HANDS UP, WHO'S COMING WITH US?...
HANDS UP WHO'S COMING WITH US?...
AKA THE SYNDICATE emerges as a dynamic post-millennial ska-punk supergroup, born amidst a health scare and propelled forward by the challenges of a global pandemic. What's life without a little adventure, right?
Mastermind behind the music, Gary Knight, a talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, initiated the project in 2019, fuelled by a diagnosis of skin cancer. This unexpected twist gave him the push needed to finalize a collection of songs that had been brewing within him for years. "Fortunately, it wasn't malignant," he reassures. "The health scare in May became the catalyst to bring to life the songs that had been lingering in my mind."
With a solid background as a touring musician, prominently featured in the vibrant ska-covers band The Collective AKA in the South East scene, Gary had already graced stages alongside numerous accomplished musicians, cultivating a network of friends and connections. Armed with one completed song, he returned to Panther Studios in Reigate, a familiar creative haven owned by punk and psychobilly luminary, Richard Coppen (Tenpole Tudor/King Kurt/The Weird Things). "Once the first piece clicked into place, I felt the urge to create more, and so the journey began."
"I had recorded a track at home that was practically begging for a Specials-esque touch, a Roddy Radiation guitar riff. After some searching around, it hit me that I had crossed paths with Roddy himself at a festival. It was a long shot, but I asked him, and to my astonishment and eternal gratitude, he agreed. Roddy hopped on a train and joined us at Panther Studios to lay down tracks. Ken Morland, the lead vocalist of my band The Collective AKA, lent his vocals to one piece, while Aaron TwoTone Malone (The Trojan Beats) took the reins for another... and then another... The momentum was building."
"Richard is also a member of The Weird Things with Martin Parrot, who we recruited to drum on several tracks. Martin's suggestion led us to Paul Gray (The Damned), a bass virtuoso whose style perfectly complemented a specific track. Soon enough, we had assembled a line up of performers who could easily curate their own festival."
After 14 musicians and 8 songs, fate intervened with a lockdown, confining everyone. One song stood out, capturing the zeitgeist of the times. In response, the group pieced together a remote music video, an anthem of isolation titled 'Hands Up (Who's Coming With Me?)'. This marked AKA The Syndicate's unanticipated debut, capturing attention with a DIY video that garnered thousands of views and likes across social media. Following this triumph, the sequel, 'Two Sides Of The City' with Laura Betts taking lead vocals, was unveiled in March 2021, amassing hundreds of thousands of views on various social platforms. AKA The Syndicate had made their grand entrance and showed no signs of fading.
Since then, AKA The Syndicate has rocked the stage as the opening act for Bad Manners at the Concorde 2 in Brighton, played at the iconic Dublin Castle, Skamouth, Blam Blam Fever, and also Freedom Sounds Festival in Cologne. The second album features legendary musicians Big Jim Paterson from Dexy's Midnight Runners and Monty Neysmith from Symarip.
The eponymous debut album of AKA The Syndicate made its mark in September 2021. Brace yourselves for Album 2, titled 'It's Our World', released in November 2023.
Get ready to groove to the future of ska and reggae!