Altered Sky – Interview

Altered Sky

Finally we managed to catch Altered Sky on tour down here in the Midlands during what has been a very successful tour for them. The band are the perfect storm with everything just seeming to come together for them. It’s a strong lineup, the songs are well written, the balance between being fun and professionalism on stage and off is spot on, and they’re attracting more fans on their travels. Prior to their arrival in Nottingham we’d been keeping tabs on the current tours shows, and by all accounts, the crowds were brilliant.

We spoke to them before the gig.

Obvious first question – how’s the tour going and is it all going to plan so far?

Ross: yep, definitely going to plan and it’s probably our best tour to date I would say. We played London last night which was really, really good, really bouncing. Great vibe in The Garage. Best tour so far, so definitely going to plan!

Out of this tour, what’s been your best gig?

Ross: It’s going to be a Glasgow one isn’t it?

Richard: We’ve not been there yet.

Ryan: I would say London to be honest.

Richard: We’ve played in London a couple of times before but it keeps on building every time. Last night was electric, really busy. Hopefully the same tonight in Nottingham. Should be fun.

Can I ask you a really blunt question? London compared to Glasgow?

All: Glasgow

Despite my accent my family are from Dennistoun so I’m more of a Glasgow fan myself

Ross: We live in Dennistoun

Do you? Off Duke Street? Do you know Bellfield at all?

Richard: Yes

Oh my god, not too far from my great aunt

Ross: Small world

You played in London last night and Birmingham the night before. What was the atmosphere and crowd like there?

Ross: It was funny. There were roughly the same amount of people in both shows but the London crowd, there was like twice the intensity.

Richard: I think they were drunk

Ana: Nooo, they were hyped.

Ross: I think London was definitely a lot better than Birmingham, don’t know what it was but definitely London

In compiling a setlist, how much thought goes into what order the songs go in and which ones are your favourites to play live?

Ana: (head in hands) A LOT of thought, oh god…

Ross: Originally in Birmingham… we played in Bridgend the first night and we played the set that we’d completely agreed, and we thought one of the songs wasn’t quite fitting the pace of the set. So we changed it for Birmingham which was two nights ago and thought ‘Right ok, that works’ then last night we forgot to change the setlist again and played the original set again, which did feel kind of strange.

Ana: It was a bit jarring going into it, the pace of the songs kind of changed

Ross: So thanks for reminding me that I need to change the set again!

Ana: The best songs for me at the moment – we haven’t actually released them yet as well – are going to be from our new album that’s coming out. One of my favourite ones to play live is Livewire, which is awesome

Ross: Seems to get the crowd going, that one

What’s been your most memorable event as a band?

Richard: I think recording

Ross: Recording our first album, which we did in December and will be released before the end of this year which is the most exciting thing in the world for us.

Ana: First one, it’s crazy

Ross: We went into Cardiff to do it with the lovely Romesh at Longwave Studios. He’s done so many great acts – he’s done Bullet For My Valentine, Funeral For A Friend, he’s worked with the new Bring Me The Horizon DVD Live At Wembley – he did the sound for that. So that’s pretty good credentials he’s got.

Richard: He found time to squeeze us in

Ross: Which was nice of him

Richard: That was before Christmas and since then we’ve been sitting on the album waiting to break it

Ana: It’s like an egg that we want to lay

Ross: Yeeesss… it’s exactly that… (laughs)

Ana: I’m sorry, it was just when you said sitting on the album (laughs)

Ross: That’s the most memorable event for us at the moment and hopefully when we release it everyone feeels the same.

When you go from small gigs and then you’re suddenly working with someone like Romesh, how much of a culture shock is that for you? Sort of new pressures in the studio.

Ross: The playing live aspect and the recording aspect are obviously very different. We actually got asked an interview question the other night ‘what do you prefer, recording or playing live’ but the recording part with Romesh, he’s such a pro, he’s pretty much seen them all and worked with them all so the atmosphere he creates is one of ease and relaxation effectively, but still with putting in the same work. His work ethic is 100% ‘this needs doing so let’s do it’ but the way he does it is the opposite of being stressed about it. So he definitely played a big part in making the recording aspect really smooth and relaxed which makes it more fun and less stressed.

The reason why I ask is that a friend of mine is in a band called Mage and they did a recording for the first time, and he said it’s quite odd as a singer because he’s told to do it this way and do it that way, louder vocals, and he hadn’t come across that before. I wondered if you’d had that sort of thing as well, if it’s a little bit ‘try it a new way’?

Ross: We kind of expected it, Listening to albums you hear vocals and you wonder how did they make them sound like that, and you realise when you go into the studio it’s because the singer sings it again and again and again and again, and it’s just put together. So we kind of expected but actually doing it, I imagine for yourself (gestures to Ana) was a bit weird. Like singing over yourself again and again?

Ana: I don’t know. He said that I was pretty good at it, so I was like this must be alright, I hope, keep going for it. One thing that he did on one of our songs from the album – we haven’t revealed the name or anything so I can’t really say – he got me to do an ‘oooh’ layer in the background and I’ve never done that before. I think that was pretty cool and it really just enhanced the chorus.

Ross: It’s amazing how it changes the sound

Ana: It does, it just creates a completely different feel.

It’s like a sixth member of the band, a fifth wheel in some ways

Richard: Recording’s a completely different artform. We play gigs as much as we can but for recording we’ve only been in the studio a few times so it’s like a different artform entirely. We’re getting good at that, so hopefully we’re there now. I think everything we’ve done on the album, I’m so happy with how it’s come out. Our performances are pretty good and Romesh’s production and his ideas as well, things he brought to the table that we hadn’t even thought of – extra harmonies…

Ross: Extra guitar licks, that sort of thing, yeah. Top notch

I was reading elsewhere that you were trying to install a Sega Megadrive and TV screen into your tourbus. How did that go?

Ross: Is that still there?

Richard: Yeah, it’s in the band intro bit

Ana: Welll, we didn’t quite get the Megadrive

Ross: The short answer is it didn’t

Richard: Yeah, and we sold that van so…

Ana: That was a bright yellow van that we had, filled with bright yellow hopes. No, it didn’t work. We were hoping to play Sonic the Hedgehog but then we realised you can actually buy it on the app store now so that wasn’t really worth it.

Have you got any hobbies – it doesn’t count, being on tour – besides making music that you do as a band

Ross: We don’t have time for hobbies!

Ana: I’m a self confessed geek gamer. I will play any game that’s point & click, RPG… I’m playing Final Fantasy 7 at the moment on my PSP and they’re doing a remake so… that’s just me. Amy’s quite similar as well

Amy: Yeah, I’m a masive gamer as well. I don’t play much point & click or roleplay stuff

Richard: You like to shoot people

Amy: Yeah, first person and games that have a lot of story

Richard: Me and Ross play Civilisation, a bit more cerebral. is it Napoleon you really despise?

Ross: Yeah, but I love Bismarck

Ryan: Compared to you I’m just different – I like skateboarding, snowboarding…

Ana: You can’t skateboard!

Ryan: I’ve not been on a skateboard for like three years so that was my first attempt, but snowboarding I’ve been on for.. I can’t remember how many years now. But again I’ve not been on that for a year because there’s no good snow up Aviemore so…

Ana: Ryan’s not been to Aviemore

Ryan: I’m a massive gamer as well, I like RPGs, first person shooters, Call of Duty and stuff like that. I’m not into Civilisation that much

Richard: That’s because you lose!

Ana: I’m obsessed with watching Netflix, if that’s a hobby? Watching – oh no, that was on Youtube – Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. Amazing, I love that man. There’s this meme thing going round, you can create what his input is for you or something. It’s so good. I’d love to meet Gordon Ramsay.

Richard: With Netflix, every time we go back onto our computer I think oh you’ve recently watched this… oh, you’ve been watching Ru Paul again!

Ana: Anything on Netflix that’s it.

You’ve got a sound quite similar to Tonight Alive and Paramore have you been told that you sound similar to any bands like that?

Richard: Never

Ross: Nah, not at all. Yeah, we kind of expected it from the start. We’ve got a female singer and that’s just going to happen.

Ana: It’s not generally a bad thing. It puts you in a box a little bit because you’re automatically compared to the next or the last female fronted band, when even that whole female fronted… WHY do you have to be ‘female fronted’ and go into that whole thing? We were compared to someone crazy recently, I can’t remember who it was. Someone like Rush or something, I can’t remember.

What are you trying to say about Geddy Lee?

Ana: it was ‘cool’ crazy

Richard: I can’t remember who it was

Ana: I can’t either but it happens all the time. Actually I don’t mind but I think that we sit in a different pocket. I’m influenced mainly by video games like I’ve talked about for the last five minutes or something, so I try to make sections really obviously catchy if you know what I mean? Like ‘this’ is this section then ‘this’.

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