INTERVIEW: Skies Turn Black

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi! We’ve been alright, cheers, all things considered!

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “The Silence”?

It’s the first original music we’ve released in almost 2 years, we’ve been sat on it for a while, so it’s great to finally get it out there. It’s also our first original release with our new lineup, and we’re all excited to finally be able to show off what these guys can do.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Jamie – If I had to pin it down to one event, I’d say the police brutality in Hong Kong over the last couple of years. The song’s about the death of freedom, particularly of freedom of speech, and I think what’s happening over there is absolutely abhorrent. I have great sympathy for anyone who’s been affected by it, and it makes me nervous for the future, the phrase: “free Hong Kong now, or be Hong Kong soon” always sticks in my head.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Jamie – It’s the most adventurous video we’ve done in terms of location, and the first one that really has any kind of story to it. I’ll be very clear: none of us are actors, so doing all of the scenes that aren’t us just playing in a room were a real challenge.

Daniel – That church was such an awe-inspiring place to be. And while we did have permission to be there and film, it felt almost naughty, I guess. Like we were gonna get smitten down at any moment. Was definitely a weird feeling.

Xander – It was my first music video, so that was new! It’s way more tiring than I thought it would be.

Rob – Working with extras was a good laugh. One of our good friends was on a first date just before the shoot, and she bought the guy along! They’d had a fair few drinks that night too, which made waiting around between shots a bit more interesting.

How was the recording and writing process?

Jamie – The writing process was fairly typical of a Skies tune. George sent me an idea for a riff, which I thought was killer, then we worked together to build the rest of the instrumental around it, and I wrote the vocal line on top.

George – The recording process for The Silence (and all the other new songs) has been essentially a refined, more streamlined version of how we did the first album. I do all the mixing/mastering for the band and I learnt a lot of lessons making No Place Like Home. For example this time roundwe double-tracked each player’s guitar parts, so it’s got a much thicker, heavier sound than the first record. Also making an album during the pandemic has had an impact, having to record everything remotely and piece it together afterwards, without really seeing each other much has been a challenge.

What role does the UK play in your music?

Jamie – A pretty big one, I’d say! We were all born here, and we’ve done every gig we’ve ever played as a band here. I think any metal band from any country has a lot to thank the UK for, though, as this is where it started, and it’s never stopped producing stellar metal bands for 50 years now.

How has Avenged Sevenfold and Iron Maiden influenced your writing?

Jamie – I think it’s fair to say that Sevenfold have had a huge influence on my writing, they’ve been a strong favourite of mine since I was a kid. Both them and Maiden make extensive use of guitar dual harmonies, which is one of our favourite things to use. That and catchy, melodic choruses, which we try and get into our songs whenever it’s appropriate.

Rob – Iron Maiden’s had a pretty big influence on my drumming, there’s definitely a lot more “galloping” in Skies music now that I’m on board. Lot’s of my favourite grooves to play are Nicko McBrain influenced.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Jamie – Absolutely! We’ve got another record in the pipeline, with the finishing touches to the next couple of singles being made at the moment. We’re also working on a few covers similar to the version of Take On Me that we released recently.

George – The second album is coming along really nice. Like I said it’s been a much more streamlined process, we all know what needs to get done, and in what order. We’ve also been more thorough in the demoing process this time round, so when we start on the real thing we all know what the end result is going to sound like.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

George – I wouldn’t wanna put a date on anything, given the state of the world at the moment we don’t know when we’ll be able to film stuff. We’ve not chosen the title for the next album yet, but the next single will be called “The Skies Are Falling Down”

Xander – I’d hope to get it out before the end of the year, definitely. Along with another project we’re working on around Christmas.

What else is happening next in Skies Turn Black’s world.

Jamie – I just wanna get back to gigging. Hopefully by some point in 2021 we can get back on a stage, but until then we’ll keep churning out new music.

Xander – We’re also looking into other ways for us to create content, more and more musicians are looking to places like YouTube and Twitch for things like streaming, which we’re in the process of working out how we’d do. It’ll be a big learning curve and we’ll need some fancy new gear for it, but I think we have to start soon.


About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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