A lot of bands move to New York to “make it,” but few acts have been able to do so as rapidly — and with as much true New York swagger — as SKATERS, the NYC-based quartet that Hive has chosen to play our Artists To Watch Live event on Monday, October 21.
For a band that has titled their debut LP MANHATTAN, few members of SKATERS have been in the city long. So how, pray tell, did they get here? The story goes thusly: Lead singer Michael Ian Cummings met English guitarist Josh Hubbard at a party in L.A. in 2011, where they discussed perhaps forming a band.
“My band with Mike and Josh’s band were not doing much, so we made the decision to move to New York and start a band,” drummer Noah Rubin said. Rubin was, at the time, in the band the Dead Trees with Cummings. Hubbard was previously in the Paddingtons and Dirty Pretty Things.
“Josh was in England and roughly four or five months later we got a call from Josh saying that he was coming to New York the next day and was ready to start the band that he and Mike had spoke about almost a year before. Once,” Rubin said.
Hubbard was only in the States for a few months, during which time the guys put together the skate-monikered band (fun fact: none of the guys can skate), booked three shows and finished their first EP, Schemers. Bassist Dan Burke rounded out the group, and the rest, as the cliches say, was history.
An eclectic effort that’s equal parts Ramones and reggae, Rubin said the EP was an homage to their newly minted home. The guys all reside in the Lower East Side/Chinatown/on Rubin’s wife’s couch.
“Schemers was the five songs that… encapsulated what we had experienced in New York in that brief time that we had been there,” he said. ”The songs were written about the city and when songs are written about New York, they’re very idiosyncratic to the New York thing. You can’t really escape it.”
Entrenched in the New York state of mind, the guys kept running with that theme, titling their upcoming debut LP as a Warner Bros. band MANHATTAN. Recorded at the iconic Electric Lady Studios — in a room where they could look out over the Manhattan skyline — Rubin said the record tells the story of the central character’s transition into what could be considered a New Yorker.
“If you listen to the record from start to finish you actually see the subject of the character kind of changing from someone who’s like shocked by the lights of the city and ending with someone who’s transformed into someone that feels like they belong here,” he said.
If you’re also a New Yorker, you can watch SKATERS take the stage at the Studio at Webster Hall on October 21 at 9:45 p.m. for as cheap as free. And if you’re only an aspiring city-dweller — dare to keep dreaming, and watch the guys live and streaming right here on MTVHive.com.
MANHATTAN is out on Warner Bros. Records on February 25, 2014.