New band The Skullers, started by Weehawken native and current Hoboken college student Jack Skuller, will release their debut EP “Meet The Skullers” in September. They already have several gigs lined up in the area including the famous Maxwell’s Tavern, The Hoboken Arts & Music Festival, and the North Jersey Indie Rock Festival.
The band is comprised of Gabriel Scholis-Fernandez on drums, Luigi Sardi on bass, and Skuller on vocals, guitar, and harmonica.
Making the band
Skuller, who attended the Weehawken schools, released his first single at the age of 14 on Bar/None Records, based in Weehawken.
Radio Disney took notice and sponsored a 15-city tour, garnering the attention of outlets from Consequence of Sound to Teen Vogue to American Songwriter. Then in 2014 Skuller’s songwriting and musicianship was further recognized by the Songwriters Hall of Fame who awarded him the 2014 Holly Prize in tribute to the legacy of Buddy Holly.
But Skuller decided to make a change and pause the solo career for his latest project.
“I felt like it was time to do something collaborative,” said Skuller. “I felt where my song writing was at, it was the best way to show people what I was ready for.”
The Skullers, much like their front man, channel a powerful blend of blues-soaked modern rock with a rockabilly soul.
Skuller said “I had been looking for a long time,” for musicians with whom he could start a band.
“I saw videos of this drummer on YouTube and I reached out to him and he introduced me to this bass player, Luigi, who was really good, and we decided to give it a try,” said Skuller. “It’s funny because this is not the typical way you start a band. You think about a bunch of guys or friends hanging out in the basement or garage and they decide to pick up some instruments and have some fun. We had to click on a musical level right at the get-go.”
He added, “We are a completely Jersey-based band. We are based in Hoboken and Weehawken. I love it because it’s the best place to have as a nucleus for your music.”
A unique sound
The band will release their debut EP on Sept. 22.
“It’s called Meet the Skullers because I want people to understand this new chapter in my career,” said Skuller.
The single “Meet Me In Memphis” made its exclusive radio premiere on WFMU on Aug. 21 and followed the release of their debut single “Can We Do That Again.”
The Skullers entered the studio this past spring with four time Grammy nominated producer Joel Hamilton (The Black Keys, Highly Suspect, Pretty Lights, Tom Waits).
“The EP is five songs, and we were in the studio with Joel Hamilton, who is a Grammy-nominated producer,” said Skuller. “It was a little intimidating at first, but working with him was unbelievable. He worked with us and was able to elicit strongest possible performance from us.”
“I think Joel’s tack has always been, he will never try and change a core of what an artist wants to do he just makes it better,” said Skuller.
He said the bands music pulls from a variety of genres and experiences, which has opened him up to new sounds.
“It’s really interesting because when I’m writing the songs, I am coming from a blues/rockabilly influence. That’s how I hear it as I’m writing,” said Skuller. “That’s the source of my songwriting and then you mix it with bass playing from a guy like Luigi, whose played in punk bands his whole life and hits the strings the way he does, and it’s a different influence that creates a different sound. It just comes together really well. I’ve never had so many people come up to me in shows and talk about the bass.”
He noted, “We come from different places, and it’s funny that blues is the first generation of punk in a way. But it’s been gelling and the genres have been clashing in a positive way.”
The band will perform at Maxwell’s Tavern in Hoboken on Sept. 9, North Jersey Indie Rock Festival in Jersey City on Sept. 23, and the Hoboken Arts & Music Festival on Sept. 24.
“I love playing Maxwell’s,” said Skuller. “The local energy there that’s very unique. The feeling of being on that stage, being home, means a lot to us.”
For more information go to http://www.theskullers.com/.
Marilyn Baer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.