Hailing from Nashville, Tenn. — a city known for its intoxicating blend of various musical genres – Skytown Riot fit right in. Offering their own unique take on mix of rock and alternative, the band have made a name for themselves among the local circuit. Now, less than a year after their debut record, Alive in the Fire, Skytown tell AQ about their start, their influences, and where they’re headed next.
How long have you been a band and how did you get started?
Skytown Riot formed in 2010. The original members had all played in bands together before and set out to try something new and different with Skytown Riot. Back then, the band was based in Knoxville, Tenn. where there was a sort of void in the music scene…a void that we were determined to fill.
Knoxville was home to some amazing Americana, bluegrass, blues, hard rock, and metal bands. But we were really inspired by European rock bands — like Phoenix, Muse and Coldplay — and that really set us apart locally. We competed in (and won) a battle of the bands put on by the local rock radio station, which led to a long string of big shows at Knoxville’s premiere concert venue, The Valarium.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
I have to steal this answer from how a fan once described our music to me: “It’s the lovechild of Radiohead and Coheed and Cambria.” I had to laugh when she said that because I hadn’t listened to, or in any way been influenced by, either of those bands at the time.
What was your latest release of music and can you talk about that a bit?
In January we released our debut full-length album, Alive in the Fire. We set out to make a record that reflects what we’ve been through as a band and what we’ve witnessed or experienced individually along the way. This journey has been a roller coaster for us, and we’ve seen beauty and ugliness in so many forms. One of my favorite lines comes from the title track. “We all come alive in the fire/We all live to burn.” If you’re passionate about something, chase it. No matter how fleeting it may be.
What is your writing and recording process like?
It rarely starts with the three of us sitting in a room with our instruments and trying to create something out of thin air. Inspiration hits when it hits, you know? Usually we’ll compile ideas from phone notes, or rough demo recordings that we’ve accumulated over a period of time, jam out some of the ideas we feel most strongly about and see where it takes us. Other times, I’ll track some guitar parts or vocal melodies in the home studio and work through ideas “in the box.” Before we hit the real studio to release new music, we always work up demos on our own. It’s a great way to hear the songs back through a set of speakers, work on arrangements, experiment with production techniques and play with tones.
What current projects are you working on?
You’ve actually caught us in between projects right now. Over the summer we went through a line-up change, bringing in Scott Blasko on drums. For the past couple of months, we’ve been extremely busy rehearsing existing material to get prepped for our upcoming shows, but also writing new music as a band. Scott is a multi-instrumentalist, not just a drummer, so our writing sessions have been more productive. And while we haven’t yet outlined exactly how and when to approach our next release, we do hope to hit the studio in early 2018.
Is there any significance behind your band name?
I feel like we’ve grown into our name over time, and it means something a different to each of us in the band. For me, Skytown has been that place in your mind where you go to contemplate the afterlife or search for purpose.
What is your favorite memory as a band?
I think our first time in NYC is pretty high on the list. We were on tour with 10 Years and played the Gramercy Theatre. The venue was unique, in that they actually pulled the curtain shut between acts. I’ve always thought of our music as theatrical in nature, so this was just awesome to me. And on top of that we had a day off to explore the city, enjoy a little nightlife, etc.
What are your goals for the future as a band?
You know that old cartoon “Pinky and the Brain”? Pinky always asks Brain what they’re going to do each night, and the answer is always the same: “Try to take over the world!” Ok, so maybe we aren’t aiming quite that high, but our mission has always been the same: we want to bring people together through music. We want to share our experiences, learn about yours, and make sure everyone has a damn good time along the way.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017? 2018?
We’re wrapping up 2017 with a handful of shows here in Tennessee, and we’re fortunate to be sharing the stage with some great bands (Pop Evil, The Dead Deads, Shallow Side). Meanwhile, we’re working hard behind the scenes to make 2018 our best year yet, so definitely follow Skytown Riot on social media to keep up!
Where can readers find your music?
Grab a physical + digital copy of Alive in the Fire via skytownriot.com (or stream it on Spotify)!
Also: facebook.com/skytownriot, youtube.com/skytownriot, and Instagram/Twitter: @skytownriot.