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All Nite Skate: Confident in Their “Western Shame”
By Sean Smith
Fort Wayne Reader
To put it simply, All Nite Skate are one of Fort Wayne’s most unique bands. Omar (guitar), Cole (bass, banjo and keyboards), Darcy (keyboards, bells, and accordion), Bob (guitar and harmonica) and Kay (drums) create the sort of music you would normally hear after road-tripping two or three hours in any direction. When I heard them live, my first thought was: “Thank goodness I don’t hafta drive to Chicago to hear Silver Mt. Zion anymore!’ While they are the first to admit that their new album, Western Shame, is a move away from that sort of sound, it still contains enough of that original vibe that hooked me in the first place.
Omar and Cole — friends who had played together since high school — formed All Nite Skate about two years ago. Cole introduced Omar to guitarist Bob Haddad and, according to Omar, they clicked right away. “He was the exact sort of guitarist that I get along with perfectly,” he says. “We seemed to be on the same wavelength at the start.” After about a month of coming up with different ideas, Bob introduced them to Darcy, Kay, and Michelle (who left the band last year). “Musically, we seemed to work like a well -oiled machine,” Omar adds. “It was sort of scary.”
Though Kay, Bob and Omar keep busy in side projects (the Rockefeller Four for Kay; the Poseidon Adventure for Bob; and Omar’s home-recorded dance/pop project House of Bread), it’s as All Nite Skate that they are building a name for themselves. With the release of Western Shame set for October 20th (with a release party at the Brass Rail that night), I talked to All Nite Skate about how it all began and where it’s hopefully going to take them.
FWR: What were the early live shows like?
Omar: Awkward, nervous, and incredibly spacey. I just remember our first shows being much more ambient, and musically repetitive. I don't mean repetitive in a boring way, but in a way that tended to test the audience. We're much more exciting to watch nowadays.
FWR: Any memorable gigs thus far?
Kay: The Gig in Muncie when we showed up expecting to play a normal show and it turned out to be a battle of the bands...and we won! The show at the Southgate House in Kentucky we just had a blast. Listening to the other bands, drinking cheap beer in the bar and hangin’ out with the lunch lady bartenders who'd seen everything.
FWR: Do you have any favorite venues?
Kay: We've only played there once, but I like Kaysan's. The room sounds good.
Darcy: I always love playing shows at The Brass Rail. The bartenders are great and the bands that we play with there are usually pretty good. We've played some great out of town venues. The Mahoney Tabernacle, rest in peace. The Mahoney Brothel in Bloomington and The Firehouse, even though our set was awful.
FWR: You played the premiere party for John Commorato Jr.’s film Valentine
Darcy: The premiere was a wonderful experience. It incorporated several artistic mediums. Music, film and art. It was very accessible to the general public; we made some fans that were pretty much there to see the film, and vice versa. John (Commorato) has always been a big supporter and creator of the arts in Fort Wayne, and he had mentioned to us that he wanted to incorporate local music into the whole film experience.
FWR: How long did you work on the album?
Kay: Since we finished the last one, last year. Songs gradually accrue in this band, like a plant that grows slowly in the desert or a rusting bumper in a field. We recorded it at Off The Cuff Sound, Jason Davis' analog studio. Recording to tape is cool. I thought all that hype about ‘the warm sound of tape’ was just B.S. until I heard it with my own ears.
Omar: The actual recording lasted 3 days. Quick, but not exactly painless. But Jason (Davis) is awesome. His studio is awesome.
FWR: What would you say are the big differences between the E.P. and the album?
Omar: A lot more attention was paid to details on Western Shame. We focused on adding everything we could to make sure every song lived up to its potential. It's a lot more layered. Musically, the album is much more varied. I think there is something for everyone on it. I wasn't sure about putting some of the more short and sweet songs on the album, but in sequence, it works very well. It's much more of a roller coaster. The E.P. seemed to be more of a test. This one is a trip to an amusement park.
Darcy: We've moved away from the “Explosions In the Sky” sound, and have a totally different sound that goes from happy and poppy to dark, metal-y and haunting. Still all instrumental. We've added some hand clapping, tambourine to the more up-tempo songs, and piano, the sound of crickets chirping to the slower songs.
FWR: How do songs form within the band?
Kay: I'm the only one that doesn't write songs in the band and I'm kinda relieved. I enjoy just coming up with beats for existing tunes.
Darcy: It usually starts with someone writing a melody, and then we all just write our own parts to enhance that melody. We've all contributed ideas and collaborated when it comes to putting everything together to form a song. We're a pretty cohesive band, so we're not afraid to speak up when an idea is or isn't working.
FWR: Where do you see the band going?
Cole: Get bigger and be more professional with it, like a business but still having fun. Lately, I have been forgetting that. You know, having fun.
Omar: I would love to be able to play a show in a city I've never been to before, and have a few strangers show up to see us play because they like our records.
Darcy: We'd ultimately like to be signed by a label that aptly represents the type of sound that we're after.
For more info, check out: www.allniteskate.com