Take It To the Streets with SKATERS
Formed in late 2011, SKATERS is a “regular old punk band with eclectic influences” comprised of three male musicians: singer Michael Ian Cummings, drummer Noah Rubin, and guitarist Joshua Hubbard. The group was created “on a whim” when Cummings and Hubbard met in Los Angeles and casually discussed the idea of forming a band. A few months later the boys reconvened in New York and SKATERS was born. I spoke with Cummings to find out more about the band and their presence in the New York City music scene.
Cummings says that the band’s influences are an eclectic mix of anything from classic punk bands to “super esoteric noise projects.” He acknowledges that New York City itself plays a large part in the SKATERS’ sound, “I think it’s kinda like city music. I can’t see us making this kind of music and being this kind of band anywhere else,” he continued, “I’m not sure how much it affects our taste, but it plays a big part in how our records feel. I think geography has a lot to do with bands, you just know by the sound where they’re from.” When asked what inspires SKATERS’ songs, Cummings tells me, “Just life. I know it sounds like kind of a weak answer but it’s just everything you experience. It can be something really small or something super personal. [A song] is just an impression of who you are. Like if you’re a sarcastic, sassy dork, that should come out [in your music].”
SKATERS released their first EP, Schemers, for free because they were “tired of the prescribed method” of passing along their music to “someone that knows better” and then waiting for an extended period of time before the songs could actually be released. “We wanted to cut out the bullshit and release music as quickly as we could. People were gonna get it one way or another so we figured we might as well do it [release the music] while it’s fresh.” He noted that Schemers also gave the group a fair amount of attention.
The band regularly performs live in New York, but Cummings informs me that he has a complex relationship with performing, “It’s always been weird for me. I really don’t care for it until I’m up there doing it and then I want to put on a good show. Literally up til that moment when I have to play a set, I really don’t care (unless it’s a really big show that makes me nervous.” He explains that he often looks at the multitude of menial tasks leading up to the show instead of focusing on the show itself, which can distract him from the fun of a show. Cummings says he would hate to “perform to a room that wasn’t my audience. If we were offered a John Mayer opening [act] we wouldn’t take it,” he laughs.
Cummings says that in the future he’d like to collaborate with hip hop artists. “There’s no one in particular that I have in mind. I just want to get more heavily into remixes and beats,” he said, “Something just enough out of my comfort zone that I’d be challenged.” SKATERS has a lineup of shows to focus on, including the FUZZ Party on July 26th and a performance with The Drowners at The Studio at Webster Hall on August 16th.
The boys of SKATERS have also begun the process of creating a zine, which focuses on “community effort.” They have commissioned friends of theirs who are talented in art, photography, and the like to help put together the publication. SKATERS will also release their music with the zine. Cummings explains that the zine was creating with the idea of “Showcasing us and all of our friends who we think need to be promoted.” He says that the zine will be released at the band’s August show at The Studio at Webster Hall.
Cummings describes the band’s personal style as “Early Metallica (when they wore high top sneakers) meets Beastie Boys… with lots of hats… lots of baseball caps, ” he continued, “We’re working class kids playing in a band. We like satin track jackets and interesting, old, disgusting 90s prints.”
Cummings and the other band members also get along offstage, “We’re like a fucking crew. It’s like being in a gang.” Cummings assured me that the tension was minimal and that he and his fellow SKATERS haven’t dealt with many disagreements, “We’re still in the honeymoon stages.” I asked Cummings what he likes to do for fun, “Being in a band isn’t fun?” he laughs, “We’re still bartenders. We get to play music for fun.”
To download The Schemers EP, visit SKATERS’ website at www.skatersnyc.com