Thursday, February 20, 2014

Skydive Sunrise

I wanted to introduce you guys to a new band called Skydive Sunrise. After listening to their music and reading more about the band I was really impressed.... 

Then I found out that Skydive Sunrise's new EP was all done by one guy, now that intrigued me! He played the piano, guitar, drums, tracked the lead vocals and harmonies all separately and then put it together! I wanted to learn more about Skydive Sunrise, and I thought you might want to know more too, so I arranged an interview to learn more.  

Can you give us a little background history on how you got started playing music?

Well I started playing piano when I was four I think, I don't even remember honestly, but I guess it's always been a part of my life to varying degrees. I didn't really seriously get into it though until I was fifteen or sixteen when I got my first guitar. 

I was kind of a closet poet for a while in high school, and I've always liked word play, so it was just sort of a natural marriage between two things that I enjoyed to start writing songs. I don't even know if I could tell you when I wrote my first song, it's something I do practically subconsciously now, like a rhythm will set me off, or a phrase will inspire a lyric, and then my mind just sort of wanders into it.

How would you describe your sound musically, and who are some of your influences?

Man, that's a surprisingly tough question! I think it's a pretty unique sound, at least for the Rock genre, but half of that I think comes from me figuring out what I'm doing while I'm doing it. I really like a lot of high energy alternative rock stuff, like Relient K and a lot of earlier Paramore, but most of the time even when I start with something that sounds like that in my head, I land somewhere that's a bit more low key and chill, more in the neighborhood of The Fray. The song Fearless was like that. 

I also really like The Rocket Summer, but I don't know how much of that influence actually ends up in the mix. I think part of it is that a lot of times I'll start with something like those bands I mentioned, but then as I'm writing the different parts it's like the song develops into something else entirely. The only song on the EP where the finished product sounded a lot like what it sounded like in my head when I started was Cold Blood, and I don't even know what to call that. Monk Rock? That could be a thing, right?

Where did the name Skydive Sunrise come from?

It's sort of a metaphor for a leap of faith. I like poetic juxtaposition, and I think a leap of faith is kind of an emotional paradox where opposites meet like that. There's that terrifying sensation of falling and not knowing for sure if anything's going to catch you, but at the same time you have that  "new dawn" feeling where it seems like anything could happen, and nothing is impossible. In a lot of ways, that's what this project is for me, so the name just kind of fit.

What do you hope listeners will get from listening to your music?

Hope. More than anything, that's what I want to bring. As long as you're willing to believe that things can get better, then I really believe that they can. Obviously there are other themes in the songs, and other points I hope to prove, but almost everything else, if you get and appreciate it, awesome, bonus points all around, but hope is definitely the driving force behind most of what I write, both lyrically and musically.

What instruments do you play?

I play piano, drums, bass, and guitar, and I'm working on violin, but we'll see how that goes. I'm kind of a jack of all trades, master of none kind of musician. I played or sang everything you hear on the EP, just sort of layering it as I went. 

I use some midi instruments and digital effects, but I have to actually play all the notes, I don't like to let the computer do the work. Not to knock electronic music or anything, there's some really talented people doing some amazing stuff, but I like to keep things as raw and "human" as I can manage. That's also why I don't use auto-tune or anything like that.

Where do you see Skydive Sunrise in 5 years?

That's a really good question. And honestly I don't really have an answer. So much about this is kind of an experiment. I definitely hope it grows, and I hope the music reaches as many people as possible. I mean the whole idea is to give a voice to things I'm passionate about, but as far as where do I see it going? Who knows. Lord knows I don't. 

But it's really encouraging just to think how far I've come. I think I recorded my first song almost ten years ago, and it was awful. I think there's only one person on earth who has a copy of it, and she's sworn to secrecy. Just getting to the point where I'm confident enough to release my music publicly is a huge step for me, and hopefully the first of many.

Where is your favorite venue or place, that you have played?

I actually haven't done a live Skydive Sunrise show. I've done live music before, but it's never been stuff I've written, and it's different somehow, you know? It's pretty tricky trying to be a one man band in the studio, but it's a lot harder to translate that into a live show. I've thought about doing an acoustic set, but it's really hard to translate most of the stuff I write in to something so stripped down like that. 

I imagine if I was with a label they'd probably hook me up with a bunch of other musicians and it could be done that way, or maybe even just between some other musicians I know, and meet along the way I could put something together, but that's another one of those things that's sort of beyond scope of what I'm thinking about right now. Mostly right now I'm just writing and beginning to record for the first full album, and once that's done, touring and what-not might end up being a phase two kind of thing.

Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life?

That's so hard to narrow down! I mean my faith is everything to me, so that's a huge inspiration, and I think it's woven into everything I write, and my family, with all they've been through, I could probably pick any one of them and make a case for why they're the biggest inspiration. 

I guess as far as the band is concerned directly though, and at the risk of sounding like a fan-boy, I'd have to say Bryce Avary. I've really been inspired by his music, and he does what I'm attempting to do, writing, playing and producing pretty much everything, (at least I think he produced the last two albums, he might have worked with other producers before that, I'm not sure) and it sort of gave me hope that it might be possible to make this work.

What is the best piece of advice that you have ever been given?

Probably "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord." It's a bible verse that a high school teacher gave me in a letter when I graduated. Whether you believe in God or not, I think there's a lot to be said for giving everything you've got, in whatever you're doing. 

Five Random Bonus Questions

1. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

Honestly, I'm a super boring person, haha. Spontaneous for me is getting Chinese food at 1 in the morning. I do remember one time I came home to find a shopping cart and a traffic cone on the roof of my house, but that was more of a crazy thing done to me. I have some really weird friends and family members, who also happen to be great climbers. 

2. Do you collect anything, if so what do you collect?

Not really, I could probably get into collecting guitars, but I don't think I'd ever buy one I didn't intend to play the snot out of. I will admit, back in the day, I was definitely one of those nerdy kids with the Pokemon cards. Thankfully I grew up, and now I'm one of those nerdy adults without the Pokemon cards.

3. What is your favorite movie line?

"Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it's bobsled time!!" I'm half Jamaican, so that movie will always have a special place in my heart, haha. But seriously, that slow clap at the end? Priceless.

4. If you had one day to do anything, anywhere, what would you do?

Probably just relax on some beach with my wife, with a guitar or something. Like I said, I'm really boring. Also, there would definitely have to pizza involved. But that's a given.

5. Are you a morning bird or night owl?

Definitely a night owl, if I'm asleep before 2 AM someone should take me to a hospital immediately. I never used to be like that, though, I'm not even sure when the change happened. I think I blame my wife, she's always hated life before 10 AM.

You can listen to Skydive Sunrise's music HERE, and if you like what you hear then be sure to pass it on! I really liked the song "Cold Blood" so make sure you check that one out, it has been on repeat on my iPod for the last 2 weeks! 

Also Skydive Sunrise has a really beautiful song called "Izzy" that was inspired by young man who passed away. It is a really beautiful story and song, you can read it all HERE, and you can even get a free download of  "Izzy", so make sure you check that out as well. 

You can connect with Skydive Sunrise on FacebookTwitter and the website.

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