Planet Smashers (06 novembre 2005)



Les PLANET SMASHERS ne passent pas exactement inaperçu depuis le jour où Montréal a reçu un premier album complet du quintet ska il y a de cela dix ans déjà. Pendant que d’autres groupes phares comme KINGPINS, ME MOM & MORGENTALER, THE UNDERCOVERS, NAKED N’ HAPPY et ROLLERSTARTER ont laissé tomber, les SMASHERS n’ont toujours pas démissionné et n’en ont nullement l’intention. Parmi tous les musiciens avec qui on a eu la chance de discuter (et malgré l’état un peu décousu de notre conversation) on peut vous garantir que Matt Collyer est un de ceux qui met toutes ses énergies, à travers son groupe et à aussi via Union Label Group, à créer et à promouvoir de la bonne musique.

En plus de la dernière parution de THE PLANET SMASHERS, Unstoppable, on a récemment vu sortir de chez Stomp une poignée d’excellents disques comme Sounding A Mosaic de BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH ou encore le premier opus de THE FLATLINERS.
“Honestly, THE FLATLINERS are the best ska-punk band since BIG D AND THE KIDS TABLE. They have not played in the States yet and the rumor mill down there is going out of control.” affirme Matt.

Le groupe s’enligne provisoirement à jouer au Frostbite 2006 et aura un nouvel album à nous offiir quelque part au courant de l’été prochain pour faire suite à Destroy To Create. “When I put that thing on I was like, holy shit! Where am I? It’s like I felt young again and like I wanted to go whale myself into a wall. I was trying to nail it down, like what am I hearing? This is OPERATION IVY – ska-punk from California but with Washington DC hardcore styles going on. Like MINOR THREAT with this crazy ska-punk thing. It’s amazing. With Stomp Records, I’m trying to pimp these bands on other bands, I hand their records to other bands, and for the first time in a long time the other bands are like, this is fucking awesome! THE SUICIDE MACHINES love them. CATCH 22 love them.” Le groupe fera d’ailleurs la première partie de BAD RELIGION au Metroplis le 16 novembre prochain. “BAD RELIGION jumped on them!”

Quand à BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH, pas besoin de vous dire à quel point le groupe a explosé avec leur dernier album. C’est si excellent que ça force Matt à s’arrêter en plein milieu d’une phrase lorsque le club passait une de leur chansons. “Oh my God, they’re playing BEDOUIN… Fuck! They’re so good.(…) Before they got big on this last record, they wanted to own their own music and I was like, “I can respect that, I’m a musician, I understand that” so they paid the label back for the songs that we recorded for them. If they don’t get half a million for their next record… I’d be surprised. They have eighteen songs that I’ve heard that are amazing! But they have full control of their music which is awesome for them as musicians.” Alors est-ce que le groupe est encore avec Stomp? La réponse est la suivante : “Until we hear different.”

En ce qui concerne le monde à l’extérieur de Stomp/Union en terme de nouveaux CDs, on s’est carrément fait dire d’être bien attentifs à ce que BIG WIG allaient pondre sur leur prochain album. “I’ve heard the pre-stuff from BIG WIG – fuck, it’s SO technical! (…) And have you heard the new SATANIC SURFERS album?! It is the best SATANIC SURFERS record ever. It just came out on Maple Music, it’s phenomenal – a mix of RISE AGAINST, SATANIC SURFERS and BELVEDERE. If you’re gonna buy a punk rock record, buy this one! (…) Other than that, I’m a really huge fan of MALCOLM BAULD, his new shit’s amazing. Stuff from STATUES – It might just be my favorite stuff happening in Canada. I just hope that I can work with them, ‘cause it’s one thing to work with bands that sell a lot or records, it’s another thing to work with bands that you actually like.”

Mais revenons-en au ska, si vous voulez bien. Qu’est-ce qui se passe avec le ska ? “Well, honestly, in the USA it is back!” nous rassure Matt. Soit, ici non plus on se débrouille pas si mal – les shows de Streetlight Manifesto et le Ska Is Dead Tour III auxquels on a eu droit cette année n’en sont que deux indicateurs. Reste qu’au Canada, on est un peu en retard…
“Canada is about two years behind with what’s going on in the States, but Canada in a way is kind of unique because it never had the same over-exposure that the States have. So they’re overkilling indie rock right now like there’s no tomorrow, whereas in Canada right now it’s completely healthy. That’s the same as what happened with ska music in Canada – we were able to be hanging out here for like three years after the death of ska in the States. But now in the States it’s back, it’s really strong and positive. So [until it’s back here], we’re gonna keep on playing and supporting good ska bands. We’re gonna drag WESTBOUND TRAIN up here and turn some heads. And SLACKERS are pushing ska like there’s no tomorrow, those guys are amazing! So as long as we can keep on supporting the really good bands, to give the young bands a good chance before they get judged, you know? Get the good bands out there to make people realize that ska music is this truly sustainable, awesome form of music, and then try to develop the young bands… It’s hard!”
D’autant plus que la scène ska semble être à l’image du Monstre à La Ronde – une joyeuse montagne russe qui connaît des hauts et des bas. “Back in 95, THE PLANET SMASHERS were the worst band in the history of ska, we fucking sucked sooo hard, the people were like, “Ska!, Ska! They’re playing ska so it’s ok if they suck!” You people gave us a million chances, we did not deserve what we got. If we did that shit now, you would boo us and I’m not kidding! And that’s what’s going on in ska in Canada – the shitty bands aren’t getting a chance to become decent, whereas in the States, there are no shitty ska bands, every band out there realizes that you can’t get away with it. They’re all different, all playing weird forms of ska-punk versus traditional sort of mixed-up with this latin thing going on… It’s awesome to see. And bands like THE TOASTERS, MUSTARD PLUG, CATCH 22, SUICIDE MACHINES, PIETASTERS, SLACKERS – they’re really hauling it together and bringing these bands out. There’s no label down there, no real support mechanism for ska music other than Hellcat or Stomp and that’s about it. So it’s extremely subculture again, whichi s where it’s supposed to be!”

Parlant de trucs underground, voici un événement qui l’est bien moins qu’il l’était il y a quelques années: le Warped Tour. La scène Union brillait par son absence parmi les tentes de Cingular et le Gilrz Garage… “The way the stage works is we need a sponsor. Quebec City came in with a wicked amount of money, but not quite enough. Victory Records came in with three grand to make it happen. We always ask for bands, as guests, to play for free cause we don’t want to be a pay-to-play stage. EXO tried as well – amazing bunch of people – and a few other really cool companies, but it’s so expensive to run this stage, we need close to thirty thousand dollars for three days. And when we do that, no one gets paid other than the sound crew. Two years ago, people in the bands and THE PLANET SMASHERS and BELVEDERE, we set the stage up ouserlves! But the most important thing about events like Warped Tour is that you get to have a lot of people hear your shit. That, and it makes up in merch sales ‘cause we had times when we got paid a hundred bucks to play Warped Tour and we were selling two-three thousand dollars in merch, which helps you go out on tour again afterwards. When you’re on there, you gotta sell your stuff like there’s no tomorrow, get someone to come and give a shit. The most important thing is to try to get people to come and see your music and if they actually like it or care, you gotta make sure that they know that you need them to buy your stuff for you to be able to keep on doing what you’re doing. I mean, everyone’s always talking about downloading this and bla bla bla… and back in the day I used to tape records – I have thousands of them – but at some point one of my friends bought a record. So as long as one of your friends bought the freaking record that everyone’s copying, that is all that, realistically as a musician, I would ask for. Someone’s gotta go and buy it at some point. It’s one thing to love a band, but to not support them in that manner is fucking useless. So at Warped Tour, you really get a chance to justify for someone to invest in your band. It’s hard for someone to realize like, “If I give these guys ten bucks, they’re gonna be able to go out there and buy hot dogs!”… or maybe some veggie dogs…”

La nouvelle circule depuis quelques temps déjà: nos héros du ska montréalais vont faire la première partie de nul autre que les rois du pop-punk-ridicule-pour-fillettes-de-douze-ans… Et oui, on parle ici de SIMPLE PLAN, qui seront de passage au Centre Bell le 9 décembre prochain. Nous ne sommes évidemment pas les seuls à être choqués par une telle annonce, mais voyez la chose à la Matt Smashers un instant. “Put yourself back in the day... Didn’t you go see any cheesy bands when you were like fourteen? And was the opening band the band you liked? So there you go! I mean, I know there’s a lot of people out there that saw BAD RELIGION opening for BLINK 182 - how many people realized because of that show that BAD RELIGION was awesome! I mean, if I can get two kids out of the eight thousand people to realize that…”

Et là, si vous vous préparez à rétorquer que les PLANET SMASHERS sont rien d’autre que des vendus, voici deux arguments convainquants : “One – We’re an independent band and we do whatever the fuck we want! Two – After this tour, we’re gonna be back in the clubs, it won’t change anything! (…) We’re still gonna play ska, sill gonna play trombone and saxophone – even if it means we’re never gonna get played on the radio. ” Autrement, les gars des PLANET SMASHERS n’ont pas l’intention de laisser leur sens de l’humour à la maison. “We’re thinking of covering a RESET song and doing it ska just to fuck with them on this tour… We have old RESET photos of the band from the label, we’re thinking of sticking them all over the place.”

Si vous n’avez pas encore chassé de votre tête tout doute quant à l’intégrité du band, ou encore si vous hésitez le moindrement à avaler les paroles de Matt, sachez que les mots que vous lisez plus haut sortent de la bouche du même gars qui nous affirme qu’il est content de prendre comme seul cachet un maigre six dollars pour acheter une pizza quand son groupe ouvre pour les TOASTERS aux États-Unis. “Well… sometimes seven. [rires] That’s a lot of money… No um, I’m not kidding! (…) In Canada we get food, hotel rooms, booze, towels, everything we want! And then we go to the States, and we take it right up the ass. Every night. And we’re used to it! (…) It’s because we don’t expect shit from anyone. And when we have a big show and everyone treats us nicely, like “Do you need us to lock the change room while you guys are out there?” we go like, “Uuuuhh what? No, no! Don’t worry – I’m packing my guitar and my stuff on stage – I hide it behind my shirt! It smells really bad, no one’s gonna touch that shit!” I mean, that’s what we’re used to. We’re a ska band that’s used to punk rock treatment.”

Merci à Matt d’avoir pris le temps de discuter avec nous, et à Mike McGee de Stomp Records pour toute l’aide qu’ils nous apporte depuis quelques temps.



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