Interview: Peyton Bighorse From Indie Pop/Punk Band, ‘Skating Polly’

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CHICAGO – A fiery phoenix rising from grunge and punk rock ashes, Skating Polly brings youthful hope to anyone looking for in-your-face, high energy, furious live performances. The talented trio alternate instruments and create a new form of music they call “Ugly Pop.” They performed at Schuba’s in Chicago on May 2nd, 2019.

Jeff Doles of recently attended that show. He caught up with Peyton Bighorse, the bass guitarist, sometimes drummer, sometimes singer of Skating Polly. In addition to talking about the origins of the band, Peyton discusses a wide array of topics, including the songwriting process, the local scene in their native Oklahoma (which includes a famous local venue) and how the band continues to evolve and grow.

Peyton Bighorse of Skating Polly
Photo credit: Jeff Doles for How did the music scene in Oklahoma, and the local venue The Conservatory [now 89th Street] influence the band’s music and style?

Peyton Bighorse: Kelli and I used to go to The Conservatory all the time, we’d pick a show from their website and just go. We just loved going out to live shows even if we didn’t know who was playing. It definitely helped us to learn the importance of live music and fostered our love for playing shows. Speaking of Kelli [Mayo], she is both your bandmate and sister. Does being family affect your relationship as bandmates?

Peyton: I have never been in a band without my family so it’s hard to say, but I can only imagine it helps us! We know and trust each other better than anyone else and I think that gives the music a different kind of intimacy.

Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse Rock Skating Polly
Photo credit: Jeff Doles for How did your family’s appreciation for the arts and music help to create the foundation that would eventually form Skating Polly?

Peyton: If our parents weren’t so passionate about music and art it’s very unlikely we would be in a band. We were taught to cherish creativity – our own and other sources – from a very young age. It’s how we became who we are. Skating Polly continues to explore new music genres and are not easy to label in a specific category. What drives this passion and creative risk taking? What is your songwriting process, and how do you think your sound has evolved since the band originated?

Peyton: As far as process, it depends on the song but usually one of us will write a piece or two of a song and then we bang it all out together. It all comes from a love of all different kinds of music. We pull from tons of influences  and it all falls into place naturally. Our music has evolved just as we have. When we were younger our music was younger, and as we’ve grown, so has the music. It’s obvious you’re all too young to have witnessed grunge/alternative rock music in the 1990’s. What bands do you wish you could have seen at their peak? How did those bands influence your band’s sound?

Peyton: This is not really the right genre and time period, but I would have loved to see Elliott Smith. I’ve been listening to him since right around the time we started Skating Polly, maybe even a tiny bit longer. But I learned so much just from listening to his records. I learned how important honesty is in art, how to not be afraid of vulnerability. I would have loved to see how he performed.

Kelli Mayo of Skating Polly Gets a Boost From the Audience
Photo credit: Jeff Doles for What female fronted bands have inspired you, and what’s next on the tour and music for Skating Polly?

Peyton: We’ve been inspired by, and collaborated with, so many female bands … X, Charly Bliss, Veruca Salt, and Kate Nash, just like to name a few. We’ve learned so much about being women from all of them. They’ve inspired us in every aspect of our life.

We just wrapped up a month-long tour with our new BFFs in the band Monsterwatch, and now we are about to hit the road with X again for some East Coast dates. We have a lot coming up that we are stoked about, so keep following us!

Follow Skating Polly:
Website: Click here 
Facebook: Click here 
Twitter: Click here 
Instagram: Click here
YouTube Channel: Click here

Skating Polly – with primary instruments – is Peyton Bighorse (Singer/Bass), Kelli Mayo (Singer/Guitar) and Kurtis Mayo (Drums). For upcoming tour dates, click here.

Interview by: Jeff Doles
Published by: Patrick McDonald, Editor,

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