The third annual Ska Is Dead tour will be stopping in Montreal this Saturday at Club Soda. With Montreal’s own Planet Smashers headlining, the tour will be going through the United States and across Canada.
According to the tour’s founder and the Planet Smasher’s frontman Matt Collyer, tours like this always do well because “kids like these packaged tours. When you get all of these bands together a lot more people come out.” This year’s roster also includes The Toasters, Mustard Plug and Streetlight Manifesto, who will be playing select dates.
This will be the first time Collyer and his bandmates really get a chance to showcase material from their most recent album, which came out in May of this year. Unstoppable is the band’s sixth studio album and marks the return of Chris Murray to the lineup. Collyer explained that they wanted to be more ska oriented and that bringing Chris back really helped achieve that. That said, he assured fans there are still the “classic silly Planet Smashers songs on the record, because it wouldn’t be a Planet Smashers record without some of that.”
As for where they see themselves in the current music industry, Collyer said they are not part of the mainstream. “As far as the Canadian music industry goes, we are off the radar, but that’s a compliment if you ask me. It’s never been something that we’ve strove to be part of. We’re a subculture band,” he said. “Ska music is supposed to be a subculture style of music and to have it as mainstream goes against the whole concept of what it is, at least for me it does.” The Planet Smashers’ frontman said he is happy with where everything is at right now.
The only thing he finds disappointing is that the ska scene in Montreal has diminished in the last couple of years. “There’s us and General Rudie and other than that, there’s not a lot of ska bands,” he said. “There are not a lot going on in Montreal, which is too bad.”
According to the singer, ska is currently going through a period of rejuvenation. In Toronto, for example, the scene nearly died five years ago. But now, things are booming again.
Does the band regret having stayed independent all of these years? According to Collyer, being independent was the best thing to do. “Really, if we would have been on a major [label] would we have really sold more records? I don’t think so, it just would have cost more money.” He admitted, however, that he would have liked to have been pampered once in a while, but that he wouldn’t trade that for loosing control over their music.
Though things around them have changed quite a bit over the years, the Planet Smashers still abide by the same motto. “Have fun all the time,” said Collyer, and that’s exactly what they’ll be doing next Saturday.
The Planet Smashers play Club Soda on Saturday September 17th with The Toasters, Mustard Plug and guest.
Show at 7 p.m., tickets $16.