Sunday, January 8, 2023

DJ INterviews: SkyDaddy

 Here's my interview with the band, Sky Daddy

SkyDaddy are too old friends, Rory and Craig just making some noise with the occasional help from their friends.


1.     How'd you get started in music?


Rory: My dad played the bagpipes and my mum was always singing and playing Rolling Stones records when I was a child, and it wasn't long before I was learning piano and violin in school.  So, I've always been around music. 


As soon as I heard The Song Remains the Same and Back in Black, at about 11 or 12 years old, something clicked deep inside my bones and I knew I'd always have some riff or other running through my head, forever!


Craig: Growing up in Wales you grow up surrounded by music. It’s in our DNA. Like Rory my dad played guitar and even built his own so there was always music in our house. I don’t think the radio was ever turned off. He got me guitar lessons when I was 7 and it was around the same time that I remember first getting into albums. The two I became obsessed with were Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, which is quite the musical education at 7 years old. The other was the original Star Wars soundtrack. I wore those cassettes out listening to them at full blast on headphones in the front room.


As a young teenager I got into rock music with bands such as AC/DC, Maiden, G’N’R all the usual suspects because all my friends were. Rory and I first met at Orbit youth theatre in Cardiff, so we both spent a lot of time swapping albums and performing together from a young age. It didn’t take long for us to start our own bands.



2.     Who are your inspirations or influences?


Rory: In terms of singers, I started out at Robert Plant and everyone else seemed to be in second place.  Then I got into Soundgarden and it was like a whole new world opened up.  There's no one like Chris Cornell.  What I mean is you have bands like Greta Van Fleet, who are absolutely excellent, but the Plant influence is clear.  And since 1981 there have been quite a few Robert Plant type singers. 


Musically speaking, the attitude of ACDC and the psychedelia of Jimmy Page started it all off.  And reading up on Page's influences leads naturally into blues like Leadbelly and Blind Willie Johnson, folk, weird tunings and older music.  As I said above, I've always been around bagpipes so Celtic music runs in my blood.


Craig: We’re not too proud to take influence from anywhere really. We’re both into a lot of things which we steal from not just music but also films, books, art, real life. There are so many bands that I love it’s hard to pick but for the last few years I’ve mainly been listening to Tool. They were an absolute religious experience on tour last year. It’s how I imagine it would’ve been to have seen Pink Floyd back in the day.


I’ve always loved bands that experiment with what a band could be. I was lucky enough to be around when Jane’s Addiction first started playing and seeing them at Subterania changed my life. The punk attitude and the arthouse vibe really showed what could be done with music. Because of Jane’s I got into Soundgarden, who for me are still one of the best.


I also love that punk attitude, Iggy and The Stooges, The Sex Pistols, rough around the edges non-conformity, which of course then moved into grunge and the alternative scene but also weirdly, the acid house scene of the 90’s. I love what the KLF did. We see ourselves as very much a heavy metal KLF. Also, there are newer bands like King Buffalo who are great. They’re doing it their own way and putting music out on Bandcamp like we are and that’s inspiring. It feels like we’re part of something.


However, I have to say that my biggest musical hero is film composer, John Williams. His use of melody, rhythm and dynamics is just incredible. There’s nothing like seeing the Imperial March live. It absolutely rocks.


3.     What advice would you offer aspiring performers?


Rory: Have you heard that saying 'dance like no one's watching'?  That.  Do it for yourself, play for yourself, sing for yourself, and don't care if anyone's watching.  Or listening.


Craig: Just play, play, play. Get together with friends and make some noise no matter what it is and just keep making noise and most importantly have fun. Just keep doing your own thing.


4.     How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?


Rory: Good question.  Maybe we've been around the block a bit so we’re able to just do what we want without worrying if anyone likes what we do.  It would be cool if they did, but we're writing music for us primarily.


Craig: We started on a bench in Lockdown drinking a couple of “socially distanced” cans down Penarth sea front one night. Just like we did when we were teenagers playing around a beach fire so it felt natural to finally get this band together. It felt organic and not forced. We’re doing what we feel like doing rather than what we think will make us famous. We’re old enough not to crave that rock star thing. For us it’s all about the music, the ideas and the conversation with the people listening, so the band can go anywhere really. Be anything.


Also, we’re both politically aware so we tend to write about things that piss us off or things that are important to us. Just trying to make sense of the world especially considering the times we’re living through.


We’ve both been in a lot of bands over the years and done the whole rock n roll thing but with this band as performers we want to keep a certain anonymity. We’re not going to do band photos or be in videos. No one wants to see our ugly faces plastered all over everything. SkyDaddy is the thing, not us, and we want to have some fun with it all.


5.     Any new gigs or albums in the future?


Rory: Once we get this album out, we're probably going to already have half of the songs written for the next one and I'm sure that we'll be able to borrow some mates to help us get out on stage.  Can't wait.


Craig: We just finishing up on our first album. I’ve released a couple of albums before with different bands but this is the first time with “my brother from another mother”, my oldest friend, so it’s a real buzz to finally be able to do that. We’ve always worked well together and I certainly knew Rory had the chops having performed with him over the years. Even if no one else digs it, we’re both really proud of this first record.

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