My Music DNA: Daniel Heptinstall of Skinny Lister

Skinny Lister and Beans on Toast bring the Double Trouble tour to  The Globe, Cardiff on December 6th. 

For Skinny Lister, this tour will wrap up the worldwide campaign of their third and critically acclaimed album ‘The Devil, The Heart & The Fight’ which is re-issued as deluxe double CD later this month.  New songs ‘Thing Like That’ and forthcoming festive single ‘Christmas Calls‘ lead the second CD of the new package before treating the listener to the frenetic energy of their live performances from the band’s biggest sold out London show to date at the Scala, and from the Roundhouse during Frank Turner’s Lost Evenings Festival both in May 2017. 

Andy Howells recently put questions to Daniel Heptinstall of the band to discover his music DNA

The first song that made an impact on you? 

I can’t remember the exact song – but The Beatles were the first artist to make an impact on me. I remember listening to a radio programme, when I was 9 years old, which was dedicated to The Beatles. I remember hearing ‘Love Me Do’ and loving the sound. I also remember thinking it way better that was on the charts at that time. That song gave me a way into playing the guitar as it was only 3 easy chords, and the harmonies were straight forward enough that me and my mate could have a stab at copying Lennon and McCartney. It was tracks like these that opened up the doors to playing music for me.

The first single /download you bought ? 

My first single purchase was a track called ‘Star Trekkin’ by The Firm. I got the 12 inch version that had a crazy extended remix on the b-side. I still have it somewhere. I think I enjoyed all the voices in there, pretty bad impressions of Spock, Captain Kirk etc..

The first album you owned ?

From as early as I can remember, around age 4 or 5, I had a copy of ‘The Jungle Book Soundtrack’ on vinyl. The songwriting on these tracks is amazing. The melodies and lyrics are immaculately crafted and also very funny. I played this album to death. When I hear these tracks now they bring back nostalgic memories of that particular time and place.

Your constant go to track? 

This varies as it depends on what I’m listening to at the time. My most recent go to track was probably ‘Red Eyes’ by War On Drugs. I can’t really even make out the lyrics on this track – but there’s something in the feeling of the track that is massively appealing to me. When that guitar line chorus kicks in its goose bump time!

Your constant go to album? 

Again – this varies. During our recent US tour, we travelled on a tour bus, which meant I had time to go and explore the towns and cities during the days. My go to album to soundtrack my exploring was ‘New Gods’ by Withered Hand, who I discovered by accident on Spotify. I think this album is amazing and very under rated. I feel it should be much more well-known than it is.

Your latest music discovery ?

John Grant has been someone that only came onto my radar in the last year or two. Great honest song writing and a hell of a voice! He’s someone who I’d like to catch live if our schedule permits. I found him via a Glastonbury playlist through his track GMF, but ‘Glacier’ is a particular favourite of mine.  

Your own track that best defines you as an artist?

Off the top of my head I’d say ‘This Is War’ from our album ‘Down On Deptford Broadway’. Musically it has a very folky verse but opens up into a bigger and more Clash style of chorus, so represents two of the stronger influences of the band. It’s sentiment of fighting in the face of adversity is also something that chimes true with us, and seems to do the same with a live audience – it’s a big sing-a-long moment at our live shows.

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