This summer, Milwaukee ska outfit Something To Do is preparing the most anticipated release of their career, “Music For Fine Dining.” Dying Scene recently spoke to guitarist Alex Kayser regarding the upcoming album, the band’s role in the coordinating of Skappleton, the biggest ska festival in the Midwest, and more.
Connor (Dying Scene) What can fans expect to hear on the new album in contrast to your older material?
Alex (Something To Do) This is definitely our most diverse album to date. We’ve had some lineup changes/additions since the last release (Joe on trumpet, me on guitar) that have contributed to the new sound. With two guitars, Kenny and I have been able to create guitar parts that are much more complex and diverse. The writing process was also very collaborative. For example, Joe and I wrote two songs, gave them to Nate (main vocals/bass) and he implanted a horn part he wrote years ago.
How is “Music For Fine Dining” going to appeal to those not necessarily fans of ska music?
We have always been a band that seems to go over well with anyone and everyone. We have played with hardcore punk bands, metal bands, ska bands, and country bands, and we always have a good response. If I had a dime for every time an elderly person said to me “The horns remind me of polka”, I would be a millionaire. Often times it seems as though people love our music but have no idea that it is ska. We are sneaky like that. But in all seriousness, you will hear ska, pop, punk, rock, and even some weird Russian influenced polka.
You used the Kickstarter module to raise money for the album, as an increasing amount of bands are doing. What was that process like?
It was stressful and a lot of work, but overall incredibly rewarding. Stressful in that we were constantly wondering whether or not we would reach our goal, but very rewarding to see the support from our fans, friends, and family! It also pushed us to make connections with our fans in new ways.
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Do you have advice for other bands who plan on using Kickstarter or something similar to raise album funds?
Stay on top of it. I spent at least 2 hours every day promoting the project. I think artists are most successful when they put a creative and fun spin on their projects. Constantly update with videos, photos, audio, emails, etc. to keep your fans interested and involved in the process.
Once again your band coordinated the Skappleton festival, how did this year’s show compare with the past?
We got a lot of complaints for moving the festival to Milwaukee this year, but it was really our only option. I would say this year’s festival was overall successful! The venue had some unexpected sound issues, but the crowd was great and we had lots of great bands from around the Midwest. Having it in Milwaukee has opened up some exciting opportunities for us next year, but I would have to kill you if I told you those details.
Thoughts on the Wisconsin/upper Midwest ska scene?
The Wisconsin ska scene is a bit small at the moment, which is why we really make an effort to make tight connections with other bands and support each other with shows and what not. As for other Midwestern cities, we have seen some great ska scenes. We just played in Davenport, Iowa a few weeks ago with some great ska bands and honestly cant wait to go back. Minneapolis also has always seemed to have a great scene, and we try to play there as often as possible.
What’s the current direction of ska music? Where do you fit in there?
I think there will eventually be some sort of ska revival, but who knows when. I don’t think the pure genre of ska will come back like it was in the mid-1990’s, but it will come back hidden in some other genre. Like pop/rock with influences of ska or something. You know, like our new album!
Red Stripe is really gross. Do you really drink that stuff?
We drink it by the gallon. We usually eat Wheaties and Red Stripe for breakfast. Puts hair on our chests.
Any following comments/warnings/words of legal advice?
Check out our Facebook page for new album updates. We are currently streaming our first single, “All of the Best”, and will be streaming the whole album a week before the release.
Also, come to our album release show on July 27th at Miramar Theatre in Milwaukee, WI. It is going to be a formal event (and we encourage you to dress accordingly) with waiters, appetizers, and more! Three up and coming Wisconsin ska bands (The First Chairs, 4 Aspirin Morning, and Orpheus) are playing with us. Plus, you get a free cd with admission!
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