Updated: Dec 6, 2020

Dirty riffs, stomping swamp percussion and gutsy vocals are typically the stuff of biker rock legend that you'd find somewhere down an American highway. Surrey based J Lee & The Hoodoo Skulls blend Americana with bluesy retro vibes to create their unique brand of urban blues rock. With a sound this big, you'll have to pinch yourself to remember that they come from the UK.

The band formed in early 2016 when lead singer J Lee Barratt had a yearning to make a blues album. Contacting guitar player Harun Kotch, the two knocked around a few ideas that steered the sound away from traditional blues and developed a rock vibe. Wayne Riches (drums) and Luke Sohl Williams (bass) came aboard and J Lee & The Hoodoo Skulls was born. Having completed solo projects before, the band found focus with the democratic approach of writing, which enabled then to start writing and recording pretty quickly in Harun's home studio. J explains “we all put our pennies worth into the songs, being individual writers it works. Sometimes it's easier when there are three heads if two say yes and the other one says no, you have to go with the majority.”

It certainly helped the writing process that all the band members were working under the same “umbrella of influences” allowing the band to have a natural synergy when creating their material. “We are all on the same page, same influences and similar ideas, we are all facing the same direction rather than tug of war on various ideas all the time.”

J draws on his influences of traditional rock n roll and classic staples like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles but also incorporates bands such as Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Gene Vincent and The Blue Cats, which is where the “old school naming” style of J Lee & The Hoodoo Skulls comes from. Instantly memorable and recognisable the band's name is as striking as their image. J defines their style as “biker western,” which certainly fits their music too. “We sound how we should look. People like a look to focus on.” Their music has also helped the KLM Motorcycle brand to advertise some of their apparel too, with the company using tracks from the Hoodoo Skulls forthcoming EP.

Of course, there's no denying that his formative years and musical education also played a part in the love of