Skaters are based in Chinatown, NYC. They play proper good "political hip hop mantras". In 2015, the band were unsatisfied with their major label experience at Warner Bros. They moved on with an intention of doing things very differently. Rock and Roll Bye Bye is Skaters' upcoming EP, due to drop on May 13th. You can find one of their tracks, The Loner, on SoundCloud as a sneak peak of what's to come from the Brooklyn rockers in 2016.
The band delivered an impressively sleek live performance at Sneaky Pete's in Edinburgh last Saturday. It was impossible not to feel Skaters' refreshened outlook on creating the music that they love. You know all those runaway melodies and the intense riffery that goes on in Skaters? Well, Noah is the man who keeps it all tight. The drummer told SNOG how the band started and what we can expect from Skaters in the future.
"Mike [frontman] and Josh [guitar] met in Hollywood on a late night whim. Those two fell in love. Probably some drinking involved. Maybe some coffee. Maybe some mates. I [Noah] was living with Mike in LA. We started writing songs and then 3 or 4 months later, we moved to New York. Josh moved over here from Hull and we all got an apartment together in Chinatown."
For the past 3 or so years, Skaters were signed to Warner Bros. Established in 1958, the label has nurtured some of the most influential artists of our time. What could go wrong, right? After years of following the big company rules, Skaters became exhausted. “We decided we didn’t enjoy being on a major label. It’s kind of the worst thing ever. Major labels are weird. They encourage a lot of lame shit. Unless you’re really willing to do whatever it takes to be a star.” For their Autumn album, the American trio needed to pursue their own path. “We want to self release this next album. At least for its sophomore release, we were like, ‘we will break up if we sign to another label’. We need to do this on our own.”
As time passes and genres change, so do that band's influences. “The record we’re getting ready to release is mostly influenced by specific bands like Blur and Primal Scream. Always a bit of The Clash, too.” You can’t restrict creativity to one outlet, though. “Inspiration outside of music changes too. You can’t anticipate inspiration. Everything goes well and then someone dies – that’s your inspiration. Or everything goes wrong and you find love – that’s your inspiration. You can’t really anticipate it.”
Skaters come from a successful beginning in Brooklyn. They’re also familiar with the UK, having visited many times over the years,“when we first started the band, we wanted to hang out in the UK a lot. We were on this major label that were willing to pay for us to come over as much as we wanted.” It’s never easy for a band – old or new – to break a foreign scene. For some bands in the UK; making a statement in America can be the pinnacle of a career. For some bands in America; experiencing the UK can enforce a new lease of life to their music. “There is a huge difference between the US and UK. The grass is always greener. To us, America is boring. To you guys, the UK is boring. And you guys dress better over here.” But, why do some bands make successes in some places and not in others? “There’s a reason some bands struggle to break into both territories – it’s really the drinking age. All smaller venues in America are 21+. Venues here can be all ages, so bands start touring at the age of 18, but in the US bands don’t start until a later age. The bigger stages in the US are all ages, but it takes a while to get big enough to play them. Obviously everyone in the US wants to be big in the UK.”
Rock and Roll Bye Bye EP is due for release on Gary Powell’s (The Libertines) label, 25 Hour Convenience Store. The new tracks are fantastic live and the EP boasts the creative talents of the band; showing a versatility in their writing that only a small number of bands can achieve.“When we were writing this, and the record, we were all in agreement that we liked the beat construction of the late 80s, early 90s. The overall sound begins with these grooves that were really popular in the 90s and had been influenced by The Stones and stuff in the 60s. Then we built on top of that. It’s a very varied record. It’s a little funkier and a little mellower. But it’ll become louder live.”
Will Skaters be doing things differently from now on? “Yeah. We were able to record on our own and do what we wanted to do. Gary [Powell] was friends with Josh and he really wanted to help us out. Even if we do this ourselves, we are going to be seeking help from different people. Moving forward we’ll see what happens. Maybe we can move on from the pain of being on a major label. You can talk to loads of rock bands that have been on major labels that maybe shouldn’t have been, and they’ll usually complain about it. Its just not the right fit if you’re not trying to be famous.”
Whilst endorsing an enthusiastic new outlook, Skaters will tackle 2016 with heavy 90s grooves and a beautifully smooth sense of rock 'n' roll.
Be sure to check out Rock and Roll Bye Bye, when it drops on May 13th. KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS PEELED FOR ALBUM NO.2, headed for August 2016.