SKATERS is a rare find, to say the least. One part punk, one part indie, definitely alternative and we can’t get enough. The band was formed in 2012 in New York City, composed of Michael Ian Cummings, Noah Rubin and Josh Hubbard. Their debut EP, Schemers, received a wide range of critical praise after the band released it for free on their site. After a recruit saw them perform in NYC, the band was flown out to Los Angeles and signed to Warner Bros. Records. Not only is SKATERS one of the best, most authentic and heartfelt bands of their genre, they’re keeping the rock scene alive, especially in NYC. With indie rock and alternative bands coming few and far between, it’s absolutely vital that music lovers have a special appreciation for bands like SKATERS. Their latest album Manhattan is a must have for 2014. We met up with Michael and Noah at their Brooklyn studio to discuss their come up, Netflix, modern rock and much, much more. Check it out below.
Do you remember the first song you learned how to play or started singing?
Noah Rubin (drummer): Definitely be Elvis, probably “Jailhouse Rock” – on the drums, or no it wasn’t. It was “Peter Gun” because for my fourth birthday I got my first drum set, my dad plays guitar and he taught me the beat for Peter Gun and taught me how to play.
Michael Ian Cummings (lead singer): When I was a kid I would listen to a couple Beach Boys albums on headphones, all the classic fun early stuff, surf sounds of the beach boys or some type of compilation record. My dad would put the record on for me and I would only remember telling him to flip it.
How do you feel about being compared to The Strokes and The Clash?
Noah: The Clash was definitely premeditated – the Clash aspect we like, same with Beastie Boys on a philosophical level, were bands that didn’t restrict themselves. We would read quotes from them, watch videos of them-
Michael: It was a good mentality, they were unable to pigeon hole themselves.
Tell me about your writing process?
Michael: I write songs, then I bring them to the guys. Noah is kind of my editor-in-chief.
Does it start with a theme or a feeling?
M: We don’t really edit lyrics too much. Only if there is something that bugs us. If Mike is being repetitive or using a word too much…it’s just important to grow and not repeat yourself too much.
N: I find that lyricists, repeat rhyme schemes and that can bother me, that a band wouldn’t change their rhyme scheme and use new words or phrasing. That’s the only aspect of Mike’s lyrics I would ever comment on.
What a song or songs that are always on your iPhone or top playlists?
M: Things that are always there? Usually classics, recently I have been listening to “Don’t Worry Baby” by the Beach boys a lot. It’s always like, you go back to the old stuff that you’re familiar with because it’s comforting, you know what I mean? New music is kind of like homework or exploration in sound. The classic songs, I always come back to.
We’ve heard you talk in other interviews about the fact that you don’t really skate, so where did the name SKATERS come from?
M: It really came from the idea that, we used to skate when we were kids and we liked the mentality you have when you’re a kid and you don’t care about anything, the expectation was to just have fun. It was about counter culture. When we started this band we wanted it to have the same energy, it was like an art project to revive our spirits with music. You can have punk skaters, skaters that only listen to hip-hop, urban skaters, rich kid skaters or skaters in suburbia that can skate just as well as a kid in NY. It doesn’t really matter what race or background you come from.
Your latest music video for “Miss Teen Massachusetts” seem to have this storyline and character development that goes beyond the band – tell us about the making of?
N: You don’t want to do literal interpretations of your songs and we also don’t want to do completely unrelated stuff. Danilo Parra is really good at taking in the lyrics and doing these abstract interpretations of the lyrics.
M: Coming from his perspective as an outsider, you just get things you would never come up with being inside the band.
What inspires you apart from music?
M: Everything, I mean, New York inspires me, people inspire me, life inspires me. Yeah… I mean, you can’t put your thumb on it really. The greatest songwriters that ever lived never did so by staying inside, not leaving the house – you’re inspired by your surroundings.
What artists do you think (besides you) put out the best albums this year?
M: That band Porches made a really good record. We keep talking about them hoping we’ll actually meet that guy one day. I guess we just haven’t tried hard enough. Also Blood Orange and Drowners.
How do you feel about the alternative music/punk scene right now?
M: I don’t think there are a lot of good, well-respected guitar bands in here anymore. I think there are more in the UK than there are here. Hopefully our contribution is helping that stay alive in New York. We’re just focused on our own stuff, we’re not really concerning ourselves with where that fits in. But, hopefully it’s a lead by example type of thing. Which I think it always is.Source: Ellie Doh