Interview: SKATERS

SKATERS (Publicity Photo)

SKATERS (Publicity Photo)

Erika from Rockin’ The ‘Burbs recently chatted with Michael Ian Cummings (aka, MIC), lead singer of the NYC band SKATERS. SKATERS is currently in the midst of touring with Portugal. The Man, as well as putting the finishing touches on their first studio LP. You can catch them tonight (Friday, 6/7) at the TLA in Philly (show starts at 9pm). You can see all of their upcoming tour dates here.

Below is their official music video for “I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How)”, which is also currently available as a 7″ vinyl single. Read the full interview below.

RTB: So, I heard you just got back from touring in the UK. Welcome back to the States. How was it out there?
MIC: It was insane! It was a lot of shows in a short period of time. We did 27 shows in 30 days. We just got back last night. Right now I’m sitting here with the TV on, 2 computers in front of me, and drinking an iced coffee. They don’t have iced coffees over there, but now I have one and it’s f*cking great!

RTB: So you’re still working on your new album – when do you expect it to be complete?
MIC: Really soon. We were just over in the UK working with Cenzo Townshend on it. We have about three quarters done and should be finished with the rest this month. And then it should be ready to come out in September.

RTB: How is the recording process going?
MIC: It’s actually really fun. It’s my favorite part of being in a band. I like it. I even kinda prefer it to shows. I like shows, but recording is much more interesting and more of a learning process by being with other people in the studio who know what they’re doing.

RTB: Is writing a collaborative effort? How long does is usually take?
MIC: I do the writing and demos, then bring it to the band. It (i.e., writing) varies – sometimes it’s as quick as 20 minutes and then other times it can take up to a week. Some things you know need to be tweaked, while other parts are good. Then sometimes other songs are immediate, you don’t have to worry about shit.

RTB: I’ve seen your music described as punk rock. Would you say that’s accurate?
MIC: Yeah, I mean there are definitely some punk elements. I wouldn’t say we’re straightforward punk. When you see us live you’ll understand. I’d say we have the same energy as punk music but there’s a half-punk aspect in our songs.

RTB: You’re also frequently compared to The Strokes and The Clash. Do you feel honored or are you sick of those comparisons?
MIC: How can you not feel honored? If people want to compare us, that’s fine. I don’t care. I don’t necessarily think it’s the best comparison, but it couldn’t be better. I really don’t care what people say as long as it’s in a positive light. We’re a typical band; it’s not my place to say what we sound like. We make the music so you can make the comparisons. It’s the listener’s job to think about it. But people usually compare a band to one thing and then lazy journalists send that one comparison everywhere. People aren’t paying attention – they just copy and paste the comparison. But I’m f*cking psyched to see it.

RTB: Speaking of other musicians, who are some of your musical influences?
MIC: It’s all over the place. I’ve listened to a lot of shit. I love The Beach Boys and grew up listening to them all the time, but obviously that doesn’t come out in our music. I listen to everything I can get my hands on – friends’ music, new stuff, old stuff, everything and anything.

RTB: You guys say you don’t skate, so how did the name SKATERS come about?
MIC: It was a long time ago. We were just moving here and I think we were just throwing out names like crazy. The band was trying to assemble in a manic way. It all happened quickly, like in the course of a night. Literally our guitar player moved here, we began playing, drinking, booking shows – it all happened very quickly. We wanted youthfulness in our music. We all came from different bands and were sick of them. You lose perspective of what was fun about being in a band in the first place. We came up with SKATERS and when people heard it they were intrigued by it.

RTB: Your music video for “Armed” features rapper Young Dope – how did that collaboration happen?
MIC: The guy who made the video, Danilo Parra, he made a video for Dope. Dope was already on the radar so we thought it was a cool idea to make a video with him. We went to Coney Island to make it.

RTB: You seem to have a bit of a darker direction in your videos. Is that the band’s idea?
MIC: A little bit of both. We talk about conceptual ideas but we let the directors do what they’re good at, along with the production teams. We trust them. The first two videos we made we haven’t been in because we’ve been so busy. In the upcoming video we’ll be more involved. We enjoy looking darker – we like the sci-fi elements. It makes you stay tuned. You click off the shit you don’t want to look at.

RTB: You’re playing Lollapalooza and then the Reading Festival in the UK. Are these your first festivals?
MIC: Yeah, we’re psyched! It’s a childhood dream. It’s going to be fun, but I have to say I’m also excited for the after parties. After that, we’ll probably be out on the road a lot more. May start writing another album, it’ll be a struggle, but looking forward to it.


– Erika Reinsel