For years, the Melbourne Ska Orchestra have been delivering good vibes and even better tunes thanks to their expansive lineup full of exceptional musicians.

For 16 years now, the Melbourne Ska Orchestra have been one of the most enigmatic, exciting, and immersive bands on the scene, dishing out infectious tunes and delivering raucous live shows at every turn.

While many folks would think the collective might have taken a bit of time off following their ambitious album, One Year Of Ska (which featured them releasing a brand new song every week throughout 2018), their recent ARIA Award for Best World Music Album has clearly made them even more eager to do what they do best.

With up to 25 musicians performing onstage at a time, it can quickly become a logistical nightmare to have a band of this calibre not only hitting up your venue, but just hitting the road in general.

Having recently released their single ‘Good Days Bad Days’, the ARIA Award-winning collective decided to fly in the face of logistics and planning and announced a massive national tour for 2020.

To celebrate the new single and tour, we had a chat with the group to learn a little bit more about why they’re such an amazing group, and a few of the burning questions you’ve always wanted to ask.

Check out ‘Good Days Bad Days’ by the Melbourne Ska Orchestra:

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How did your artist name come about?

The concept for the Melbourne Ska Orchestra came together to pay tribute to the genre we loved so much.

1963 was kind of an unofficial year when ska hit the planet on a big scale with Millie Small’s ‘My Boy Lollipop’. So 2003 saw the 40th anniversary and my friend Mohair Slim and I decided to throw a massive party to celebrate.

We had no idea so many musicians would want to join let alone it becoming a fully fledged recording/touring unit!

How would you describe your music to your grandma?

“Yo Grandma, check out this hip shaking upbeat sound!”

An uplifting joyous celebration of life through music. It’s important that we connect on many different levels.

Tell us about a few of your tracks; their titles and what they’re about?

Ha! Where to start…

‘Get Smart’ is one of our first singles and a fantastic film clip. This ska version of the TV sitcom theme is a prime example of the harmonic explosive sound of the orchestra that grabs you by the belt straps and whisks you into a jerking mess.

‘He’s A Tripper’. This a classic MSO hybrid incorporating the Cumbia rhythm with our own twist of ska. Dedicated to Lee Perry and James Brown, it talks of the fine line between genius and madness.

‘Good Days Bad Days’ is our latest single and a sweet combination of a fresh pulsating groove implying the old school ska rhythm while being relevant with the universal lyric theme. This works a treat live…we love peeps singing along

Check out the Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s cover of the ‘Get Smart’ theme:

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What do you love about your hometown?

Melbourne is a beautiful multicultural village that has been consistent with its diversity in music. Good food, enough variation on the weather (even in one day) and far enough away from the rest of the world to feel strategically safe!

Career highlight so far?

Winning ARIAs for all the hard work is pretty spesh…

Fave non-music hobby?

The orchestra consists of many and varied members dabbling in acupuncture, upholstery, bird watching, mushroom foraging, pushing the boundaries of the perceptual experience, and so much more. I like fishing.

What’s on your dream rider? 

See previous answer for a hint…

Dream music collaboration?

Jerry Dammers founder of The Specials. I think he was a real tripper in the best sense.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, experimenting with a new song idea. Pretty much nothing changing just better at it. I am living the dream right now!

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

‘Israelites’ by Desmond Dekker. Good luck if you can find it.

What’s on the cards for the future?

I’ll just contact my local clairvoyant and see what unfolds… but I’m feeling it will be an expansion of the creative journey we are on, constantly fine tuning the bubble to keep things fresh.

European tour, a feature film, children’s project and a step up with what we could do live. Infinite possibilities!!

Check out the Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s ‘He’s A Tripper’:

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Melbourne Ska Orchestra National Tour

Friday, February 28th, 2020
Mullumbimby Civic Hall, NSW (18+)

Saturday, February 29th, 2020
The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD (18+)

Sunday, March 1st, 2020
Solbar, Maroochydore, QLD (18+)

Thursday, March 12th, 2020
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW (18+)

Friday, March 13th, 2020
Manning Bar, Sydney, NSW (18+)

Saturday, March 14th, 2020
Anita’s Theatre, Wollongong, NSW (AA – U18 must be accompanied by legal guardian)

Sunday, March 15th, 2020
UC Refectory, Canberra, ACT (18+)

Friday, April 17th, 2020
Freo Social, Fremantle, WA (18+)

Saturday, April 18th, 2020
Fairbridge Festival, Pinjarra, WA (18+)

Friday, May 1st, 2020
The Forum, Melbourne, VIC (18+)

Tickets on sale now from the Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s website