AKA The Syndicate are post-millennial ska-punk supergroup born from a health-scare and launched during a global pandemic.
Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gary Knight launched the project in 2019 after being diagnosed with skin cancer. It was the impetus to finish a set of songs he’d been sitting on for a few years. “Luckily it was not malignant”, he explains. “The spot was removed in May and gave me the ‘kick up the arse’ I needed to finally complete some songs I’d had in my head for ages.”
An accomplished touring musician playing in a busy ska-covers act The Collective AKA in the south east, Gary has shared the stage with many successful musicians and amassed a wealth of friends and contacts. With one completed song under his belt he went back to an old haunt, Panther Studios in Reigate, owned by punk and psychobilly royalty, Richard Coppen (Tenpole Tudor/King Kurt/The Weird Things). “Once we’d nailed one, I knew we had to do more and so it began.”
“I'd recorded a song at home which I really thought would benefit from a Specials style, Roddy Radiation guitar riff. We were scrambling around asking a few people if they could do it when I remembered that I’d played a festival with Roddy himself and there’d be none better. I cheekily asked him, and to my amazement and eternal gratitude, he said yes. He got on the train and came down to Panther to record a couple of songs. Ken Morland (singer with my band The Collective AKA) sang on one, Aaron (The Trojan Beats) sung the other, then another.... it was spiraling."
“Richard plays in the Weird Things with Martin Parrot, so he was asked to drum on a few tracks. Martin suggested one track would suit Paul Gray (The Damned) and his bass playing style and so Paul got involved. Before long we had a line-up of performers that could easily fill its own festival schedule.”
14 musicians and 8 songs later… and everyone gets locked down. One song in particular was getting a lot of attention, it seemed to reflect the times, and so they put together a video remotely, an isolation music video. ‘Hands Up (Who's Coming With Me?)’ launched AKA The Syndicate on an unsuspecting public. With little fanfare and no professional help, all done very DIY - the video amassed thousands of views and likes on social media platforms.
Gary says, “The response has been amazing so far. We’re now all itching to get the album out!"