“It was just a band name, and we needed one. I think it was just a word that sounded cool and stuck.”
So explains guitarist Joshua Hubbard, previously of The Paddingtons, when asked about the moniker of his new outfit, SKATERS. He’s speaking from the back room of an east London pub, during a short UK tour for the New York-based trio.
The live dates offer a distraction, of sorts, from the pressures associated with finishing the band’s debut album. “It’s the most stressful process,” says vocalist Michael Ian Cummings. “It’s a painstaking, nerve-racking process. It’s our first record, so there’s definitely pressure. But I think we’ve made something amazing.”
When we speak, said album is in its mixing stage. It’s scheduled for release towards the end of this summer. Recorded at their hometown’s Electric Lady Studios, it’s a set inevitably inspired by the Big Apple.
Says Cummings: “The record’s based on stories and things that have happened to us, or to our friends, and things we’ve had to deal with over the past couple of years, and working in the city. This band only formed because we enjoyed the work – we met up in Manhattan and from then we were just, non-stop, working on this band. It’s pretty cut and dry.”
SKATERS inject punk-rock vibes into a sound that resonates with already gritty guitar lines. Their track ‘Schemers’ manages to mimic The Strokes at that band’s peak, while ‘Armed’ is a chilling neo-ballad that sees its makers at their most sombre, so far.
“People say to us, ‘You sound like a punk band, or this band, or like that band’,” says the frontman. “And that’s good, it’s all fine. But it’s definitely not our part to make those comparisons. I think we’ve got a strong sound – I think it’s the sound of the future.”
Festivals are looming for the band – and perhaps a little down-time with loved ones. “Our drummer’s married, so he demands a week off,” says Cummings. Hubbard corrects his bandmate: “No, his wife demands he takes a week off. Then we can just catch up with friends and eat some decent pizza.”
However you categorise SKATERS, there’s no denying that their irresistible energy and hoarse vocal trajectories make for some of the more arresting new music to have come from New York since the turn of the millennium.
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Where: New York
What: Futuristic punk-rock raucousness
Get 3 Songs: ‘Schemers’, ‘I Wanna Dance’, ‘Armed’
Unique Fact: Joshua’s dad is a professional rugby player and had a trial for the Chicago Bears American football team: “I could have grown up in America, and Michael and I would never have met.”
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Words: Jonathan Hatchman