Behind Deadlines is a Ska-Punk band from Philly which consists of Zach (Vox/Guitar), Gee (Drums), Mike (Bass), Skylar (Trombone), and Chris (Sax). The band is working on an EP and will head out on tour in Brazil this March.
The new EP is coming out, where is the inspiration coming from? What’s the response to it been like?
- What’s the response to it been like? We’ve got a bunch of new songs that we’re in various stages of putting out, and I’d say that they’re all at some level of being adventurous and different. Most of the band was raised with ska, but it’s been interesting incorporating some ideas from those of us who aren’t and bringing in some of the influences we’ve gotten into as adults. Nobody likes it when bands “mature” and get too far up their own asses, and I wouldn’t use that word for us, but you might hear a few songs that aren’t all offbeats. It’s still all about fun, though, and I wouldn’t shy away from calling us a ska band. I don’t think any of our songs would be out of place at a good party.
You’re playing in Canada and Brazil - have you toured Brazil before? Are there any plans for a U.S. Tour?
- Plans? We're making this up as we go along! No, most of us have never even been to Brazil before, except our drummer, who was born there. We're pretty stoked to go. As for the US, if the question is if we'd like to get picked up on a countrywide tour by a band we really love, the answer is yes. But the sad truth is that an independent US tour might be both expensive and disappointing, even for bands that play genres of music people don't hate as much. We've got some dedicated music fans in this country, but not nearly as many as we've seen outside the states. For whatever reason, it seems like music is thriving around the world, but seems to be withering a bit here, unless your instrument is the turntable. I'm sure everyone has a theory on who to blame for that, but I guess the main point is that we'll play wherever people want to book us, as long as it's financially feasible. We live here in the states There's good people and food all over this planet, and that's a good enough reason to at least try and see everything.
You had mentioned you will be filming a music video while on tour in Brazil. Will it be throughout the tour or during a specific show?
- We chose to shoot a music video for one of the new songs that will be on the new EP coming out soon in Florianopolis, which is the capital of Santa Catarina, southern Brazil, where we are also playing our first show. The city is comprised of 42 beaches and we thought it would be the perfect place for a perfect positive song. We should arrive a couple days before our first show there so we have enough time to start working on the video.
How did you get started in ska?
Gee: I was born and raised in a tropical country where the traditional Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae were huge. So I grew up listening to it a lot. I remember hearing Operation Ivy for the first time and thinking how awesome it was, a band that managed to put together both of my favorite styles (Punk Rock & Ska). Then i heard Slapstick, a band formed by Dan Adriano (Alkaline Trio) and Brendan Kelly (The Lawrence Arms) which had a horn section and that was officially when my obsession and love for Ska Punk started.
Skylar: First ska or punk show I ever went to was Less Than Jake, New Found Glory, and Anti-Flag in DC. It was and still is one of the coolest experiences of my life. My first band, Oskama Bin Laden and the Jihad Jammers, formed a couple of months later, and basically got me addicted to shows.
Bruno: I grew up listening to punk music and then eventually found my way to all of the popular ska punk bands from the 90s. The horns added something special to the three or four piece punk sound I knew. I never imagined I'd join a ska band, mostly because I didn't know any horn players. That all changed when a drummer named Paul asked me to join a band with some of his friends. That was how I met Skylar. After a few bands that never really gained traction, Behind Deadlines was formed.
Zach: Somewhere in the late 90s / early 2000s, I was dragged out of the suburbs of South Jersey and into an old Philadelphia landmark burlesque theatre converted into a live music venue called The Trocadero where my friends and I stumbled upon a bunch of happy people of All Ages jumpin' and dancin' around underneath a giant Floating Eye of Death while regular guys just as nerdy as myself shared the stage with uniformed superheroes to shuffle between 'on the spot' jokes and banter amidst an amalgamation of super fast pop punk intertwined with bouncy clean upbeat "ska"(they were calling it) complete with catchy choruses and fully orchestrated horn sections who were having just as much fun blasting brass on stage as I was having crowdsurfing and kicking my legs around faster than I even knew possible. The message was clear, "Fun! Have It." And try to have a sense of humor while you're at it. Turns out that first show still remains my favorite show of all time, The Hippos debuting Heads are Gonna Roll touring with The Aquabats releasing The Floating Eye of Death. From that point there were years of idolizing the South Jersey local ska punk band The Berserk Postal Clerks, upperclassmen who I passed in the hallways, until they graduated and some friends and I decided to try our own hand at this 'Ska Punk'.
Chris: I walked downstairs and my roommate was playing with his band. I told them I play sax, but that I sucked. They were warned.
What bands do you listen to while driving around?
- We don’t really listen to anything specific while driving. We tend to listen to the spotify or Pandora radio a lot. We like discovering new bands and that’s the best way to go.
Do you have any favorite local artists from Philly?
Gee: Even though the music scene around Philly is not the best one in terms of local support (which is probably the reason why bands here work harder), we have many successful bands out there, that are actively touring and putting awesome albums out. I could name a few from here that I listen to on my daily basis, most of them are pop punk bands like Modern Baseball, The Wonder Years, The Menzingers, Beach Slang , and some that are not fully active anymore like The Loved Ones, etc.
Skylar: I grew up in DC, but I was still listening to Atom and His Package and The Dead Milkmen all through my young punk phase. I’m still really into that weird dorky offshoot of punk rock. Which I guess kind of defines modern ska? I’ve filled in with a bunch of the ska bands in this city as well. They’ve all been fantastic.
Bruno: I have to echo Gee's thoughts on the Wonder Years. I've had their new album on repeat for months now.
Zach: Our old band “Hashtag Yoloswag”. Which was basically “Bro and Arrow”. ha. Skylar's old band “Last Martyrs of a Lost Cause” was really the solid punk ska staple here for the local scene in Philadelphia for years following the reign of Ruder Than You whose more traditional 2-Tone and Reggae-Rub-a-Dub ruled with an iron fist for decades. My own old band On Display did some time in the scene as well. Many phenomenal local bands were from the very close surrounding areas in NJ and PA such as my favorites Case of the Mondays (NJ) and The Waffle Stompers (NJ) who are worth finding on Spotify at the least. One band that has survived it all and you may have heard of is The Snails (PA) who are still kickin' up dust touring around with the infamous Slackers (NYC). And while The Snails hold down PA with other more traditional acts The West Kensingtons and Rock$teady, NJ has its own current lineup of ska rockers from the super technical No Such Noise to the super energetic Backyard Superheroes. If there's any band I wish was from Philly it would be Everything Ever from up in NYC which is still local tristate, but I wish they lived nextdoor. Great guys still pushing the limits of Pop Punk with a dash of Say Anything poetic attitude. Be on the lookout for them!
Chris: Gregory Alan Isakov.
What’s the local scene like in Philly? What are some of the best places to play?
- To be honest, it’s in a bit of a lull. A bunch of well-liked venues recently closed down, which was sad, but also kind a nice slap in the face for a city that needs to get out to shows again the way we used to. There’s still a bunch of great spots like The Trocadero (a former Burlesque club), World Café Live (an NPR studio with two big stages), and The Barbary (hipster club turned into a giant punk venue on it’s off nights), and there’s a bunch of other places that are good if you’re over 21. Ultimately, what this city needs is some more youth getting out to shows, but it’s tough when they aren’t even allowed in to most of them. We’re working on it.
Best place to get a cheesesteak is …?
- Oh god, so many heated arguments around this question. We have researched a bit and found that most people’s answers revolve around either the first place they lived in the city or the first cheesesteak they ever had. The one thing I can say for sure is that Philadelphia is the best place to get a Philly cheesesteak. Don’t assume the one you had in Ohio or California was the way they’re done. It’s gross greasy food, but it’s a gross greasy food that nobody else can do the way this city can.