DISCOVER | SKABS – MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM.27th December 2023
Today on DISCOVER, I’m joined by Mike and Jack from SKABS. SKABS are a four piece Metal punx band from Mancheter, United Kingdom. Current members are Mike (Vocals), Jack (Guitar), Dave (Bass and backing vox) and Ste (drums). Today we talk about memorable shows, Elephant riding and being banned from Camden.
Firstly good evening and thank you for your time this evening, so… I’m curious, where did the band name SKABS come from?
Mike: Thanks for taking the time to interview us! I think it came about probably 6 or 7 years ago when me and the bassist started writing stuff together to do something a bit different. We wanted something that fit what we were doing, so a bit grim and to the point.
I can see how that would defiantly fit the profile you were going for. What would you say are the band’s musical influences?
Mike: There was a particular ep by a band called final dose called dark places that prompted Dave to get people together to give this a proper go. Apart from that a host of miserable and heavy bands really. Personally a lot of slower nasty stuff like Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, Buzzoven etc and we’re all big into black metal, Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, Sargeist. Then there’s the punk influences that play a big part – rat cage, as previously mentioned final dose, napalm death, discharge.. the list goes on!
Interesting – If you were to describe your music to someone who had never heard your sound before, how would you describe it?
Mike: I think I just naturally try to out people off at this point. Fast, heavy, slow abrasive – whatever hits hard. To actually describe it I guess I want it to be an assault, as well as being catchy enough to be good fun. We want to to engage people as well as being aggressive.
Hey, that sounds like a good mix to me! What can people expect to experience when they see you live?
Mike: We want to bring an intensity that you can only get live; have fun doing it and for people to have to take notice and feel like they’ve experienced something and hopefully enjoyed it really. We want to go all out when we play and given it everything we can. Ultimately loud terror!
That sounds like a good aim! So, could you tell me what’s the best show you’ve played so far and what made it memorable?
Mike: We’ve not been going too long but we’ve done a stint of shows with final dose and that was great. There was a venue called “Percy Picklebackers” (I think that’s right) in Nottingham that was a really cool all Dayer Gnarwal promotions put on this year, that was great because it was the first of those and for myself I wasn’t even sure myself how it would feel and gel live yet, but we loved it and it felt natural so that stands out to me. Nottingham is always a buzz for some reason.
I’ve heard some right interesting venue names over the last month or so, but ‘Percy Picklebackers’ if that is the name takes the number one prize for most outrageous name. So I’ve asked the best… let’s spill some tea, what’s the worst venue and show you’ve ever played and for what reason?
Mike: Yeah it was a massive American dive bar, interesting place!
We’ve not had any disasters yet but there’s the never ending battle with sound and gear is very real. Last time we played London at the Dev, we had a few issues before we started so lost about 10 mins of a 30 minute set, which after a 4 5 drive doesn’t feel ideal, then I didn’t think my microphone was working for almost a full song. After the gig we tried to get off after a beer or 2 and the car battery had died. We jump started it pushing it up a fucking hill, then once it had started we had to keep it going, so I decided it was necessary to take a piss there instead of going back to the street. Two coppers practically walked into me from round the corner and I was banned from Camden for 48 hours, which was no bother considering I was off and could have landed a fine. That being said we still loved playing, the Dev is awesome.
Seems like tech issues seem to be the bane of most peoples existence. Could you explain to me how SKAB creative process work – do all members contribute equally or is there one main songwriter/music writer?
Mike: We’re really enjoying coming up with new ideas and song structures at the room so it’s very collaborative in that sense. Jack or dave are both riff machines and will normally bring something that we’ll elaborate on, Ste on drums doesn’t need any time to get to it so we’re productive like that and we get a lot from it. I’ll normally get a line and rhythm I like for the vocals and elaborate on that for a while until its all set down.
Team work making the dream work, god I make myself cringe – we’re almost near the end of the interview now so got a few more questions. What challenges do you encounter when it comes to getting your music out there and heard by potential listeners?
Mike: Haha it does! Challenges are the same for most underground bands I guess and it’s a catch 22 really, the ease and affordability of getting it out makes it far more feasible. Its also allowed us to take time doing it ourselves with Ste recording it for us so we just got it produced.
On the other side without investing a lot of time which is something, effort and money which isn’t always feasible, it can feel a bit like throwing it into the void releasing yourself. Thankfully the label Neon Nile picked us up and have been awesome with helping get us out there
With 2023 almost coming to an end (Legitimately only 3-4 days away) and 2024 on the horizon, do you have any current plans for new music or shows upcoming in 2024 that you’d like to share?
Mike: We’re playing Nottingham, Preston and Newcastle with Witchrite (who are sick) and a load of cool bands from this Friday to Sunday. We’re just really looking forward to getting out again and playing shows, especially with this release and a couple of new ones to do live.
We’re just getting started and honed in otherwise, so writing has been easy and we’ll have another ep together relatively quickly if that’s how we decide to do things.
World Burner has just come out as well so it’s cool that people can see what we’re about. We’ll see where that takes us in the meantime, hopefully get more shows in and get ourselves heard. We only do this because we fucking love it so that’s always the goal. Never planned too far ahead!
That sounds exciting, can’t wait to see what you pull out for 2024. I like to end my interviews on a high note with something fun – My closing question to you guys is; suppose you have been given an elephant and you can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with it?
Jack: I reckon I would give it a name (like Nelly) and keep it as a pet, maybe ride her like a horse to shows.
Artist: SKABS / Label: Neon Nile / Genre: Metal Punx
Next upcoming shows:
Two Palestine aid gigs in Manchester
20.02.23 – The peer hat /w Feign, Breatherrust, Trenchfoot and Nylon.
26.04.23 – File cafe bar /w Still, fatalist, bleaker tides and Gravehouse.
Can be found on the following platforms: Instagram, Spotify, Bandcamp and wherever your stream your music!
For Fans Of: Discharge, Gulch, Darkthrone, Eyehategod, SPY and Wormrot
All art work featured by use of SKABS is done by artist – Penno. More of his work or commissions can be found through instagram >> Here <<
Skabs are currently signed under the label Neon Nile – More information and other bands under Neon Nile can be found >> Here <<