Culture | Band Profile: Stop Drop ‘N’ Skank

Ska/Reggae/Punk

Band members: Dan Cohen (vocals/guitar), Aaron Zack (bass), Gavin Firsker (drums), Stefan Babcock (guitar/vocals), Andy Dolgin (trombone/vocals), Julia Gellman (trumpet/vocals), Stacey Udarchik (trumpet)

Sounds like: Nothing you’ve ever heard before!! We define ourselves as a ska/reggae/punk band, but when you hear us, you hear lots of different sounds.

Record label: Independent

Upcoming shows: CD release show March 20 at l’Absynthe (1738 St. Denis), 8 p.m.

Influences:

All seven of us bring our own personal musical influences to the band, which is what makes our sound unique. We use a variety of styles, ranging from songs with jazzy horns, hip-hop drum beats, dub-sounding bass lines, or lots of harmonizing vocals. Each song is really different and represents the multiple musical tastes of each member. To name a few bands we admire: Streetlight Manifesto, Manu Chao, Staylefish, Youngblood Brass Band, RX Bandits, Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Together since:

The beginning of 2005. After some rotations and switches in members, we came to be the seven-piece that we are today.

Best gig so far:

We’ve never played in Montreal before, but we’re expecting our gig at L’Absynthe to be a great show with a great turn-out in terms of both audience members and bands. Our best shows so far have been in our hometown, Toronto, opening for some great and popular bands. Of course, our Toronto CD release show coming up this weekend will be a major highlight and landmark in our musical career.

What do you think sets you apart from other student bands?

We’re a really original band, because we play ska, we have a full horn section, and we all approach our involvement in the band very seriously. We play shows constantly (literally, almost every weekend), and many of us use school as a resource to complement what we do in the band.

What can we expect from the band in the near future?

Well, after this weekend we’ll have released our first CD and we’re definitely expecting some momentum from that. From that weekend for over a month we’ll be touring Ontario and Quebec. We’re hoping to get signed, and we’ll probably be releasing a full length album in the next year or so. Mostly, our fans know us for our energetic live performances, so we’re really excited to start touring extensively this year, to really show new fans just how great our shows are.

Strangest thing that’s ever happened during a show?

In our first year of playing, we had a gig at the Docks in Toronto. The stage was probably the biggest we had ever played at the time and at the end of our set, I (Julia) was so excited that I started running around the stage in circles. Unfortunately, I’m really clumsy, and didn’t notice all the cords for our instruments on the stage. I slipped, sort of went flying and fell on my ass. I got right back up and hoped that nobody saw, but it had actually been filmed, and the band will never let me forget it.

If you could invite any musician to perform with you, who would it be?

Probably some old school reggae artists – we’ve always wanted someone who can do dub-style raps, or maybe a big band horn ensemble to really fill out the horn section. Or David Bowie.

If the band was on Survivor, who would win? Who would be voted out of the tribe?

Gavin would probably win because he’s, like, the secret talent machine at the back of the stage every show. Nobody ever sees the drummer hidden behind all of us dancing around at the front, but he’d definitely surprise us all with some sort of superpower or something. As for being voted off… seven members in a band is definitely a challenge, but nobody’s getting voted off. Overall, we get along really well and our dynamic is really perfect in terms of creativity, energy, and involvement.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Hopefully we’ll see lots of McGill students at the show on March 20th! It’ll be a great night!


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