If you want to know how to do it right in the DIY music scene you should probably call Blairstown, New Jersey's Survay Says! This seven piece ska outfit has, without representation, hit the scene with a vengeance. They played over 100 shows in 2011 alone, and when they bring their act to the Galaxy on March 13th it will be as part of their first Mid-West tour, a trek that will visit eight states over its 16 shows. They've also managed to play shows with the likes of legendary acts such as Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, and Bowling For Soup, all of whom they cite as influences, to name just a few. That's an impressive list of accomplishments by any measure.
The band told us that, "This tour came out of where every one of our other tours came from; our love of being together, playing our music, pleasing crowds and just maybe, moving up in this crazy music world." Being the first trip to the area was not without it's challenges though. "It was a little tough finding shows because we didn't really know anyone. It's completely new territory for us and we plan to keep returning as much as possible," they said, highlighting the work ethic that has served them so well.
While a month on the road sounds like a blast on paper, it isn't always quite so much fun. "Every tour has good shows and every tour has a few busts. Sometimes you get to open for your heroes (Reel Big Fish, Big D, etc.) and sometimes you have to sleep in a parking lot or a rest stop on a bench off of the highway." They also talked about the struggles back home when touring is a big part of your life. "We each have our own ways of supporting the band and ourselves. A few of us still take classes, a few of us are able keep a job despite all of the touring we do. The balance of band vs. everything else is an everyday struggle. It gets a little easier as the band gets more successful. It's hard to explain to your parents that touring in a ska band is your priority, especially when they learn it doesn't come with decent health benefits!"
Check em out while your reading punks!
Then, when you finally get to your destination, you have another whole level of worries. "I always hope when we come somewhere new to be greeted kindly and to not write us off the second we arrive. We realize even within our own ska & punk world we are different. We always treat everyone we meet with respect and kindness and we hope for the same thing in return. Every scene operates differently and changes constantly. Our home markets change almost semi-annually and we always try to appear in areas further away from home enough to make as big of an impact as any local band would. We've been lucky enough to be accepted in these circles more often than not," they said.
All of this work and effort will hopefully lead the band to the promised land, or at least today's facsimile of a promised land. "In the short term, our goals are to keep plugging along and survive while trying to be everywhere and anywhere we can. More long term goals include hopefully one day being able to support a tour with a more established band. The pipe dream is to live off of this band one day, be able to attain stability through the band. We're a rag tag bunch who don't come from a lot and were lucky enough to find something we love and are decent at."
The band brings their high energy pop punk influenced ska to the Galaxy as part of a great night of music that will also feature Atomic Potato, Misunderstood, & Ice Cream Socialist Party. Be sure to give em a listen, and then come to the party on March 13th at 7pm. It's an all ages $5.00 night of good times. Thanks to the band for taking some time to answer our questions, and we'll see you at the show!