No collar is the newest ska band forcing people to dance in Rochester NY. We caught up with them after they played with The Toasters last night to talk about writing for different genres, finding their sound, and the resurgence of ska music.
How did No Collar get started?
Jack: Originally we were doing an indie rock thing. One day we were bored at practice, and decided to bring in my friend Jeremy who played trombone to play with us.
Matthias: We had a song that we wanted to change the sound. We made it more up beat and Jeremy played on the song with us, we invited our other friend who played saxophone for the song. Since then we just started writing ska music.
Jeff: Since we had a trombone and saxophone player we figured we had to start a ska band.
Is there a certain sound you go for when playing?
Jack: I guess we go for all sorts of stuff.
Matthias: We try and mix it up. Everyone does the third wave ska band. We try to sound a little more first and second wave. We also mix in funk and reggae.
Jack: Jeff and I were in the jazz ensembles at MCC, so we are both pretty influenced by jazz as well.
Is there a big difference between writing for punk, indie, and ska songs?
Jeff: We figured out that the indie and punk music wasn’t for us. We ended up jumping into ska and funk easier than other genre. So we found our niche. Matthias has always been into ska music.
Jack: We took a lot of the songs we had and made them into ska. Ska is a longer process than writing punk. We have to write horn parts and the guitar and bass parts are really different. But overall I think it came easy.
Do you prefer playing fast or slow songs?
Jack: I do like playing fast. Back when Matthias and I were playing in Such Wreckless Children everything was fast.
Matthias: Its fun to play fast, but its better to write for slow songs, you can convey a message easier.
Jack: When people go see a punk band play they may not always know what is going on. With slow songs it’s easier to get a message out to the audience. Plus it’s just laid back and chill, which I like.
Jeff: We just write just comes to mind. We don’t shoot for anything specific.
Do you think ska is ever going to get as popular as it was in the 90s?
Matthias: I think there is always a chance for a 4th wave of ska. Street light manifesto is still putting out music. They aren’t really true ska, but the genre is going to change overtime. I think there will be a resurgence of ska music. At RIT everyone seems to be into ska. I think it is a likeable genre and it keeps coming back.
What’s next for No Collar?
Jack: We are planning on recording an LP if we can. It all depends on time really.