Based out of Montreal, The Planet Smashers has been unleashing their own vibrant brand of ska since the 90’s. Founding member Matt Collyer also launched Stomp Records, and has released not only his own band’s recordings, but albums from the like of The Brains, The Resignators, and Total Chaos. Between band, label, tours, and family life, Collyer is a busy man indeed. Here is an interview we recently conducted with Matt Collyer to find out more about The Planet Smasher and their dynamic new release Descent Into The Valley Of…, as well as operating a record label, stories from the road, and other probing topics. Read on as we crash the endless ska party of The Planet Smashers…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The Planet Smashers, and how long the band has been together.
Matt Collyer here, I sing and play guitar since we started back in 1995.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We’re from Montreal. The town has a bunch of cool scenes, right now it’s probably best known for indie-rock with groups like Arcade Fire, the Dears, Stars, Sam Roberts, Stills (rip), etc. Lesser known scenes but more my thing would be the ‘billy and ska worlds with bands like the Brains, Hypnophonics, the Beatdown, Danny Rebel and the KGB and the Fundatmentals.
How does Descent Into The Valley Of… compare to your previous releases?
I think it’s one of our best. It was the most fun to record and write, all the guys were in great spirits and actually wanted to be in studio.
Please select two songs from the new CD and what inspired the lyrics.
Death Threats = being threatened by a heinously crazy person.
Hippopotamus = watching my kids learn how to walk.
What did Rene de la Muerte of The Brains contribute to the overall recording process? He must have been busy since his band has recently released their own album as well.
His main contribution aside from shear brilliance was showing up on time. But seriously, whenever we got stuck on an idea or a riff Rene would find a way to move things forward. It was great working with him.
What could one expect from a live The Planet Smashers show?
To leave the show in need of a gallon of water and a shower. But happy.
Have you ever played in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the future?
Yup and I hope so. We played Chain Reaction 3 or 4 times as well as the tiny room at the Knitting Factory on a Monday night.
How many dates of the Warped Tour did you play and what was that overall experience like?
We played at least 1 date from 1997 until 2011. In 2004 we did a little over a month. 2002 we did 3 weeks. 2000 we did a week or so. Kevin’s been good to my band and the tour helped our development in the USA more than anyone or anything else.
What changes, good and bad, have you seen in the overall ska punk scene since 1994?
Well, it went up and then way down and ever since then it’s been improving consistently. We’re in a good place right now, it’s a glass half full for sure.
How easy or difficult has it been to manage both Stomp Records and your band?
It’s been hard at times work-load wise but there’s definitely benefits (Smashers have helped lots of our new band’s out).
How frustrating was it to wait so long to record new music?
It’s more embarrassing then frustrating – there’s no cool way of explaining why our last release was back in 2005.
With so many members coming and going, what do you think keeps The Planet Smashers going after all of this time?
These days you’d have to go out of your way to have a bad time playing with the Planet Smashers….of course this wasn’t always the case, after an 11 week tour eating shit sandwiches perspective can change (I used to poke the eyes out of our tiki man logo on a PS sticker). Everyone that’s been in the band had different reasons to stick around and different reasons to move on, there’s no one standard and only a couple that left on bad terms. Many ex-members have come back like Leon and J-O but for me, Dave and Scott it’s always been about having a good time.
What do you look for when signing bands to Stomp Records?
Good music, ability to tour and good people.
Any strange or scary happenings while touring out on the road that you could share?
Getting anally probed by a US immigration officer. He used a flash light. It wasn’t cool.
What’s up next for The Planet Smashers in the New Year?
We’re doing a run in April with Big D and the Kid’s Table and the Beatdown!! Woo. Mr Dave McWane is recovering well from throat cancer so that’s wicked awesome let alone touring with our old pals.
Any final words of wisdom?
Be good but don’t forget to treat yourself. Life is short.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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