Editor’s Note: It was a chilly night at The Garage in Burnsville, Minnesota as alternative rock upstarts Super Whatevr was getting ready to open up the night. The thing about Minnesota is that it’s becoming one of the more vibrant music scenes in the United States, which is refreshing in the grand scheme of things. Super Whatevr was providing direct support for Movements along with Can’t Swim and Gleemer, as they have made wonderful alternative rock that showcases influences of The Wonder Years and Weezer. This is such an in-depth interview with frontman and guitarist Skyler McKee as we discuss Christianity, philosophy, music therapy, and their music. Fans can find Super Whatevr at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: How has the tour been going so far?
Skyler: It’s been real good, just screwing around at the venue, waiting for the show to start.
Madness To Creation: Tell me who you are and what you do in Super Whatevr
Skyler: I’m Skyler, and I sing and play guitar in Super Whatevr.
Madness To Creation: What does a typical day for Supe Whatevr look like?
Skyler: At home, we all work full time at odd jobs, or whatever we can get our hands on, this is the first tour that I’ve had with this lineup, and it’s been an amazing amount of fun. On tour, it looks like we’re sleeping as much as possible, which isn’t much and driving throughout the day. I’m trying to switch that to where we can drive through the night so we can spend some time in these cities, a lot of driving and a lot of losing our minds, and then we play shows.
Madness To Creation: What is the most fun aspect about touring?
Skyler: Hanging out with Sam.
Madness To Creation: What do you and Sam like to do?
Skyler: Talk about philosophy and our problems. *laughs* I just hang out with all of these guys as they are some of my closest friends. My favorite part is just pissing around and being silly and having fun, but I also really like the performance aspect, I was with an old group where those people didn’t really support me or respected me, back in the day it was just about the performance, the performance was the best part, nothing else matters, but now I get the opportunity to be with my friends and hanging out with my friends is the best part. I love being able to help people with my lyrics, grow as an artist, and performing in front of people, which is amazing.
Madness To Creation: You said that you liked talking about philosophy, what are some philosophers that you subscribe to or that you have been studying?
Skyler: I just finished about quantum physics and alternate realities, that’s really fun. For me, I like Kurt Vonnegut, which isn’t really philosophy but anything random really, I like thinking.
Madness To Creation: Would you say that’s what some of the subject matter in your songs are?
Skyler: The songs really tackle interpersonal relationships, I’ve been going to therapy for two and a half years now, so it’s about getting through the problems and giving people practical ways to tackle them for their growth, so a lot of it lyrically plays on common philosophy, nothing too abstract.
Madness To Creation: What is the biggest aspect that you have learned in this journey?
Skyler: I have learned so much, but that I don’t need to hate myself and that self-respect is not only something that is necessary in your life, but something that helps you do anything else. I used to really struggle with self-hatred, shame, fear, all of these things, and a lot of it I’ve been able to grow out of. I come from a Christian background, so it’s kind of a faith-based therapy that I go to, I don’t struggle with jealousy anywhere, I don’t struggle with a lot of these things. I guess whatever is on the cusp of being healed is what I would really like to work on, but just coming out of it and thinking “wow, therapy works”.
Madness To Creation: You said you came from a Christian background, is that still a big part of your life?
Skyler: Yeah, personally yes. Super Whatevr as a whole isn’t a Christian band, but I’m a Christian person and I just want to help people, it’s a suicide prevention and awarness project, the only faith-based undertones are my own faith, but it’s not a Christian band, it’s a secular band trying to help people in the best way possible. That’s what I resound with and hopefully that helps people. If you can find healing in some other aspect, I totally respect that.
Madness To Creation: Do you have fans that come up to you and say that your music has helped me get through this or that?
Skyler: We’re a very young band and have been only going at it for about two years, but it’s pretty astounding on how many people have actually listened to the words and have said that certain phrasings that I have said or certain melodies or lines have helped them out of crappy situations. We’re not an overtly helping people therapy band, but everything in the lyrics and in the background is all about that, so I think fans have really started to pick up on it.
Madness To Creation: Musically, who would you say is your biggest influence?
Skyler: It’s all over the place with the whole band, but personally, I’ve learned to choose three different artists per record that I just let it permeate and take influence from, so the full-length was Manchester Orchestra, Cage The Elephant, and Tokyo Police Club, and I dabble a little bit with Black Sabbath, so there’s a lot of rock and indie-rock undertones, so that would be the biggest influences on the full-length, but there will be three different influences on the next album, and so on. It’s a good model for me to draw from those influences but not get too pigeonholed.
Madness To Creation: How would you say the response has been to the recently released “Never Nothing” record?
Skyler: I still don’t know what to expect, it’s the first full-length that I have ever put out in my entire life, so I think it’s good. I don’t really have a gauge because it’s our first album, if we had another album we could say “oh, it’s better or it’s worse”, people have been fans of the EP, people have really resonated with this record. The album artwork has been drawing people in, so we’ve been getting fans that way. I don’t know what is a healthy number of people to like it, we have fans in general, which is blowing my mind. I’m 100% happy, if one person would’ve liked it, I would’ve been happy, we’re getting good responses.
Madness To Creation: You all recently helped Movements out? What happened there?
Skyler: Pat, the singer of Movements, had an allergic reaction when he was getting medication, he got hit in the mouth with the mic, so it was getting infected so he was taking medication, he was allergic to it, so it made his lips swell up like crazy. Our photographer got a text and said “hey, something is happening, we might have to cancel the show”, and then I said, “I can sing, why don’t I just sing”, myself and the Movements’ photographer and a couple of other people just bounced in and sang all of the Movements songs and it was really fun, it was a great once in a lifetime experience.
Madness To Creation: How did the crowd respond to it?
Skyler: Really good. A good amount of people refunded their tickets because they wanted to see Pat, and I fully respect that, but the people that were there loved it, they were totally excited, they realized that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Super Whatevr is smaller, but it was cool to see that interaction with the whole team banding together to try to accomplish something to make sure that the end product is cool.
Madness To Creation: Super Whatevr recently released the music video for “Telelevision”, can you take us into that song and music video?
Skyler: “Telelevision” is about, me not condoning doing drugs but my friend who had ADD at the time was taking Ritalin, and he was like, “you have ADD, you should take one”, so I did which was against my better judgment, so I’ve never done any drugs which aren’t prescription, I don’t partake really, but I did, and it was bad, so I wrote that song while I was trying to chug a bunch of water and not feel like a crazy person taking other people’s medication, but the song is just about myself struggling really bad with depression at the time, and this was before I started going to therapy, and I wrote it five years ago, and it’s about feeling that deep sorrow and that hole in your chest of just wanting to die, it’s like, “I don’t want to die, but I feel like I’m going to die”, there’s that inner self that is telling you how to act and there’s that outer self that doesn’t have to listen, so it’s just me fighting with that, it was me writing about actually fighting it so I could put it down on paper and understand what was going on.
Madness To Creation: When you feel those feelings, what are some things to help you get through it?
Skyler: Writing helps a lot, I write subconsciously, and I write to a format that I make, and think, “oh, that’s how I’m feeling”. I don’t really set out to write about a certain topic, whatever is happening at the moment, I’ll write about how I’m feeling, and then I’ll read it back. Therapy helps a lot because there are tools that I didn’t have, there are certain things that I can ask myself and certain things that I can check up with myself with, are these truths in my life or are these just lies that I’m believing. That has helped a lot because I was raised without those tools, I was raised with “sink or swim, figure it out”.
Madness To Creation: Spring Break is around the corner, what is your favorite Spring Break memory?
Skyler: It would just be nice to tour in the spring and fall, and just miss all of the winter dates and all of the summer dates, just be a band when it’s convenient. *laughs* Super Whatevr started in the spring, that was a cool memory. These songs, I wrote five or six years ago, along with the second album, which is already written, I’m just waiting to record it. A lot of that came out of a place during spring where I was talking to a friend and I was like, “hey check out my songs”, and he was like, “hey cool, you should record these”. Just found random people, started to play shows and eight months later, we got signed.
Madness To Creation: If your fans were right here surrounding us in this interview, what would you say to them?
Skyler: It’s still pretty weird to me that people have been resonating with our music, I wrote it so long ago, and I recorded it two years ago, and I was just sitting on material and not expecting anything out of this, because I’ve been in so many bands that no one gave a crap about. I’ve been a bassist my entire life, I never was the singer, but I have this opportunity and I just want to be delicate because I realize that I actually have a say in people’s lives now more than ever because people are listening, I just want to be genuine and caring about those emotions because I remember and still am in a position where I fan over other people and there are certain things that they have said that have devastated me, they might have been having a bad day or something, but that didn’t matter to me, I was 16 and they hurt my feelings. I was talking to a girl the other day, and she was like, “I hate tomatoes”, the therapy in me was like, “why do you hate tomatoes”, and she was like, “I wish I liked tomatoes”, and I was like, “were your parents controlling of you when you were little”, and she was like, “really controlling”, and I was like, “were you not heard as a kid”, and she was like, ” yeah and my sisters weren’t”, and I was like, “you don’t like tomatoes because it’s the one thing you could control, and you can forgive your parents if you just eat tomatoes”, and she was like, “that’s weird, but okay”, and it’s just one of those things where that therapist in me wants to go in and just help out, because a lot of action and reaction is based on pain, but it doesn’t have to be hurtful things, I want to be able to nurture that and not just drop people. People are being vulnerable and you want to nurture that.
Madness To Creation: Anything else you would like to add in regards to where people can find Super Whatevr?
Skyler: I use Instagram the most, so if you want to follow me @superwhatevr on Instagram, go ahead and do that. I immediately get back to you on comments and messages on Instagram.
Super Whatevr is still providing support on the “Feel Something” tour featuring Movements, Can’t Swim, and Gleemer. Check out tour dates below!
Sunday, March 25th- Brighton Music Hall in Allston, Massachusetts
Tuesday, March 27th- Camel in Richmond, Virginia
Wednesday, March 28th- Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina(also on the bill I The Mighty and Don Broco)
Thursday, March 29th- Crowbar in Tampa, Florida
Friday, March 30th- The Abbey in Orlando, Florida
Saturday, March 31st- The Masquerade in Atlanta, Georgia
Monday, April 2nd- White Oak Music Hall in Houston, Texas
Tuesday, April 3rd- Dirty 30 in Dallas, Texas
Wednesday, April 4th- Barracuda in Austin, Texas
Friday, April 6th- Underground @ The Nile in Phoenix, Arizona
Saturday, April 7th- Glass House in Pomona, California
For tickets and further information for any of the shows listed above, click here!