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Hands Up | Skata Tones

Skata Tones are a South West ska band that I’ve had the pleasure of photographing a number of times over the last few years at many different festivals such as Elevation and Lapstock! Every time I’ve seen them I’m always impressed by their ability to get a crowd moving, both with the infectious energy of them as a band, and the irresistible urge to move their music gives you. The band are described as an “unstoppable explosion of ska madness” which is a completely accurate description of what you’d witness at one of the festivals they’re playing!

They started their stream of new music with Hands Up, described in their press release as a “high speed and relentless ska journey.” Whenever I have seen them perform, I have been struck by the energetic stage presence of the band’s frontman, Robbie which makes it so easy for the crowd to connect with the band. The proceeds from the single were all donated to Tonic Music for Mental Health which is a South coast based charity. They raise awareness for mental health and confront the stigma surrounding it through music and other forms of art.

Hands up is described by the band’s press release as a “high speed and relentless ska journey” which is completely accurate, it starts off with such intensity it almost takes you by surprise! The six-piece horn section really brings the energy right from the beginning and stakes the tune straight into the genre of ska and seeing this was only the first of a series of new releases, I think we were all excited to see what would come next! While strictly fitting into their genre, the tone of the song fits well with the identity of the band and is consistent with previous releases. This solidifies their images in a really good way and makes them instantly reliable.

The rhythm section really underlines the base of the track and splits the song up while still keeping the energy going. It helps to prevent the track from becoming too much in a small space of time, without straying from the genre or feel. While the singe is heavily within the ska genre, there are strains of hip-hop and rock that I picked up when listening to it which further add to its energy! The lyrics are clear and easy to pick up, making it easy to sing along to which makes me think it'll be a real success at festivals next year!

It follows on nicely from their last album which was released in 2018 and titled A Day At The Fair which celebrates the festival scene. While 2020 hasn’t been the best of years for the music industry, Skata Tones haven’t let it stop them! They’ve released three brand new singles so far and are planning to release some revamped versions of three classics already loved by fans!

While it may not be possible to catch a performance this summer, it’s a perfect opportunity for new fans to get to know the band’s tracks in preparation for the festival scene’s hopeful return next summer. Whenever the industry is back up and running again, I would one hundred percent recommend going to see Skata Tones live. Ska fan or not, the performance will have you moving and enjoying yourself! Keep an eye out for those new releases and make sure to check them out on Spotify and social media!

Check out the new single here!


Words and photos by Chloe Pollard.

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