Ahead of the Unsigned Music Awards, I got to sit with Synth Rockers ‘SKIES‘ and had a nice little chat!
Hi SKIES, thanks for having some time to talk ahead of your performance tonight.
Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers of Mels Jukebox?
Alie: I’m Alie.
Jericho: I’m Jericho.
Alie: And we’re SKIES! I am the lead singer and guitarist and Jericho plays drums and does the backing vocals.
You are opening the Unsigned Music Awards, are you excited or does that put a lot of pressure on you?
Jericho: It is the best slot, because we can set everything up how we want it, then the show starts and after that we take everything off. Whereas, from that point of view it is all you worry about if you’re on in the middle.
Alie: We get to play and can relax and enjoy the rest of the evening. Have a few beers. We are happy we got the earliest slot.
What are your thoughts on platforms like the Unsigned Music Awards?
Alie: I think it is really good. Being an unsigned band, you try to work your way up the ladder. To have events like the Unsigned Music Awards really helps bands out. It would be amazing to have more of it.
And there is so much online now, when you are a smaller band and just starting out, putting stuff out there can feel like a drop in the ocean. So, to get support from events like the UMAs is great.
You have just released your single ‘Leave Me’, which is a tune. Would you like to tell us more about the creation of the song?
Jericho: Alie has already written a lot of great songs for this project. We now have so much lyrics and music to chose from. Alie will basically finish a product of her vocals and lyrics and will then give it to me and I write music for it. So, putting drums, guitars and the synths together. And then we go to our producer called Oz, who is a lovely guy from Folkestone where we are from, and he ties it all together.
Alie: That’s our working process, that is how we do it.
Specifially for ‘Leave Me’, it is about my friend who had a dodgy girlfriend that he was trying to break up with and it was just really hard. I felt really sorry for him and just ended up writing this song about that. This song is one I wrote a long time ago and it has been one of the ones that we carried through to this band, it kept sticking out to us and I just always loved it. So, it has been good to give it a proper release.
SKIES is a duo, but your songs sound so big, like it is a full band playing. What is your secret to make it work?
Jericho: I always said when I was a kid growing up, doing music in my bedroom, I just do everything. I had the dream, if i could ever do this I would. If I could be a one or two-man band, I would! I was hitting a point where I was like, we could have a hundred session musicians but especially in today’s climate with live music, trying to get gigs, rights and money and all this, we found that it is best boiled down to two people.
Alie: And it is the schedules as well. It is so much easier. We used to have a session band, then went down to a three piece where we had a session drummer. But because Jericho can play drums, in the end there were gigs where our session drummer couldn’t make it and we would go two piece. Eventually, we just really enjoyed the two piece and loved the energy from the drums. Jericho used to be the synth player and we just thought, if we could play it all, we would, so why the hell not?
Jericho: I guess we knew that the drums and guitar are the live bits, those are the ones people watch, they are captivating. We knew that we had to keep that raw element of drums and guitars with our vocals. We do a lot of harmonies as well, so we don’t need a lot of people behind us to lift the chorus.
Alie: Basically, we just tried to boil everything down to what we as a band, really needed.
What advise would you give to other unsigned acts that are just starting out?
Jericho: Keep plugging away!
It is the classic thing and it takes a lot of time but unless you have loads of money it is very difficult to get into places. A lot of it is just knowing that you are good enough to be best band in the world. And if you know that, you got a goal to aim towards to. It keeps you going even when it gets a bit difficult.
Alie: Hard work and being persistent.
It is just working hard. We have been lucky, because we both just really wanna do this as much as possible. It can be tricky, because it is expensive to be in a band. Also, try to find people that are like minded, build a good team because you have to do a lot of work yourself and having people that are as comitted as you around, really pays off.