FOR FANS OF: The Streets, Arctic Monkeys, The Stone Roses, The Courteeners
DOWNLOAD: The Thrill Of 30 Seconds
LIVE: Full UK tour in February 2009

In spring 2007 he was contacted via MySpace by Sheffield producer and writer Minidog who asked to demo tracks together. It's the partnership that has now birthed Skint & Demoralised's musical output.

"No one ever sees him, or hears him, knows what his name is or knows how old he is," whispers Matt cryptically of the mysterious Minidog. "Like the Stig off Top Gear."

With their union now a year and a half old, Matt provides the lyrics and Minidog the music.

Matt explains: "We've kind of pulled a lot of northern soul, a little bit of Motown and a lot of the Smiths - we've brought it up to date with a bit of distortion.

"Every lyric is a true story, every word's a fact - I just churn out for my emotions and put them onto the page.

"As Jarvis cocker says, 'You should only write about what you know'."

Like Pulp, and fellow northern success stories like Arctic Monkeys and The Courteeners, Abbott enjoys a love/hate relationship with his roots.

"[The north] helps a lot of lyricists like myself come up with the bread and butter, salt of the earth storytelling narratives," he says. "But it kind of annoys you and frustrates you because there's a lot more to the world than Coronation Street, cricket and cups of tea."

Debut single

It was the band's autumn debut single The Thrill Of 30 Seconds that first had people talking.

"It's a classic tale of meeting up with a girl - you get all excited and you run off with all these fantasies in your head," laughs Matt.
It kind of annoys you and frustrates you because there's a lot more to the world than Coronation Street, cricket and cups of tea
Matt Abbott, Skint & Demoralised

There is though a new single on the way - This Song Is Definitely Not About You - and album Love & Other Catastrophes, which was recorded in New York last summer with Amy Winehouse's band The Dap Kings.

"One of the songs on the album is called Let's Get Lost - I think that's the main aim," says Matt. "To just get caught in the romance of it all."

All of which means the star's stock is rising.

"I wouldn't mind the Mercury music prize," he laughs imagining himself in 12 months time. "I've always wanted to make an album that we'll still listen to in five or 10 years like Original Pirate Material or the first Arctic Monkeys one as opposed to just getting to number one and then just disappearing."

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