Interview by Abbey Toomey-Fisk / Photos by Winnie Surya. Based from New York City, garage punk quartet SKATERS released their debut album entitled Manhattan earlier this year. We got the chance to talk to vocalist Michael Ian Cummings about how the band started, tour, debut album and more. Read the interview below or on our issue here.
Q: How did SKATERS form?
A: We formed a couple years ago when Josh and I met at a party in Los Angeles. We knew each other through mutual friends but it was our first time meeting. We stayed up really late listening to a bunch of records and we ended up parting ways. I was about to move back to New York and then when I finally got to New York, he dropped me an email saying he would be in New York tomorrow. We didn’t really realize he moved to New York to be in a band with us. He showed up and we ended up forming as soon as he got there.
Q: How did you come up with the name for your band?
A: The name kind of came first. We kept thinking about how good of a band name it was and also how when we were kids, we would skate like there were no cares in the world. It was worry free with no expectations, like it was a good time. It was straightforward, honest and innocent and that’s the kind of band we wanted to be.
Q: Can you take me through your recording process?
A: There were like 30 songs for the record (Manhattan) and it got widdled down. We went into pre-production with the producer and picked the songs we were going to record plus a couple others that may or may not make it. Then we went to studios in New York and we were held up there for a month in a room on the top floor. We made it our little home for the 4 weeks. Then we went on tour and kept working on the record. It all came together very sporadic and jumbling.
Q: What’s your favorite song of the album?
A: It kind of changes but the one song that really sticks with me is “Band Breaker.” I think it became my favorite because it was so hard to record. We tried it like 5 times and it wasn’t until the last time we tried it. We ended up getting it in like a day. We just went it and recorded drums and were like okay it sounds good and everything was layed down super quickly.
Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: They’re kind of all over the board. Obviously the band is influenced by late seventies, post punk. Stuff like The Ramones, Television, Blondie but also English bands like The Clash. All of us come from totally different musical backgrounds and all of our stuff together shaped us.
Q: You’re going on your first headlining tour in the U.S. Are you excited?A: Yes, I’m excited but I’m a little nervous. We haven’t been to some of those cities before.
Q: What are you expecting for this tour?
A: It’s always interesting to see the crowds. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s interesting to see what people respond to.
Q: What do you want your fans to take away from the new album?
A: I want it to be a record you can just put on. I remember growing up and there were albums that you could just throw on at a party and satisfy everyone and that’s kind of what I want people to feel. You put the record on from start to finish and everyone will be psyched that it’s playing.