Mike: So you’ve been enjoying the tour so far?

Sascha: Yep. Great tour, we picked Belvedere and Throwrag to go with us because we like their music and they’re all cool guys so that makes the tour really good. As far as the inter-relationships between the bands go it’s very good and all the shows have been really good; lots of kids, good energy and a good vibe.

Mike: You seem to come over to Europe quite a lot; you must like it over here?

Sascha: Yeah, we tour a lot in general; Canada, Europe, America, anywhere. We love to tour, it’s our job, it’s what we do. Yeah we love it over here.

Mike: Anything you don’t like?

Sascha: Touring in general? Europe? Europe; it’s funny, every country has great parts about it and parts where you’d change one thing you know? But every country has that, we were just in Germany and Germany is probably my favourite country to tour and they just treat you really well, the catering’s always good. But I hadn’t had a hot breakfast, it sounds kinda ridiculous, but for like two weeks. Like Germans have cold cuts and bread, so when I came to the UK just to have like eggs, toast and hot coffee and the whole English breakfast was a nice change you know. So little things like that. But we’re not complainers we appreciate every country for what it has to offer and its own cultural differences.

Mike: Have you had much free time on the tour, or is it all just travelling?

Sascha: Um, it’s been really busy. We’ve only got two days off the whole tour. We’ve had one already; Paris and the next day we have off is in two days is a travel day and we go to Greece. It’s been pretty busy. During the day you have three or four hours to walk around and we’ve definitely done a fair share of sightseeing. I make it a point of getting up early and checking out the city.

Mike: What’s your favourite spot in London?

Sascha: Every time I come to London I go to Brixton. I didn’t get to go this time because we got here late. I always go to Blackerjack Music(?), the music store. I’m a big fan of reggae and I always get a couple of soundclash and reggae CDs, go get some changa food and buy some gingerbeer and some Irish moss and come back to the club.

Mike: [submitted]When you’re on stage, how stupid do people look when they’re skanking about?

Sascha: Um, haha, yeah, sometimes when kids get, ya know… I like ska music and all that but sometimes when you see people skanking hard, in like a space suit, it’s kinda funny, haha. But usually it’s not stupid, I’m glad we can bring that much enjoyment you know. So no matter what kinda reaction, as long as it’s a good reaction that’s fucking awesome. As long as everyone is sweating and having a good time it’s all that matters.

Mike: So you’ve just released a live album (Songs in the Key of Eh), how did you go about choosing the tracks, is it a broad selection of what you play live?

Sascha: Songs we play on the record, the majority seem to be the most popular songs of our band. And the songs we enjoy, the fans enjoy and the ones that sound pretty good live. So it’s kinda natural, our favourite songs tend to be the same as the fans. We just picked the songs we always play.

Mike: Have you ever considered doing a live DVD?

Sascha: Yeah, we’re going to do a live DVD. Eventually maybe in a year we’ll get a DVD together, with some live footage but also candid footage. We’ve been touring for years so we should have a lot of good footage. A lot of dumb footage; fireworks haha and er stupid pranks and all kinds of cool stuff, so eventually we’ll have a couple of hours of stuff.

Mike: [Submitted by Mike Hemsley] What kind of sandwich would represent you best as a band?

Sascha: Oh, haha um…. (pauses) How about a kebab?

Mike: Yeah?

Sascha: haha, seems like a good idea at the time but you pay the price later! (laughter)

Mike: That’s brilliant! (more laughter)

Mike: What do you feel about bands who write about girls and wanking…

Sascha: Like sappy kinda shit?

Mike: Yeah, and now they’ve turned all political.

Sascha: Yeah, politics now more than ever is important ya know, so um… I think it’s a good thing but at the same time you can tell people that are genuine and people who aren’t genuine. Right now with what America, well what the World’s going through, it’s a serious fucking thing and it’s scary and it’s definitely on everyone’s mind ya know. A lot of kids say, when we’ve been interviewed, that bands when they come over know they’ll get a good reaction if they say “Fuck George Bush!” And we’ve made a conscious effort not to do that because when you come to our show we just want it to be more of an escape, we don’t wanna remind anyone about it. Not that we don’t think about it, or it doesn’t happen, but ya know, it probably doesn’t do any good. We’re not going to be a political band, we ‘re going to be a band that’s an escape for people to have fun and we’ve already kinda established that and to do anything different wouldn’t be genuine ya know?

Mike: Yeah, there’s a few UK bands doing the anti-Bush thing now and it’s just a bit weird.

Sascha: Yeah, it is important ya know, and at least people care, but it’s like anything; it becomes more of a fashion thing than what people really think.

Mike: Several readers are interested in the dixieland jazz influence, where would you start them off on? Like recommendations…

Sascha: That’s a good question. I was the first person in the band, I started listening to it in like 96 or 97 and what got me into it was a bands like the Squirrel Nut Zippers, not sure if they were popular in Europe but they put out a couple of records and they were like a retro dixieland/swing/calypso/country kinda band and they were really good. They got me into it a little bit, then other bands like the real artists like Louie Armstrong and anything he’s ever done up until like 1938 pretty much. A band called FireHouse Five, they’re really good. A Virgin Megastore or something might have it, they were a band from the 50’s, a bunch of old white guys that played dixieland, they were really really cool. Fletcher Henderson… Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, we toured with them for a long time, they were like a swing band. They’re kinda a one hit wonder, but a fucking great band! What I appreciated about them is they were more the swing kinda tip as opposed to dixieland but um… them and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy kinda brought it back. Cherry Poppin’ Daddies they were a little more progressive, they put a more modern touch to it and I appreciate that.

Mike: So would you call yourselves a ska band?

Sascha: Um, no. We play ska music, we have some ska songs but I would not call us a ska band. Let’s say we play ska, punk rock, reggae and dixieland and I don’t think we play anymore or any less of one of them. Eventually I’d like people to think us like a band like Fishbone or something like that, where err, it’s just Fishbone, they’re not a ska band, they’re Fishbone. They play funk and they play ska and they play gospel and they play punk rock and metal and all that shit. I’d die happy if that’s how people thought of our band. Not that I don’t like ska music or anything like that but that’s not our intention…. But at the end of the day if someone wants to call us a ska punk band, that’s cool; I don’t give a fuck, as long as they like our band. Like I’m sure we share a lot of the same fans as Less Than Jake or Reel Big Fish or something like that but I don’t think we’re the same as those kinda bands.

Mike: So after touring the rest of Europe, what have you got planned next? Any new material?

Sascha: Yeah, when we get back we’ve got a show in Hawaii and then a tour in Japan with Lagwagon in January. So we’ll take the holidays off and then do that. Then we have the rest of January, February, March, April and however long it takes to get our new record done. We were trying to rush it to get in done for March or April so we could do the Warped Tour but, we talked to Fat Wreck Chords about it and were like; if it takes us two years to do this next record we’re gonna make sure it’s like…. We’re gonna spend a lot of time on it. We wanna write a lotta songs… not that we’re not happy with our past records but we just wanna make sure this one’s really special. So we’re gonna spend a lot of time so we’re not going to do the Warped Tour because we’re not going to have it ready in time and we’re not going to rush it just to get on the Warped Tour. And the Warped Tour is full of a bunch of emo bands right now anyway (laughter).

Mike: Not a fan then?

Sascha: Warped Tour? Yeah, it does whatever… it goes along with whatever the kids are into. It kinda dictates what the kids are into, but at the same time it’s kinda circular. It dictates what the kids are into but it also feeds off that as well, and err.. I’m not in any rush to spend three months of the summer listening to a bunch screaming. (laughter) But when we have a new record out I’d love to be on it, but I don’t wanna rush it just to get it out.

Mike: So have you written much new material?

Sascha: Yep. As far as songs that we can play all the way through, we only got two, one of which is a cover, err we have one minor kinda dixieland song and one err reggae song we’re covering. I got about thirty ideas and we work on ‘em most days during soundcheck if we’re not too hungover. So we’re working a little bit on tour but the real works gonna start once we get home. We’ll compile all the ideas and flush ‘em out and start writing a bunch of songs.

Mike: Ok, I think that’s about everything… any last words?

Sascha: Have a good time all the time. (laughter)

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]