SKATERS may have only been signed in early 2013, but they have already earned critical acclaim around the globe. With just an EP released so far, this pop-punk band is gearing up for the release of their debut album, Manhattan. Expectations are high, with the album gaining rave reviews already in the lead up to its release.
With a busy time ahead, lead singer Micheal Cummings took some time to chat to us about the upcoming album, SKATERS journey to discovery and New York City.
Melissa Redman: How are you and where does this interview find you?
Michael Cummings: I’m good thanks, currently in New York City doing interviews all day.
MR: How did you come up with the name SKATERS?
MC: It reminded us of youth and when we were kids. You know, after school finished you would go out and skate, and there weren’t really any expectations placed on you. So the name SKATERS is all about having a good time and connecting with the idea of youth.
MR: Tell me a bit about your new album Manhattan.
MC: We wanted to achieve a universal rock record; something that people who like all different genres of music would want to listen to. The songs on Manhattan are stories about New York, from about our first year living here. It kind of details our experiences, from staying out late to walking through the city.
MR: Throughout the songs on the album are some of the sounds of New York; sirens, girls talking, phones ringing etc. Why did you decide to include these sounds?
MC: A lot of albums have the music back to back these days, and I think including these sounds break things up a bit. It also gives our music personality and a personal touch. Because the songs are stories about New York, the inclusion of these sounds makes them sound more authentic. We went around with a video camera and that’s where the audio came from.
MR: How did you come up with the name Manhattan? Is the title of your debut album a really big deal?
MC: We had heaps of ideas for a title. We don’t place a ton of importance on things, we’re procrastinators really. We just looked at the songs and decided that the common thread for all of them was Manhattan, so we went with that.
MR: What was one of the other options for the title?
MC: We were also really liked Generation of Jerks, which is a line from the song To Be Young. But people didn’t really respond as well to that, so we went with Manhattan instead.
MR: Will you be doing anything special to celebrate the release Manhattan?
MC: I think we’re going to have a party on Friday, but we haven’t really organised anything yet.
MR: Who would you say are the bands musical influences?
MC: It’s a little bit all over the place, because I think we all have different influences. However, I would probably say our influences are bands like The Clash, The Ramones, Television and The Cramps. For me personally, I’m more influenced by songwriting and folky bands and sounds.
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MR: How would you describe your music to someone who had never heard of you?
MC: I would say that we are a modern take on the 70s and 80s pop aesthetic, and the melodic punk bands of that era. It’s stuff that most people don’t consider punk. Our sound also goes back to our musical influences The Ramones and The Clash etc.
MR: Do the band write their own songs?
MC: Yeah, I write the songs and then take them to the guys, see what they think and then we record them.
MR: What is your favourite song that you’ve done so far?
MC: My favourite song would have to be Band Breaker. I have a bit of a personal attachment to it; I think it was the most fun and the most difficult song to record. I think that the fact that it took so long to get right is why it’s my favourite.
MR: What was your journey to discovery like? Was it a real struggle to get signed and make it big?
MC: I think our discovery and getting signed really was an isolated thing. We just played a few gigs and the crowds started to get a little bigger each time; people just started to pay attention to SKATERS. Through word of mouth, we got the attention of people on record labels. It wasn’t something that we were trying to do (get signed), which is perhaps why it happened relatively easy. I’ve been in other bands and know that it usually doesn’t happen that way, so we’re pretty lucky.
MR: Your music videos are quite artistic and unique. How do you come up with the ideas for them?
MC: Danilo Parra is a super talented and super creative director that we work with. We really trust him and his creative eye. He comes up with the concepts for our music videos, and we go along with them.
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MR: What’s next for SKATERS? Will you be touring now?
MC: Yeah soon we are heading off the UK to do around eight shows over there. Then we hope to come back and do a full US tour.
MR: Thanks Michael for your time.