Planet Smashers Interview

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This weekend sees the 20th anniversary celebrations for Montreal’s own Stomp Records, with a huge show at the city’s Club Soda taking place on Friday night.

Headliners on the night will be Montreal’s kings of ska punk, The Planet Smashers. Support comes from Subb, The Beatdown & Danny Rebel & The KGB.

Tickets are priced just $20 and can be purchased HERE

Since their formation in 1994, The Planet Smashers have been a staple of the Montreal music scene. During the third wave of ska, they quickly rose to national and eventual international fame, with tours in the US, Europe, and Japan. Founding member Matt Collyer helped establish Stomp Records in 1994, which featured many ska and ska punk bands, including Montreal’s The Kingpins, The Flatliners, The Know How, and Bedouin Soundclash.

We caught up with Matt for a chat ahead of the main event….

MR – First off, I would like to thank you for your contribution to the Montreal music landscape. With the creation of STOMP records and the worldwide popularity of The Planet Smashers, you have in many ways been an ambassador of Montreal’s “scene”. With your positivity and good-time nature, I am proud to have you as neighbours. Anyone who has ever been to a Planet Smashers show knows their ability to turn even the staunchest of wallflowers into a pogoing Sammy Davis Jr. Which brings me to my first question.
In one word or less can you tell me if it is even possible to be in a bad mood at a Planet Smashers show?

MC – Impossible.

MR – Lets be honest, the 90’s are over. The onstage goofball antics Planet Smashers are known for suited you guys well in your 20’s. What has changed over the years in your live show, or do you feel the same performing now as you did 20 years ago?

MC – The big differences is that we play better now cause we’re not as drunk and frisky (we’re still pretty drunk and frisky but just a bit less!) I mean, we can’t jump around like we used to so the only real option is to try to play the right notes. But it still feels good to be up there, it’s just as fun as it used to be.

MR – If you could go back 20 years and give yourself some advice about running a record label, what would you tell your younger self?

MC – Don’t push a genre of music, focus on the bands. That took us 4-5 years to figure out.

MR – I will never forget the first time I turned my TV to the CBC and heard Bedouin Soundclash being used as the theme music for the CBC Kids Corner. It was a little surreal and slightly out of context for me, but it made me happy. What was it like for you? Is producing someone else’s music just as satisfying for you as making your own?

MC – Right around that time I became a dad, twin girls, so for me it was refreshing to hear some Bedouin during the early morning hours. It might’ve been the differences in terms of losing my mind and not. In terms of being satisfied working other people’s music versus my own… well… it’s different. Both are satisfying when things work out, but I’m always a bit embarrassed by my own music, so my reaction towards good Smasher news is reserved. Whereas I’m the first to pop a bottle of champagne and jump around when one of our bands does well.


MR – Do you think that the lack of venues like Jailhouse, Purple Haze and Station 10 has made it more difficult for smaller bands to get noticed in this city.

MC – Not really. There’s good smaller venues like Trash Bar, Turbo House, Petit Campus, Divan Orange, Casa and more. Probably more than there were back when we started. The flip side is that there seems to be more bands these days… which could be why it’s harder to get noticed.

MR – Due to the size of ska bands, there tends to be a revolving door of members. Planet Smashers are no exception. The core of the group has remained the same, however, how has the ever changing combination of bandmates affected the PS sound?

MC – We’ve been fortunate when it comes to past and present horn bags, they’ve all be great players and each new guy has respected the lines of whoever they replaced. With that said, each and every member has had a hand in songwriting, so there’s definitely an impact when it comes to affecting our new songs/melodies. Attitude plays a big role too, having a good time in studio generally results in a more positive record, both lyrically and sonically. Our “dark” albums tend to happen when we’ve been on the road too long and everybody hates each other.

MR – From “A moment in reflection on The 80 Buss” to “Surfing in Tofino”, the Canadian landscape has played an important part in the imagery of your songs. Tell me what it means to you to be a Canadian musician. The good, the bad and the ugly.

MC – Good: Canadians know how to party!

Bad: Ontario is too big. It takes 24+ hours to cross!!! Our population density is low, there’s maybe a couple million people living on the t-can between Montreal and Winnipeg, same distance down to Florida on the I-95 you’ll hit 150 million+.

Ugly: The factory when you enter Banff national park. Having to do US immigration… and any subsequent probing…


MR – A lot of the Planet Smashers songs are about partying and having a BLAST! These are themes for a young man’s game… How has being a father changed your writing process/style?

MC – Becoming a dad has made the Smashers even more of an escape for me than it was back when I was doing the young man’s game thing. Now when we rehearse I’m the happiest guy in the room, having drinks and hanging with my bandmates – I actually enjoy practicing Pee in the Elevator. As far as writing style, I think my lyrics have become more personal and honest than before. There’s still tons of songs about honest partying but there’s also personal songs about my kids learning how to walk (Hippo), getting death threats (Death Threats), falling in love (My Obsession), and staying in love (Tear It Up)…

MR – What are your favourite songs to play live? What can we expect hear at 20 anniversary Concert?

MC – I’ll go with Surfing in Tofino cause it’s always a blast to see what’ll happen with the crowd. You Might Be, Blind, Mission Aborted, Fabricated, Swayed are other favs.

MR – When do you plan on unleashing the 4th wave of Ska…?

MC – How about right now? 🙂
Rapid fire questions. I’M IN CAPS!
b) Mitso or Celin MITSO!!!!
d) The Mighty Mighty Bosstones or The Kingpins BOSSTONES
e) Pizza or Poutine… BOTH, CAN I HAVE BOTH? POUZZA.

Montreal Rocks wishes Stomp a Happy Birthday. Here’s to the next 25 years!

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