It should be pretty high-energy and kinda raucous,” SKATERS’ Michael Ian Cummings says, of the band’s UK tour that begins this week in Bristol. “We’re touring with a band who are friends of ours, Drowners, and it should be pretty crazy. Their singer used to play guitar with us, so we’re pretty tight.”
SKATERS are in the UK performing in support of debut album, ‘Manhattan’, also released this week. And, as the title suggests – the record is a bit of a paean to the trio’s home turf. “It was an integral part of making this record,” he offers. “All the songs are pretty much about experiences we had within the first year of forming the band. We were all bartending in the city and so a lot of them are overheard stories, or things that happened to us. Generally, it’s our first year in New York.”
That first year includes a few sound effects from the city, too – whether it’s the street sounds of ‘Nice Hat’ or the subway announcements bringing in opener ‘One of Us’. Michael continues. “It’s just a really New York centric record that gives a little insight in to where we’re coming from.
“I think a lot of people will relate to it pretty universally, as some of it’s about standard stuff that everyone talks about, like relationships, but there are other things that are pretty specific to the city. Like the general attitude, people think they’re living some kind of New York bohemian lifestyle, but in reality it’s often funded by parents, and disheartening for anyone who’s actually an artist, and making things themselves.
“I just hope that people get a little taste of the city, you know?”
It is a city with a rich and well-documented musical history – Michael points out the CBGBs scene of old, “a lot of our influences come from that late 70s and early 80s punk” - and when recording ‘Manhattan’, they made use of a little more of that. Working with producer John Hill, they recorded at the famed Electric Lady studios in Greenwich Village.
“It was really cool,” he says of the surroundings. “We picked this room on the top of the studio called the API room, which is the smallest room. It was kinda crazy, because that studio operates like loads of studios used to operate, where there’s lots of bands in all the other rooms. It was a pretty inspiring environment, ‘cause you’d just walk through a hallway and walk past Yoko Ono or Arcade Fire or Usher or whoever.” He laughs. “It makes you step up your game a little bit!”
When pushed on their hangouts of choice, Michael won’t go any further than “the East Village, that’s our stomping ground, where we hang out,” and on any differences between crowds at home versus this side of the Atlantic, suggests “it takes a little more in New York to get people to come to your shows,” but “they’re kinda similar, you always get crazy people at the front and more reserved people at the back. I don’t really have a preference.”
But the big one – are they skaters?
“We all did when we were kids!” he says. “Not so much now.”
SKATERS’ debut album ‘Manhattan’ is out now via Warner Bros.
Taken from the new, free DIY Weekly, available to read online or to download on iPad now.