I caught up with SKATERS frontman Michael Cummings while the band was in Los Angeles last weekend, opening for Palma Violets. Michael told me about how the band quickly got it together, and why New York is a constant source of inspiration for SKATERS, especially for their upcoming record, Manhattan. Also, did I mention how well-dressed they are when they perform? Take a note, boys.
Interview and live photos by Maddie Sensibile
Introduce yourself and what you do in the band!
I'm Michael and I sing in SKATERS.
So you guys have been around for a little over a year. How did you get started?
We formed kind of quickly. I met Josh here at a party in LA - both of our bands were winding down, and Noah and I were already in another band previously. We were moving to New York, and Josh was like, "Let's start a band!" We got really messed up at a party, and I didn't think much of it. He wrote me one email that was like, "Maybe I'll come to New York in November or something." I didn't hear from him until October 31st. He shows up, writes "I'll be there tomorrow at 4" on an email, and then that night we went out for drinks. It was Noah's birthday, and we started the band the next morning. Then we booked three shows!
How did you decide you wanted to be called SKATERS, and why the stylization?
The name was floating around before the band even really started. I just thought it was a good name for a band that was formed, because I wanted to do something more youthful than my previous band; play faster songs and stuff like that. The reason that it is in all caps is because of aesthetics.
SKATERS' music is definitely many genres mixed together. How would you describe your genre, and what influences have you had over the years?
I would describe it as fancy punk music. Someone said it was, "Pre-Giuliani Post-Punk" which I thought was pretty good, because that's where we draw a lot of our inspiration from, New York punk bands from the '70s. It's for other people to figure out what we sound like, and compare us to that, which they do.
Your debut album is called Manhattan, and right now the band is based in New York. What do you love about the city that you really feel you can't find anywhere else?
The energy. It's a very fast-paced way of living, and everything that's on this record has been inspired by things we've done or seen in New York in the first year of starting this band. And the songs' pacing and stuff like that, it all kind of feels like New York to us.
The lyric video for "Deadbolt" looks like an old karaoke video, and I've read that you're a fan of karaoke. What is your favorite song to karaoke?
Bruce Springsteen, "Born to Run." That's my favorite.
Lastly, can you tell us a little bit about what to expect from your debut?
We're totally excited for it. You can expect like thirty-three minutes of music, and no filler. We just tried to cut it down to songs you'd want to hear.