Angie Lalonde writes "On one of my most recent missions I was given the chance to catch up with Matt, The Planet Smashers singer, Dave (bass) and Leon (sax). The Planet Smashers have always been a respected name in the Canadian Ska scene, supported by Stomp Records (Union Label Group), one of Canada's greatest growing labels, it's no surprise to find out the man behind this extraordinary Stomp Records plan is their very own singer."
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MATT: Hello punknews.org!
ANGIE: So, I read somewhere you were quotes as being âSka revivalistsââ¦
(Everyone starts laughing)
M: And whereâs that?
A: I forget, somewhere on the internetâ¦
M: Um, yeah, sure we are reviving Ska (laughing) I guess inevitably weâre Ska, but weâre not necessarilyâ¦
DAVE: I donât want it to get big!
M: We kind of like where it is. We are Ska survivors, Daveâ¦
D: Yeah, um band Ska survivor.
A: So, Dave was the Smashers original drummer, now he plays bass. Was that a good transition?
M: How do you feel about that Dave?
D: Who told you!? (laughing)
M: Oh, they know!
D: It was easy because we had no choice.
M: Put it this way, Dave is a bass player, always was a bass player (laughing).
A: I always thought itâd be harder to find a drummer than a bass player.
D: Exactly! Thatâs how I did it.
M: Yeah, thatâs why he was the drummer in the first place. We already had a bass player, so when our old bass player left, we were like woohoo! and then the band got like a million times better when Leon came onâ¦
LEON: Yeah baby! Itâs all about the horns manâ¦
M: Itâs all about the horns, the brass holes.
A: Were you guys psyched to do an all Ska tour?
M: Well yeah! But it hasnât been completely all Ska, thereâs been a lot of punk here and there. Fifty Nutz were on for awhile, they were on at the beginning of the tour which was really cool but it was getting hard on them cause it was heavily Ska, so it probably better that they split. I do love them to bits, but yeah tonightâs really a Ska night, which is cool to see.
D: Skaâs coming back a little bit, donât you think?
M: Yeah, thereâs like a little Ska reverberation.
A: Itâs all cause of the Planet Smashers reviving it! (laughing)
M: Yeah, itâs cause weâre reviving Ska, thank god for us. If you can put sarcasm on this, you had better put that down (laughing).
A: Your affiliation with your label Stomp Records (Union Label Group), I know goes much deeper, do you want to elaborate a bit on thisâ¦
M: I kind of like, ummâ¦
A: Well, you started it all right.
M: Yeah, with a couple other people, but one guy, Jordan left, heâs got a real job and heâs doing good now and since then a couple of people have come onboard. 2112 Records which was with the Greenland label, they were not really running it, just letting it happen and said why donât you guys do it, cause otherwise weâre going to close it down and thatâs when Reset was taking off so we were like, yeah man bring it on, weâll do that shit (laughing). So that kicked up the whole punk thing, which is really good cause now we have a really good balance with bands like Belvedere stretching all the way to like Big D & The Kids Table and General Rudie, more traditional Ska bands. And The Kingpins still kick ass and us and other bands like SUBB, mix it all up. Itâs pretty cool, itâs a good bunch of bands, working hard.
A: And are you proud of this sudden punk boom in Quebec with the success of Musique Plus and 1,2,3 Punk?
M: Well, itâs kind of double sided, the whole thing, you donât really need it to get big in Quebec, itâs helpful, you know what I mean but it can bite you in the ass. Bands like, SUBB got so much heavy play on their first record that now is kind of like biting them in the ass cause they got too big, so now people are like âoh theyâre too cool and big nowâ.
D: People start wondering if they were made for T.V?
M: Yeah. Where as in the rest of Canada theyâre considered more cool, where theyâre harder to find on a T.V screen. But at the same time you canât really say âI made a video please donât play itâ it doesnât make any sense. If they want to play it, go for it just hopefully people wonât bitch about it being on too much. Our videos never got rotations until the new record it got into the light we were like âperfect, light rotation, great, hard enough to find on T.V canât really see it that oftenâ and then âBlindâ got into heavy and we were a little freaked but still it was a cool video cause weâre not in it, so I guess it was okay.
A: After this tour any new mission for the Smashers?
M: No more touringâ¦
L: No, maybe just little shows here and there but not serious touring, weâre doing a lot of writing.
M: Well weâre saving up a bunch of money to buy a bunch of wheelchairs (laughing), no Iâm just kidding. Yeah, weâre going back to do a record. Weâre going into the studio in January. Yes, to do another Rock and Roll record, Ska and Roll record to revive it even more, whatever (laughing). But yeah, a new record.
A: Do you think your Ska sounds permits you guys to reach bigger audience, playing on tours like The Jazz Festival all the way to different tours like Warped Tour?
M: Well thatâs different, we really tried to do those tours.
D: Ska is about crossing boundaries, never being exactly one sort of thing.
A: So you went out of your way, to get those tours and to cross boundariesâ¦ Matt. Definitely
D: No, we didnât go out of our wayâ¦
M: I didâ¦
D: The songs write themselves (laughing)â¦
M: I went of the way to get the band playing on punk rock tours, definitely went out of the wayâ¦
A: Punk rock tours are harder to get on, compared to the Jazz Festival?
M: Oh yeah, the Jazz Festival stuff was just kind of like a freaky surprise, they just decide on their own. Because we canât really go and say âyou got to book the Planet Smashersâ no, so what can we say. Other agencies can come in and say if you donât book this band then you donât get Chubby Checker, so. But as far as getting on the punk rock tours thatâs probably the difference between us and a lot of Canadian Ska bands, is that we really went outâ¦
A: You guys weâre on Sno Jam too, right. Did you have to bust ass to get on that tour?
M: Yeah man, I mean a lot of the punk rock band bands and their booking agencies were like a Ska band is coming? We donât think thatâs good.
A: I thought your Ska sound would help you guys.
M: It totally did help us, but at first we had to prove ourselves, like all the punk rock agencies, especially the second Sno Jam we did with Sick of it All and Death By Stereo, it was like theyâre hardcore and youâre going to put Ska on this tour, thatâs not going to work? And we were like well youâre probably right (laughing) but we did it anyway and we did okay and I think we actually earned a lot of respect for itâ¦
A: Definitely, seeing you guys on the same stage as Death by Stereo, Iâd have to say you guys have ballsâ¦.
M: Yeah, and the funny thing is Death By Stereo are some of our great friends and Sick of it All will do some our moves on stage and call it âthe planet smasherâ every night and we rip off some of there stuff itâs great and A.F.I we ended up playing more shows with them than any other band last year. We played like over 45 shows with A.F.I last year, which is retarded, weâre Goth Ska weâre a Goth Ska band! So weâre really lucky, it took us so long to get on Warped Tour, weâve been trying to get on Warped Tour since it started but now they said okay, probably just because we kept on going out there to prove ourselves.
D: Every tour, I mean, you win over audiences.
A: When you guys are watching a band live, what do you guys look for first that makes for that set a really fucking tight one?
M: Ah, well if the rhythm section plays in time and on the beat, thatâs the first thingâ¦
D: And actually playing the song, making the song sound good (laughing).
L: Iâm into the stage presence and how they relate with the audience, itâs a big thing for me.
M: And the last thing is for Ska bands, you have to tune your horns, cause there is so much going on, you have to tune your horns!
D: Everybody has to tune together.
A: Well thanks so much for doing thisâ¦
M: Oh thank you! We love your website. Dave. Yeah!
A: Words of wisdom before signing off?
D: Tuning, tuning, tuning, have funâ¦
M: Stay rude, (laughing), no, sorry. Okay thatâs enoughâ¦