Hi and thank you very much! We’ve been really busy with the promo for our upcoming EP and singles.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “The Darkened Await”?
Absolutely. We love talking about ourselves and “The Darkened Await” is one of our favourite tracks at the moment. It basically refers to human conflict and war and the effects on those who participate in it; whether that be death and loss, PTSD or the reinforcing negative stereotypes. It’s one of our favourite ones to play live too as it just propels forwards once the big riffs start.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Basically Ollie (guitars) randomly played the intro chords whilst we were over his house jamming and I (Ryan – vocals and guitars) just latched onto it as it was different to what we already had. It took a while to find something to compliment that part but I fell upon the clean melody line that we also return to towards the end of the track. It had this epic sing-along Iron Maiden quality that the guys liked and from there it grew and twisted into this aggressive thrashy epic.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Not with this particular track. We thought it would be a good promo track for the EP as it shows our range and has had a really positive response when we’ve played it live recently. We will however follow it up soon with another video and single release so get ready for it!
The single comes off your new EP Between Ghosts – what’s the story behind the title?
Its also the title of the last track on the EP. It deals with the loss of a loved one and breakdown of a personal relationships and the mixed feelings and conflict that can arise as you are torn between grief, anger and nostalgia. It would seem that conflict and regret are common themes in our lyrics…
How was the recording and writing process?
It was pretty much the same as when we recorded our first EP. I normally write most of the riffs and record an arrangement with some programmed drums and a simple bass outline to send to the rest of the guys. As a group we’ll then make adjustments to the arrangement and the guys will put their own spin on or rewrite their specific parts. Once everyone was happy with the track we started recording at various locations using a simple portable studio rig (basically a laptop, an interface and a microphone if needed!) We edited, mixed and mastered it all ourselves and we were surprised how much we’ve improved since the first EP in terms of producing etc.
Would you call this a departure from your previous musical work?
All of our trademarks are still in place so there are plenty of big riffs, harmony guitars and one or two odd timings that pop up here and there. There is however a bigger contrast between the individual songs than on the first EP, especially in terms of tempo and timbre. For example, the title track mainly consists of acoustic guitars and piano with some textural work from Ollie which leads to a more sombre and restrained tone than is usually found on most of our tracks. Not that we are a happy sounding band to begin with!
What role does South Wales play in your music?
The heavy rock and metal scene in South Wales is extremely varied and there are loads of talented bands around. When you see them live it keeps you on your toes and makes you work that much harder to make an impact. Theres always a band you can learn something from even if on occasion it might be what learning what NOT to do!
How has Tool and Metallica influenced your writing?
I think Metallica are reflected in the heavy riffing and longer arrangements we tend to gravitate towards; especially with my long intros! I think pretty much every metal band in the last 30 years has been influenced by them (whether they would admit it or not!) The Tool influence demonstrates itself more in some of the odd-timings and more ambient and droning stuff we drop in occasionally. Perhaps even more specifically its shown (or heard rather) in James’ (bass) tone. Its quite glassy and sounds awesome on its own but also sits nicely in the mix as our guitars are generally quite mid-rich.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Musically the inspiration can come from anywhere. It can be as simple as playing the guitar in front of the TV and stumbling across something cool or you can discover a new band or guitar tone that make you want to write in a certain riff or create a specific sound. On one occasion I’ve even literally dreamt up a chorus part for a track and have had to hum it into my phone first thing in the morning so I wouldn’t forget it!
Lyrics are something I find a little more challenging; not so much in the choice of words but more trying to put a melody to them that works over big crunchy guitars and can still be played and sung/growled at the same time. Luckily this is something I’m getting better at all the time. The lyrical themes and concept for this EP are also a lot more varied than on our previous EP. They deal with bigger issues in the outside world such as war and socio-economics which is a new thing for us and there some more introspective stuff as previously mentioned.
Any plans to hit the road?
We’ve had a few discussions but nothing has been set in concrete yet. Watch this space!
What else is happening next in And The Sky Darkened’s world?
We’ve got about another half a dozen tracks ready to go as part of our next project which we will probably look at starting sooner rather than later and we are also actively looking to fill out our gigging schedule for the rest of the year (and beyond) so if any promoters are reading please hit us up!