"The Supervillains brings ska/reggae to mainstream." - Interview

The Supervillains got its name when Skart, guitarist and vocalist of the band, was watching cartoons and since the band needed a name, it stuck. That was more than 10 years ago. Since then, The Supervillains has developed a unique sound, not since No Doubt in the early 90’s. Hopefully, The Supervillains has just as much success as No Doubt. I recently chatted with Skart about the band, iPod guilty pleasures and Wham!’s “Careless Whisper.”

Q – Thanks, for doing this.

A - Thanks for having me!

Q – I love the name The Supervillains. How did you come up with this name?

A - I'd love to give you a grand explanation, but it kinda just came up when I was watching cartoons a long time ago. At the time, we needed a name for the band and it sounded cool enough.

Q – The band’s music genre is ska/reggae. How did you get involved with this type of genre?

A - Punk and ska were huge when we first started, and me and Dom were into bands like Suicide Machines or Goldfinger and we were going to a lot of shows, so that's kind of what came out of us. After we started doing long stretches down in the Virgin Islands, we got really turned on to reggae and the whole culture behind it and gravitated a lot more towards it.

Q – What does each member bring to the band in terms of writing, musical background, etc.?

A - Creatively speaking, we are really all over the place, and I think the songs on the new album are a heavy indicator of that. Dom has more of a Beatles/Weezer/Costello vibe when it comes to the writing process, whereas Dan has more of a reggae/hip-hop/electronic background and handles most of the pre-production and programming as well the artwork. As for myself, I really love to craft lyrics. I'm not really particular as far as genre, as long as the song connects the writer to the listener somehow then the job got done.

Q – Not since No Doubt has a ska/reggae band really made it big in the music industry. When The Supervillains started ten years ago, what was the goal with the band? Were there benchmarks to reach, timelines, etc.?

A - Dom and I were talking the other day about how crazy it is that we actually make our living by being in a band. Ten years ago we could never have imagined we would be in the position we are today. And looking back in hindsight I can't believe after every situation we have been in that we have made it through not only standing, but standing solid. It’s interesting how life works out sometimes. The biggest threshold we crossed in my mind was when we got signed by LAW Records in '06 and took everything to a national stage. When you make that leap to doing 7-week laps around the country 4 times a year, it is a huge life change you have to adjust to and embrace. Everything is on the line and it can make ya or break ya!

Q – What do you think of reality shows like “American Idol” that promise record deals, money and fame for doing essentially nothing?

A - It makes for great entertainment, that’s for sure! The odds of success are about equal to the lottery, so unless you are feelin’ super lucky I would rather learn the ins-and-outs of the business then get thrown into the fire.

Q – How has the Internet helped or hurt The Supervillains?

A – It’s great for getting people to discover your music and promoting your shows, definitely. It's bad that "fans" can use it to steal music from musicians that put a lot of time and $$$ into getting it out in the first place. Whether people agree or not, it’s on the same level as walking into someone's house and taking what you want.

Q – If I were to turn your iPod on what would be the guilty pleasure songs on your playlist that may surprise your fans?

A - I was born and raised in the Central Florida swamp so I have plenty of old country songs on my playlist. Cash, Coe, and Hank take me back in time to when I was a kid pumping quarters into the pool table and juke box at the Fish Camp, chewing on gator nuggets and spending all day on the john boat. I miss those days.

Q – The new album “Postcards from Paradise” is the perfect summer soundtrack. What do you want to accomplish with the album?

A - Well, if it ends up being the perfect summer soundtrack then mission accomplished!

Q – How did the remake of “Careless Whisper” make the album?

A - We were messing around with doing a reggae version of it and when it came down to who was gonna sing the lead vocals, Dom just hopped in the torture pit and tracked it. With a lot that was going on with him at the time, he had a lot more in common with the lyrics and could translate that in a way better manner than I could relate to. I probably would have ruined it!

Q – That’s all I had. Is there anything you want to add?

A - Gotta show our hometown some love and say "Go Magic!"

Check out the review of “Postcards from Paradise” here: "The Supervillains' 'Postcards from Paradise' plays like No Doubt's earlier work." – Music Review.


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.
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