MIDWAY through The Guide’s interview with Skinny Lister’s Lorna Thomas, she tells a story that backs up her band’s rowdy reputation. The Hastings-based singer is explaining the background of Trouble On Oxford Street, a fan favourite from the folk band’s second album.

“It was about how Dan (Heptinstall, lead vocals and guitar), being the liability that he is when he’s drunk, decided to torment some punks on Oxford Street and ended up getting absolutely kicked in. It’s nice to have an insight into who the band are." 

Of course, it would be misleading to use this one example as a cast study of “who the band are”. While they have played their fair share of rough and ready punk-orientated gigs, Thomas is a generous and polite interviewee and Skinny Lister are known for their connection with their audiences. In the same way that the music of The Pogues can be both aggressive and warm, Thomas and co. achieve a level of heartiness with their music that many bands strive for but ultimately fall short of.

The band have been outspoken about their anti-Brexit stance, and what it might mean for a group who regularly tour Europe, but Thomas says “everyone is welcome” at Skinny Lister’s concerts. “We leave politics at the door. We’ve got our views, other people have theirs, but we can all be friends. However people voted, we don’t want to alienate anybody.”

Thomas adds: “It’s still unknown what will happen (with Brexit), and whether we’ll need visas. We’re still worried, but we haven’t had to be too fearful about it yet.” If the EU referendum was enough to cause the band dismay and concern, Thomas said being in New York at the time of Donald Trump’s election victory was “a very dark feeling”.

Skinny Lister played on the evening after election night, and, perhaps surprisingly, Thomas describes it as “one of the best gigs” they’d played in a while. “There weren’t a lot of ‘Make America Great Again’ caps on display wherever we were, but the New York gig had a sense of ‘let’s get together, drown our sorrows and forget what’s happening outside’”.

The energy of an average Skinny Lister gig is not forced, Thomas insists, nor is it a problem that fans now expect – even demand – a certain kind of rollicking performance from the group. “There’s no problem with that. We would never play a gig in which nobody moved. We just do what we do.” Thomas jokes (I think) that she joined Skinny Lister to get into festivals for free, although she says that the band have a history of breaking into such events.

This is when they were busking regularly to sculpt their craft. Having grown up with a background of both folk and traditional music, Thomas naturally fit into a group who have always attempted to merge the two genres. “Our music has gone through a process where there is a bit less of a focus on folk, though,” she adds. “We’ve let ourselves experiment a bit more, it’s become a bit more natural.”

The infamous Vans Warped tour in the US was an important learning curve in Skinny Lister’s progression. “We were just a strange, small British band with no drums and tattoos,” says Thomas. “We had to prove ourselves and step up to the game if we were going to support bands like The Dropkick Murphys” (as they did earlier this year).

The band have little left to prove now, having amassed a loyal fanbase in their eight years. At root level, though, Skinny Lister are “just a group of friends travelling around the world having fun” – tour hedonism included. “You have to pace yourself, which I’m learning, although not very well,” laughs Thomas. “At our gigs, everyone is there to have a good time.”

Skinny Lister, The Haunt, Pool Valley, Brighton, May 10, 7pm