Carpazine: First of all, thank you very much for the interview, guys!
Christopher - THANK YOU.
Carpazine - When and how did you first become interested in music? How long have you been playing music?
Christopher - Around 1976/1977 I spent a lot of time in front of my record player. Sometime in 1978 I got an acoustic guitar from my parents from the Caldwell Connection. That year I started writing lyrics and probably all of the songs had the same chords, which would have been C E minor G G 7 and D. A couple of notes, all stuff from the Mel Bay instruction book. Kiss, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones we're definitely the first three bands that I got into quite young. I had tons of used 45s with songs like “Rockin Robin” and “It's Late”.
Xtene - Been playing guitar since I was a kid. My mom taught me. It’s been over 30 years for me.
Moose - I’ve been interested in playing music for as long as I can remember. I know I took some piano lessons when I was eight or so, but I really started playing music in Middle School, playing the saxophone in the symphonic band. I started playing bass in punk/metal bands when I was around 14.
Gisel - I’ve been interested in music since I can remember... my parents were into rock music, my older brothers introduced me to Black Sabbath, they were into metal bands mostly, but I eventually found my way into punk rock. By 11 I was very much into Pearl Jam, the Ramones, Guns N’ Roses, Green Day (hahaa). Music was a big part of my life. I enjoyed listening to it, signing and dancing! Playing music… hmm, I started playing the flute in the third grade for the school band (although initially I wanted to play the sax, but was told my hands were too small). A few years later I started piano lessons. That ended quickly when my parents decided to move to Argentina. After that I was given a guitar as a gift so I tried teaching myself how to play. Eventually I started playing drums at age 17 when my best friend was starting a band and could not find a drummer. Since then I’ve “filled in” as a drummer for a few bands and it took years for me to actually considered myself as a drummer.
Carpazine - What is the most fun part of being a musician, and being part of a band?
Christopher - That answer could be different depending on the time of the day. Well the most "fun" aspect one of them is definitely when the band is completely one giant organ or a giant machine... I can look at the other three members and besides the "audio aspect", the energy and raw power feel as one...live or in the studio, either way and especially when creating. Of course it also serves as therapy...writing lyrics and arrangements...creating music and playing music.
Xtene - I like seeing a crowd wowed or disgusted by your performance. The most fun of being in a band is the ridiculousness that ensues in the creative process.
Moose - The most fun part of being a musician for me is being able to create different kinds music. When I first moved to New York and knew no one, I spent almost every evening writing songs. I must have 3 or 4 CDs worth of instrumental music (most not so good) from those days. The most fun part of being in a band has been the shows. Traveling to many different places/countries and meeting many different people along the way.
Gisel - The most fun thing about being in a band I think is the camaraderie. I love playing music but if you play music with those whom you enjoy being with then that right there is the best thing for me. I personally did not know anyone in this band when I joined and I can say that now they’ve become close friends.
Carpazine - What is the hardest part?
Christopher - Being myself.
Xtene - The hardest part is focussing for me, given many great ideas and not enough hours in the day.
Moose - The hardest part for me would be the large gaps of time when we aren’t either practicing or playing shows.
Gisel - The hardest part is when your phone blows up with group text messages lol! IDK, maybe balancing my work/family life, along with other commitments, and the band. It gets hard sometimes but we’re all making it work.
Carpazine - How long has the band been together and how did you all meet?
Christopher - I've known Moose and Christine for a while now. I've been in the band a year and a few months.
Xtene - Skum City has been together since 2007. Moose and I started it with Richie Reingold (Beer Drinking Fools) on vocals and Giuliano Sebben (Step Too Far) on drums. Our current singer Chris Thee Wailing Siren- we’ve known for over a decade and Danny Pukes (UFC) sent Giselle Dagostino our way on skins. Moose and I met as he was my bass teacher. Now we are married.
Moose - Christine and I started the band in 2007. We’ve had a few different lineups along the way. The current lineup has been together for a little over a year. I’ve known Chris since 2005 and we meet Gigi through a mutual friend.
Gisel - Skum City has been playing for about 10 years now I think. I joined the band a year ago in September 2018. They were looking for a new drummer and put the word out. A mutual friend, Danny Pukes, asked me if I was interested and here I am.
Carpazine: Tell us a little about Skum City. When was it formed, where are you guys from, etc ...
Christopher - I was born in Queens, New York at a now-defunct hospital across the street from the White Castle on Queens Boulevard not too far from Grand Avenue.
Xtene - Skum City is the brainchild of Moosehead and Xtene back in 2007. I’m from CT.
Moose - Christine and I first formed Skum City in 2007. Her and I were dating at the time (married now!). I was originally the drummer, but I was not very good at all. Our guitarist quit, so I decided to move to guitar since I was a much better guitarist than drummer. I’m originally from Virginia, but moved to NY in 1998 and have been playing in bands in NYC since 2001.
Gisel - I’m from Queens, NY.
Carpazine - Who would you say were your early influences - Who writes the band's songs?
Christopher - Single-Digit Age, very early influences would be New York radio... forty-fives of all kinds of music..Motown stuff, Bobby Day, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and The Supremes(etc). Bands such as Kiss ...The Kinks and The Rolling Stones by the time I was these three bands were huge to me. I have written lyrics. I fancy myself to be a poet.
Xtene - We used to cover Circle Jerks, Misfits, we like X.
Moose - I grew up a metal/thrash kid. In my very first band, I played bass in a Metallica cover band. Writing songs is a bit of a group effort. I try to bring in some good riffs though.
Gisel - Early influences are the Ramones of course, the adverts, Addicts, Misfits, Defiance, Crass, Devo, The Fits, Black Sabbath, Motorhead. Punk rock bands from Spain and Argentina, such as La Polla Records, Eskorbuto, Flema, Dos Minutos, Pappos Blues. I guess I need to give Guns N’ Roses some credit too. Oh and Johnny Cash, Bowie, Petty!!
Carpazine: What is the repercussion of the tour that you guys did in Japan?
Christopher - I've written three songs and have more to go from the experience. I'm in the poor-house too.
Xtene - We have many new Japanese friends now.
Moose - It was quite an experience. I really enjoyed how the shows there were put together. Sometimes with a “meet and greet” before the show so all the bands introduce themselves. I also noticed all the bands stayed around from the start of the show to the end. I’d like to bring some of that back with us.
Gisel - I think this was a good opportunity to get our music out there. The people who were at the shows seemed into it and we made a lot of connections on social media.
Carpazine - How is the Punk and HC scene in Japan lately? What interesting bands you saw over there?
Christopher - * Age Of Kid, WTXXX, Cream Panda, East Bay, and The Long Noses to name a few. Many of the bands do not drink alcohol before they play, not all, but many of them don't. Also soundchecks, Sound person takes job serious.
Xtene - Longnose.
Moose - The scene there is not what it used to be. Most of the punk bands we played with had a definite California sound. No so much NYHC, but almost all the bands we played with were pretty great! My head is swirling with all the band names. I’ll leave that to the other guys.
Gisel - I think we did not get to see such a huge punk or HC scene over there. A few shows were definitely more punk rock – a show we played with Cream Panda and another one with Eastbay. There was one place that was very grungy called K-dream… “K” for kurt cobain.
Carpazine: What was the best show the band did in Japan?
Christopher - Mmm. The 8th and the 9th shows were by far in my opinion to have the best result.
Xtene - The last show. Cool set up.
Moose - We had many great shows. It’s hard to pick out the best of the bunch. The shows that were the most fun were once where all the bands hung out after the show and the club would have an after party. That’s where we really got to hang out with the other bands playing.
Gisel - I don’t really know, they were all kinda special and very different! I can tell you that our first show was not the greatest in my opinion although we did have a lot of fun. We were very veeeery jet lagged and still adjusting to culture shock (or at least in my case).
Carpazine: Did you guys have any unusual situations during the tour in Japan? Any funny situations?
Christopher - The area we were staying in was largely occupied by a cult. Drunk train rides, hijinks. I'm sure I'll remember more after the interview.
Xtene - We stayed at a cult in Japan.
Moose - I’m sure everyone will say the same thing here… We stayed at an AirBnb in a “Cult” area. Many people told us to watch out and not to answer the door. I really don’t understand what was so bad about them. I doubt they’d want to recruit us!
Gisel - Well... as soon as we got to Japan we took a cab to where we thought was the Airbnb spot but the Airbnb guy was not responding so we thought it was a scam at first. We were all tired and frustrated and had to find a place to sleep. The next day we actually got in contact with the Airbnb guy – he said the address he had given us was not the right address (suspicious). We still stayed at his place only days later to find out we were staying in cult town lol – I’m serious. The whole Airbnb situation was unusual. The dude kept coming into our apartment, heating up food, and who knows what, eating our chocolate…☹ not nice!
Funny situations … we always had walking beer – you can drink beer on the streets there. Or train beers. Basically had beer all the time. The whole airbnb cult situation eventually was funny too... Oh and because we were trying to communicate, we picked up bad English while we were there and started leaving words out, like.. we go to food mart.
Carpazine - Best place you have ever played?
Christopher - I miss the Hill Tap Tavern in Elmhurst, Queens. Playing with Skum City...not sure where. The Park side Pub in Whitestone, Queens is where Gigi and I played our 1st show with Skum City. Howie, who runs the pub, treats the bands real good and is a stand-up guy. He knows how to pour a pint of Guinness.
Xtene - Chicago at Jurassic Park. It was mayhem.
Moose - I can’t pick a single location, but with Skum City, this Japan tour is gonna be hard to top. It was such a great experience and so much fun!
Gisel - This is a hard one. I actually haven’t played in many places…. First thing that comes to mind is a place in Philly called the fire. Local NY places I’d have to say Kingsland and Ottos are fun places to play at. Also most venues in Japan were pretty awesome and professional.
Carpazine - What's the best and the worst thing that happened to you as a band?
Christopher - (Laughs out loud.) Recording "Rise Of The Skum" is noteworthy.
Xtene - Best thing: touring. Worst thing: band drama with former member.
Moose - Again… Best is being able to do the Japan tour with these guys, but along the same lines, the worst is the effort we made to put out our latest album on vinyl only to find out Japan is really into CDs and most people in Japan don’t have record players. They might be the last place that is still into CDs!
Gisel - Best thing is getting to know Moose, X, and Chris and becoming close friends apart from band members. I don’t think I’ve experienced the worst thing yet… I’m pretty easy going.
Carpazine - What are some of the bands you're listening to and enjoying right now?
Christopher - Local bands in recent rotation.. Necrotic Society, The Blame, Blackout Shoppers, Ratas En Zelo, Crazy Eddie, The Avoiders(whom I listen to very often), Baby Sandwiches, PillCrusher, Dealin' With It, and No Place To Piss. All good stuff. Fortunately.
Xtene - Stevie Wonder..truth!
Moose - I really like a band we played with recently from Australia called Clowns. Not much new stuff, but I always like to put my MP3 collection (well over 11,000 songs) on shuffle and just let it play. There’s everything from Metal to Punk to Alternative… Stuff I’ve been collecting since High School.
Gisel - The Restarts, The Zounds, The Seeds, Bastard Clan, Drunken Rampage.
Carpazine - If I was to turn on your ipod right now, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?
Christopher - I don't own an Ipod. The last 5 things on youtube I enjoyed ...1.The Defects- "Defective Breakdown" album. 2. Hell Hammer- an album called, "Apocalyptic Raids". Number 3,"Soberphobia" from Peter and The Test Tube Babies. 4. Prince Buster's "Fabulous Hits". And 5, "Back With A Swill" album by Public Nuisance.
Xtene - Bowie, KMFDM, The Bullyz, Echo and the Bunnymen, the theme from Never Ending Story-truth!
Moose - Sewer Trout, The Bullys, Twin Pigs, fIREHOSE and White Fang.
Gisel - La Polla Records, Blondie, Rocky Erikson, Pappos Blues, Slaughter and the Dogs, Misfits
Carpazine - Any plans to work on a CD?
Christopher - No.
Xtene - We are staying in vinyl for now. Perhaps split 7” this year. All our stuff is available to stream.
Moose - We are currently in the process of writing a bunch of new songs. Whether for a CD or possibly a split of some sort.
Gisel - If the band wants to I won’t oppose. I personally don’t find CDs to be a thing anymore as no one uses CD players but this might be different in other parts of the world. Japan, for example, is big on cds.
Carpazine - What's your favorite food?
Christopher - Difficult question. I am in the mood for chicken paprikash with a side of mashed potatoes and peas. Lamb shawarma with hummus would hit the spot too.
Xtene - Sushi.
Moose - My go to has gotta be Pizza!
Gisel - I love many foods but the first thing that comes to mind is pizza!! Pizza makes me happy!
Carpazine - What is the first record you bought?
Christopher - Either the Grease soundtrack or the 1st Kiss album. Funny Bone Records Vol.1. Mmm.
Xtene: the Monkees.
Moose - I really don’t fully remember. I do remember firsts for certain formats… I know it’s not my first, but I clearly remember buying Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time on cassette. I know my first Vinyl was Beastie Boys - Licensed to Ill and I know my first CD was Metallica - …and Justice for All.
Gisel - Either Misfits- Static Age or Black Flag – everything went to black.
Carpazine - Is there a town or place in the world you consider inspiring?
Christopher - Amsterdam, Praha, Belfast, and Copenhagen are all places that have "inspired" me. There is absolutely NO place like New York. It provides positive and negative "inspiration". No place comes close.
Xtene - Berlin
Moose - I see NYC as inspiring. One of the main reasons I moved here was for music opportunities. I came from a small southern town with almost no music scene at all. I might have quit playing music if I didn’t move up here!
Gisel - Yes... I had the opportunity to travel to whales this year and I loved it! There’s this place called worms head which I think is a magical place – there’s no simple way of describing it. I thought japan was pretty inspiring too as we came up with themes for writing new songs and we even wanted to cover the subway announcement music haha.
Carpazine - Anything you’d like to add?
Christopher - Hi mom.
Xtene - We love you Fernando!!
Moose - Just I hope to keep this thing going. We’ve been doing this for a while and I have to desire to quit any time soon.
Carpazine Art Magazine Issue Number 22 Featuring Exclusive Interview with Skum City!
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Carpazine Art Magazine Issue Number 38 Featuring Doug Firmino! More: Sherry Karver, Valerie Patterson, Randi Matushevitz, Dominick Conde, Fernando Carpaneda, Melinda R. Smith, Collin J.Rae, Milwaukee Graffiti, Somos/We Are: Latinx Artists of Long Island at The Long Island Museum, The Hive Gallery: Line 12, The Sisters and many more!