Volume 95, Issue 39

Friday, November 9, 2001
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Noise Conspiracy aims left

Play lacks more than a convincing plot

Planet Smashers: five guys in a van

You perv! That one-eyed green thing is a monster

Planet Smashers: five guys in a van

By Stephen Pizzale
Gazette Staff

Montreal's Planet Smashers began their intergalactic journey in 1994. Since then, they've come a long way with four albums and tours across Canada, the United States and Europe.

"We're not a traditional ska band – you can hear the sort of angst of a punk rock element in our music," frontman Matt Collyer says. "We're not really a punk band, we're not even ska punk. We don't step on the distortion and make a lot of noise. We're not really like the standard third wave band either."

Despite living in Quebec, the Planet Smashers don't feel an added pressure to produce bilingual music.

"There's pressure, but you don't have to do it. The kids would almost look down on us if we were to put out a French record because it means we are kind of selling out in their minds," Collyer explains.

Collyer & Co. also shrug off the pressure of playing radio-friendly music. "We know what it takes to get on the radio and sometimes it's like, 'aw man, that change is too out there. If this song has any chance of getting radio play, they won't play it 'cause of that part,'" he says. "But, normally it only comes to two or three songs on the whole album where we would actually say something like that."

With a reputation as a "party band," the Planet Smashers sometimes find being labelled as such has "both helped and hindered" them.

Collyer notes reputation made it easier to get quick gigs when they were first starting out, but "when you're trying to book downtown Toronto, they want a real band. So we think of [our band] as somewhere in between and we kinda play both cards."

After experiencing the trials of introducing their music to new audiences in both the United States and Europe, Collyer sometimes finds playing to new audiences advantageous.

"We've played areas where they've never heard of us and those are some of the best shows. You really gotta go out there and get 'em," he says.

"At the same time, they don't know when you screw up, so you kinda get away with murder. If you do that in Montreal, kids will start pointing at you and laughing. It's fun playing for people that know what your music's like, but at the same time, its restrictive," Collyer explains.

Since their first tour, the Planet Smashers have learned a lot of road lessons. The stress of five guys living and travelling for hundreds of kilometres packed in a little van often takes its toll and, as Collyer says, you have to learn to relax and have fun.

Still, the fine balance of work and fun ensures a good time for both band and audience, Collyer says.

"You're gonna laugh, you're gonna have fun and you're gonna see a lot of hot girls!"

Planet Smashers hit the stage at Call the Office this Saturday. Admission is $7.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department:

Copyright The Gazette 2001