They’re on the verge of their first album release Manhattan and a tour that will take in several cities across the UK. Influenced by a mix of musical styles and tastes, this band is diverse to say the least.
Being touted as The Strokes incarnate you could say there’s some pressure on them to perform and deliver but from what we’ve seen and heard already, they’re taking it in their stride. I’m going to stick my neck out here but I reckon Skaters are about to take over the world and before they do, we had the chance to speak to them, here’s what they had to say.
Tell us a little bit about Skaters and who you are
We’re a mishmash band from NYC with Michael on Vocals, Josh on Guitar, Dan on Bass and Noah on the Drums
I (Michael) met Josh at a party in the Hollywood Hills a couple years ago. He was rad! A punk kid with crazy good energy, tons of playing experience. Gave me ideas. So I sent some demos over to Josh in England and on Halloween he rang me up to tell me he’d be in NYC the next day. He just kind of showed up, was like “let’s start a band, lets book shows!”. Noah and I had played together since we were kids. Growing up in Boston, Dan was in my favourite band and I always wanted to play with him and he was into it.
Do you all share an interest in the same types of music? What are your influences?
For the most part, we like all kinds of music, the influences on this band are mostly a combination of early New York punk and recent New York punk but we like a lot of Clash, Beastie Boys and Deco stuff as well.
How would you describe your sound to those who haven’t yet heard you and how do you capture that?
Dynamic. We play mostly upbeat styles, but will reference old hip hop and reggae every now and then. This record has some walkmen’y vibes too.
Those [early demos] were made at home and then mixed by Nico Vernes. It’s a great process because demos have so much honesty and vulnerability in them, and then an engineer can make them sound somewhat professional. The record was tracked at a studio though, no demo vibes.
Having heard tracks like ‘Armed’ and ‘I Wanna Dance’, how do they compare to others on the new album?
It’s like those but more polished. We spent a lot more time trying to make everything sound the best we could. We’d spend a whole day on guitar if we felt like it wasn’t right. The songwriting process was the same, mostly the same instruments too!
Talk us through how you go about writing these songs
I (Michael) write the songs, and then throw them to the guys. We sort through ’em, manipulate them, find ways to reference other bands, shift tempos, add “tricks”.
What is the one stand out track everyone should hear?
‘Band Breaker’, we don’t want people to be able to expect a certain sound with us. That one should throw people off a bit. We always want to change and have fun. We definitely like the game of music as much as the art form.
Which gig has been your favourite so far and what can fans expect from you in a live setting?
All the shows in Hull are wild. You know its “city of culture” 2017?
Well, first off we expect some things from them.
1. No bad vibes.
2. No bad breath, that’s just not cool.
3. Don’t show up without gifts.
If they follow those rules, they can expect a fun, lively, sweaty show that sounds very good.
Are there any weird and wonderful stories from the trip?
Noah was once passed out in the back of the van. He got out with us at a truck stop but no one saw him get out of the bunk, so we left the truck stop without him. When we got to the gig, we yelled for him to help us load in but since he usually ignores us during load in we just figured we’d let him sleep. Just before soundcheck he phoned the venue saying he was in Germany…. We were in Amsterdam. So we had Josh’s sister play drums for us. She’s never played before so it was pretty terrible, but no one was there so we just got wasted and laughed our way through it.
Is there anywhere on the upcoming tour that you haven’t played but are looking forward to in particular?
We’ve played all them places, really excited to go back to Southampton.
Where can people keep in touch and follow your movements, do you believe in a strong online presence?
Our New Year’s resolution was to be better about that, try Instagram (but it’s) not as important as strong music and good vibes. Spotify’s cool. Fans have made playlists for us in the past.