Altered Sky – Interview

This was the first interview we did with Altered Sky last year.  If you haven’t discovered this band yet, now is a good time to have a listen.

Altered Sky

When you see reviewers comparing a band and their singer to Paramore and Pink, a couple of things come to mind. Firstly, you’ve got to give a band like that a listen, and secondly, those comparisons aren’t likely to come lightly. It’s a lot of pressure to live up to, so the obvious question is, do they?

Absolutely yes for the Paramore comparison, and to some degree Pink too.

Ana certainly is a powerhouse of a singer, but Amy, Richard and Ross provide a solid platform to build on. Altered Sky just seem to consist of musicians that naturally belong together, and as a result what you end up having is a combined talent that is exceptional. So when we had a chance to speak to their guitarist, Richard, naturally we grabbed it!

Your “Stop And Live” EP, could you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the four songs.

Each song has it’s own colour and story. Where I Belong draws ideas from the Tin man in the Wizard of Oz story, Traitor in Me explores the theme of betrayal and war – similar to Decy. Live for it was inspired by a story I heard about an old couple dying.

And the video for “Where I Belong”, who did you work with on that, and who came up with the concept?

We worked with a production company called Sitcom Soldiers on the video – we sent them the track and the lyrics and they came back to us and said “there’s going to be a flying bed and one of you is going to be wearing a bear costume”… it’s hard to argue with that! We had a blast working with them – lovely guys and utter professionals!

How do you react when you find lyric videos of your songs have been uploaded to youtube that you didn’t do?

Haha we love coming across things like that – it’s so cool that someone has taken the time and effort to do something on our behalf and is spreading the word about the band!

So in January you released a cover video of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space, what prompted you to choose that song, and what made you decide on doing 7 covers?

We love Taylor Swift! Her songs are just so catchy – and Blank Space worked really nicely with Ana and Amy’s voices. It’s just the first of many: we’re planning to release one roughly every month. We can’t reveal too much yet, but the next song from a band who are basically the complete opposite to Taylor Swift – all will be revealed soon!

And I think I read you had an album planned for this year, how are things progressing on that?

We recorded the album in December with Romesh at Longwave – he’s such a cool guy and great producer that we really didn’t want to work with anyone else! We’ve just received the first mixes back from him and oooft they’re sounding HUGE! It’s going to show much more of our diversity as a band: we’ve got some fast rockers, but also some ballads and a whole load of surprises thrown in too! You’re not getting to hear them until later in the year though: we’re going to be releasing a couple of teasers and singles over the course of this year with the album release date pencilled in for September/October.

I see you’ve had some awesome fan art sent through to you, how does that make you feel?

Our fans are the best. They have helped us in so many ways and we genuinely wouldn’t be where we are today without them! To see them at shows (and going absolutely crazy) is one thing – but when they sit down at home and draw or paint pictures of us because they want to show their support in another way is really touching. When people give us their drawings in person at gigs is so nice as well – we’ve got a couple of pictures that fans have drawn which hang on our fridge! Other people have rubbish macaroni collages their kids made on their fridges… we have awesome fan art!! (ps anyone that wants to make a macaroni picture of us is welcome to – it will get pride of place on the fridge)

I was watching your youtube video, and I made the mistake of reading the comments, which to be honest is something I try to avoid. However, someone made the point that you don’t sing in a Scottish accent, I presume because Twin Atlantic do. Was that a conscious decision or did it just happen that way? And how do you react to people who have those sorts of expectations?

I’ve pretty much always sang this way. And my accent isn’t very strong anyway. I’ve tried it a couple of times but I honestly prefer not to force a Scottish sound.

You’ve been going a little while now, two EP’s, great tours, but cast your mind back to the very first time you practised together as Altered Sky. How was that and did you think at the time you’d be in a very positive situation as you are now?

When we started it was as a session band to record some songs that Ana had written. We hadn’t met before that first rehearsal but the energy in the room was something I’d never seen before: from day one it felt like this group of people could really work well together and go miles! We decided after the first couple of rehearsals to make a go of it as a proper band – the name Altered Sky came soon after, and we’ve been growing ever since! We were always ambitious – it’s just that the goals have kept changing: it started as recording a demo EP which we managed just six weeks after the first rehearsal, but by then we were already looking forward to our first gig together! Every time we achieve something, we’re still looking ahead to bigger and better things just over the horizon.

How have you changed in your attitude / approach to music and song writing since first forming, or has it remained the same because it just works as it is?

Since we started I think we’ve all grown hugely as musicians and performers: from having never played in front of a crowd before and feeling really nervous about the prospect, to loving every second of it now! Playing a show in front of an audience who know your songs and sing them back to you is the best feeling ever! As for song writing, Ana has always been the main writer: she has a million ideas in her head for melody and lyrics and shows no sign of slowing down yet (I can hear her in another room writing something brand new on her keyboard as I type this). The job for the rest of us is to translate her piano songs to arrangements that work as rock songs with the full band – the biggest challenge is keeping up with the ideas which come pouring out of her!!

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