I recently had a chance to see this band play at the Magnet, Liverpool. The Sky a four piece rock n roll band from Liverpool. What first struck me about the band was how suited they were to their surroundings. Framed by the venues retro styled stage with gold trimmings and multi-coloured lighting was a throw back to the days of Liverpool’s rock n roll hey day and a band walked on that made that impression solid. The Sky complete with retro looking guitars (more about them later on) and with their mellow, psychedelic, rock n roll sound transported me to early to mid 60’s Liverpool.
While their music is definitely inspired by that legendary era of music, you could sense other influences thrown in there (the Byrd’s, Beatles), but not so much that it spoiled their sound. The I’ve seen many try and replicate, some succeeding but some failing too. The Sky’s melodic rock n roll, their look and attitude was entertaining to watch. When listening to recordings you can imagine them following a similar path to that of Tame Impala with their experiments with music and their sound. Any criticism, if any, is the lack of movement on stage, but this can be justified with the type of music they play and the cramped stage. Would like to also see them have a bit more fun on stage, but that will come as they progress and get more attention.
To find out more about the band, how they formed, their thoughts on Liverpool’s music scene and their plans for the future, check their interview below:
Firstly, a big thank you to The Sky for taking the time to answer our questions. Can you introduce yourselves and what you play?
Lead Guitar/Vocals – Jonny Taylor
Bass – Andrew Ward
Rhythm Guitar – Sam McDowell
Drums – Connor Colford
How did you all meet and how did the band form?
Sam McDowell: It was Andy, Connor and myself first just having a few jams here and there, but then having been evicted from our practice space, we went away and eventually regrouped and found Jonny along the way and a bit later down the line I joined the three of them to do The Sky.
Jonny Taylor: I first met them at my mates party. I was passed out in a hole an woke up to Connor Colford tryna set my foot on fire. We all got chattin an I came back their pracy room. I ended up catching a pigeon with my bare hands an we’ve been mates since.
What are the bands main influences?
SM: I would say our main influences are the La’s, The Kinks, The Beatles, The Byrds and The Small Faces.
Connor Colford: I’m a huge fan of early rock n roll, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, The La’s and most importantly The Byrds, but if I had to take one LP onto a desert island it would have to me a MONO Please Please Me (The Beatles).
JT: We’re all into the same type of music; 60’s rock n roll, blues an’ psychedelic stuff.
Andrew Ward: The Beatles are a huge influence being from Liverpool and everything, but some of my personal influences are the likes of Jefferson Airplane, 13th Floor Elevators & Zeppelin. As a bass player I’m influenced by loads of people, but I’m really into a lot of the 60s motown stuff and a lot of jazz. I’m a big fan of James Jamerson and Jaco Pastorius, so I’d say they’re my main influences.
There’s a definite 50s/60s rock n roll vibe going on with the band. Is that something you all decided on or something which developed over time?
SM: I don’t think anyone can plan their band sound, it sort of just happens, influences blend together and you have The Sky.
CC: Well, when Jonny and myself first started the band we knew we wanted that old Byrds-y jangle, but mixed with the harmonies of the Beatles. We didn’t want it to become slow and soppy, so we had to make sure there was energy behind what we were playing, which in my eyes the best example of our sound would be “In the Sky” or “Miles away”.
AW: There’s a definite 50s/60s rock n roll vibe going on with the band. I think it’s just something that has developed naturally because that’s what were influenced by and that’s what we like to listen so it shows in our music, we wouldn’t play anything we wouldn’t want to listen to our selves.
Which of your songs is your favorite to play live?
SM: My favorite live song at the moment would be “In the Garden of Irene” it went down well at The Magnet and have enjoyed it since. It is a slight departure from previous songs, but love it for that reason.
CC: For me personally its “In The Sky” just because of the memories it brings back. Every time I hear that song it just remind me of how incredible the whole Mark Hudson situation was. I turned up to the studio with out a band, Mark Hudson under my arm and basically formed the band around that recording session, recording till sometimes six in the morning out in the corridor just for better acoustics, all the gear was starting to break, the recording studio was still being built and it was absolute chaos, but for me it was possibly the best musical experience of my life (apart from seeing The Who, Stone Roses and McCartney)
JT: Personally, my favorite to play is “In the Sky”, cos’ its the first song I write for the band an’ was pretty much the first song I ever written an finished as a writer. That an’ it just sounds massive fuckin’ like.
One of the many things to stand out from seeing you live were your guitars. Tell us some more about the guitars you own.
SM: I play a Gretsch Electromatic Hollowbody, which is the precise rhythm sound I want for the band.
JT: My guitar is a 1963 Gibson. It’s my uncle’s guitar that he’s had for like 25 years. I asked him if I could lend it to use on a recording an’ I just haven’t given him it back yet.
AW: I play an Epiphone Jack Casady bass. Jacks one of my favorite bass players and the bass was designed by Jack himself.
Are you looking forward to any gigs later this year?
SM: Yeah the dome gig in grand central is a fundraiser for Liverpool’s first free recording studio, which will be great having something for skint musicians throughout the city to enjoy and get there music out.
CC: Probably the next gig we’re looking forward to would be The Backbone gig in The Dome, which is on Saturday the 18th of July.
JT: Yeah there’s some decent gigs flyin’ about like, hopefully we can play all of them.
The rock n roll sound is surging in the North West in recent years, which is great. Why do you think it’s become popular again with bands in the area?
SM: The rock n roll sound has never died down, but there seems to be a sixties-esque revival in Liverpool at the moment, which we are happy to be a part of.
CC: Personally, I think there will always be some bands who stick to ‘proper music” as I like to call it. Not everyone wants an over-produced studio sound. If we set up in the studio and play I want that moment to be captured, not played over and over again until there’s no feeling left in the music. For me I want the sound of a band to be pure, like the listener is stood in the same room as the band because that’s what makes it special to me.
JT: Yeah it’s on its way back like init. Rock n roll has always been there, I just think people are startin’ to realise that everythin’ else is shit to be honest.
AT: Probably because we’ve had to put up with listening to so much shite the past ten years.
Where do you see The Sky in a few years time?
SM: That’s a good question. Depending on none of us are in prison I’d like to see The Sky selling some records throughout the country and constantly touring.
CC: We’ll probably be asking people for spare change outside the Cavern.
JT: Cant say really. I’m happy with how things are goin’ tho! Just a laugh playin’ with ya mates an’ bands like The Stamp and Jimmy and the Revolvers, but who knows where we’ll end up.
What three words would you choose to describe the band?
CC: Miserable moaning cunts.
JT: proper proper boss
AT: Fuckin boss la
SM: powerful sixites sound
To follow The Sky, check out their links below:
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