From their energetic performances to their hilarious off-stage conversations, the five members of The Ska-Skank Redemption are full of personality.
Raising their horns and dancing on stage, the young college students emit a powerful energy when they perform, and it's contagious. When they rocked O'Really's Irish Pub in Grand Forks last month, the band had show-goers young and old on their feet dancing and singing along to old favorites like "Never Gonna Give You Up," "Shout," and "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da."
Coming from a Friday night show in Rochester, Minn., they'll return to Grand Forks Saturday for a 9:30 p.m. show at El Roco, where they hope to attract a large energetic crowd.
From their personalities, it may look like these guys are all fun and games, but from their solid sound, it's obvious they are hardworking and dedicated.
They've had shows booked every weekend from early October to late November, and they have no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
Practicing once a week at "The Skank House," they're constantly adding more tunes to their set lists, and they're hoping to continue booking more shows throughout the region.
Based out of Fargo-Moorhead, they've traveled to more than 20 cities around the Midwest, and they gained regional attention this summer when they performed Vans Warped Tour in Shakopee, Minn., and Sonshine Music Festival in Willmar, Minn.
In July, they also released their first EP "Wicked Bees," which includes five original songs recorded at Pound Sound in St. Paul with engineer Jeremy Tappero.
I sat down with the guys before a Friday night show at the Pickled Parrot in Fargo -- where they played their first bar gig about a year ago -- to learn more about their band and their inspiration behind "Wicked Bees."
• First of all, can you guys tell me how Ska-Skank Redemption was formed?
Andrew: That kind of depends on what you're asking. We first formed in the fall of 2011 because we had our first show ever. We played MSUM's Battle of the Bands. How we formed, or how we met, or how we came together is a completely different story.
• So, what's that story?
Dan: I met (Andrew) online. It (goes) way back to when Green Day came to town... At every single show, they bring up one fan from the audience to come up and play guitar, and I got picked. So, (Andrew) went online and found the Youtube video... He found me on Facebook and said I saw you at Green Day... So, that's how I met Andrew.
How I met Clyde, well, one day I went to Best Buy actually. I was jamming at Best Buy, I was kind of doing my thing, and this kid that I didn't even know at all comes over and starts playing right next to me. Doesn't really say anything, just starts playing exactly what I'm playing. Eventually, I was like what's your name man, we should start a band. The analogy I use for me and Clyde is it was like a musical love at first sight, serendipity. And me and Andrew was more of like a match.com.
Andrew: So, after me and Dan got together, found each other, you know after the sparks started flying, basically... Dan knew Clyde, and I said well I know somebody who can play trumpet, and he said I know someone who can play trombone. A few other people have floated in and out, but what you see now is pretty much what we've stuck with.n So, why Ska-Skank Redemption?
Clyde: I just woke up one day and after jamming with Dan and Andrew for awhile we still didn't have a name, and I just came up one day and said "Ska Skank Redemption, Morgan Freeman?" Everybody loved it, and then literally a month later, we found out there's multiple Ska Skank Redemptions, but they're gone now, we win.
• So, you guys recently released your first EP, and it's awesome. Can you tell me a little about that and the process behind it?
Dan: Doing a professional EP was something we all knew we wanted to do. It was something we all felt pretty strongly about. If we were going to put anything out, we wanted it to be as good as possible, so we went down to the cities to get it done. And it was great. All the songs were just songs we'd started playing over the past year. We'd probably been a band for over a year before we made the EP, so we were really comfortable with all of the songs on there.
Clyde: We were able to do it so efficiently we finished a day ahead of time.
Brian: We raised some of the money on Kickstarter.com and took some cuts from our bar gigs around the end of the school year.
• Now, that you have your first EP out, what's next for you guys?
Dorian: I think the near future, the plan is to just write more songs.
Brian: I think we've got enough for another EP. Then, it comes down to if we want to do another EP or a full album.
Andrew: I think the most important thing is that we just keep on keeping on.
Clyde: Keep on skankin'.
Andrew: The shows keep coming. The people on Facebook keep coming... we have so much more we can do. Literally, the sky is the limit for us right now.
All: Keep calm and skank on.
If you go:
• What: The Ska-Skank Redemption returns to Grand Forks.
• When: 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
• Where: El Roco, 1730 13th Avenue North, Grand Forks.
• Cost: No cover charge.
Dan Christianson, Guitar and lead vocals
• Age: 22.
• Hometown: Grand Forks.
• Favorite artist/musical influences: Red Hot Chili Peppers and Atmosphere.
Brian Glur, Trumpet and vocals
• Age: 22.
• Hometown: Fargo.
• Favorite artist/musical influences: Pentatonix.
Dorian Walker, Trombone and vocals
• Age: 22.
• Hometown: Brookings, S.D.
• Favorite artist/musical influences: Radiohead, The Flaming Lips, LCD Soundsystem.
Clyde Schuman, Bass guitar and vocals
• Age: 20.
• Hometown: Moorhead.
• Favorite artist/musical influences: Sublime.
Andrew Ochoa, Drums
• Age: 22.
• Hometown: Fargo.
• Favorite artist/musical influences: The Weeknd and Green Day.
Maki covers arts and entertainment and life and style. Call her at (701) 780-1122, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1122 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.