Bringing soul and anthem together is what best describes the sound of Skytown Riot. They may have come together only a year ago, but the band has already developed an anthemic sound one might hear at a large rock concert. With the release of their EP Soul Or System last November, the band has seen their music become popular with the Youtube-gaming crowd. Having shared the stage with bands Filter and Hoobastank and already planning more tours, Skytown Riot has a sound to look forward to by bringing anthem and soul together. By Rachel Sacks
Cliché: “Runaway Princess” became a hit amongst video-gaming Youtubers; was that something expected or completely unexpected?
Skytown Riot: It was completely unexpected! To this day we’re not really sure how it spread the way it did, but of course we’re thrilled about it. [We] never would’ve predicted that.
Do you think this will affect how the band will promote any future music or the audience that will listen to the music?
Certainly. There are a million different ways to promote music now, and as a young independent band it’s not easy to figure out which path to take. So when you find something that works, you have to work it. One thing that we’ve seen as a result of the gaming videos is an increase in popularity overseas.
Your music has been compared to Muse and Coldplay. Where does your inspiration come from, for Skytown Riot’s own music and from any specific bands or singers?
It’s hard NOT to be inspired by bands like Muse and Coldplay. Muse was appealing because, even though rock music has been around for over half a century, they found a way to be innovative and produce a sonic palette unlike any other. And Coldplay figured out how to capture an audience with (often) the simplest melody, much like the Beatles did. But honestly, inspiration comes from just about anywhere you could imagine. Hell, we’ve written songs based on movements from a commercial jingle. Simply put, good is good, and influences change like the wind.
The music of Skytown Riot is described as anthemic or arena rock, which became popular with rock of the 60’s and 70’s (Queen, The Who, Journey); did you find it difficult to convey this kind of sound playing in smaller venues?
It can be a challenge sometimes, yes. We’ve showed up to venues before that barely have a functional PA system. Kick drums without subwoofers don’t exactly shake a room! But you just have to roll with it, emphasize and exaggerate other elements of your performance to keep the show alive, and appreciate the venues that really do get what you’re going for.
Which came first in Skytown’s music: the alternative rock sound or the captivating, anthemic lyrics?
The sound was there first. Put four dudes in a room with loud instruments and there’s really no stopping it. And that’s usually how things go for us. We’ll jam out on some song ideas, and Van will eventually chime in on vocals with various melodic ideas. Eventually lyrics take shape, be it instantaneously (which is rare) or over the course of several rehearsals. And even then, we may get into the studio before lyrics are completely finished. Sometimes it’s important to let life catch up with you before finishing (or even starting) a song. You’ve got to really live passionately to write passionately about something. It’s not something that can be forced.
Do you have any background information, or meaning for, the album title, Soul or System?
It’s a question really, and one with no simple answer. We all are forced to choose between the two in various points in our lives. Around the age that people are discovering who they really are (high school, college) this question can really be tough to ignore. We all chose music, as it’s ingrained in our soul. And none of us would’ve been happy doing anything that didn’t cater to the needs of the soul. It’s all about perspective though. We may have chosen music, but even the music industry is a fucked up system sometimes.
What are your future plans for tours, concerts, albums or singles?
We’ve got some really cool stuff coming up this summer, including several music festivals and as much touring as we can muster. It’s a bit too soon to announce anything, but please keep an eye on our website (skytownriot.com) and Facebook for show updates and other news! And thanks so much for the interview!
Photos courtesy of Van Gallick Photography