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Interview: September Sky

posted July 27, 2013, 6:00 am by Kevin Sellers | Filed Under Music News | comment Leave a Comment


September Sky

After recently discovering Indianapolis-based independent metal outfit September Sky and their hard-hitting upcoming album Letter To Fear, my curiosity drove me to direct some questions their way. These guys really have a quality sound going for them, and as you’ll read, they’ve got a clear determination and strong motivation towards their art. You can find more info and links at their official site: www.septemberskyband.com

Kevin Sellers: This is a painfully obvious question, but I don’t see it asked too often in interviews: Why be in a band? What motivates September Sky as individuals, and as a group?

September Sky: I think everyone has their own art in one way or another. Some people express it through acting, work, writing books, sports, whatever. This band is our specific outlet and expression. It’s our art creation.

KS: From my hearing, you guys are very much in harmony with what many would consider a widely popular blend of heavy metal today. Was this a conscious direction you took with your music, or did it come more naturally, due to your musical influences perhaps?

SS: We don’t really classify ourselves as “metal” at all. We always think of ourselves as hard rock. But if someone defines our style as metal then that’s cool. Ultimately the individual listener’s definition is what matters. If they say we are a genre of metal then that suits us just fine.  We don’t set out to be a brutal metal band. More so, to write songs that express themselves as a balanced unit…with good energy and emotion. Both through the music and vocals equally. The two elements have to match.

KS: Regarding influences, here’s a staple of a question: who does September Sky listen to? I personally heard a bit of Godsmack and Disturbed in your sound, along with a good dose of grunge. Are they favorites of yours?

SS: Our guitarist Larry is a big Disturbed fan. That’s a definite influence. I don’t believe anyone in the band is influenced by Godsmack writing wise. Consistent bands we like across the board include most of the 90s grunge bands, Tool, A Perfect Circle, Hurt, Rush & Dream Theater.

KS: One thing I always have an urge to ask any band is how you go about putting a song together. Having dabbled in making music in the past, but never getting to the point of collectively writing it with a band, I can only imagine how difficult it might be. How do you guys craft your songs?

SS: The process always starts with a rough guitar riff. Larry creates all of the riffs. He then emails different riffs to myself  to build a vocal skeleton from. Once a “skeleton” (as we call it) is formed we bring in the rest of the band to form more structure. The vocal style and content is the last thing crafted.

KS: Lyrically, the tracks on “Letter To Fear” sound intensely introspective, not so much generic tales of struggle and perseverance but more retellings of actual experiences. Where exactly does the influence for your words come from?

SS: Majority of the lyrics have been formed during a darker season in life. Times of depression & fear. The lyrics are generally directed at a thing and not a person (not in every case). If a person had the opportunity to speak to a negative (or positive) influence in their life how would they address that thing personified? That’s the general idea behind the lyrical content.

KS: Your bio is relatively brief, but refreshingly so. I get the sense you’d much rather let your music do the talking. However, I am curious: has anyone in your band ever released music in another outfit? You all sound far too experienced and talented at your respective roles to be as fresh to the game as September Sky’s bio might lead us to believe..

SS: Yes, that’s intentional. We want the listener to be more about the songs than the band’s resume’. If someone admires a book or painting they don’t have to read 2 pages about who the author is to decide if they like it. The piece either speaks to them or it doesn’t. The appeal is the art itself.

(Interviewer’s note: this is one of the most refreshing answers I’ve ever read in an interview, and it speaks volumes about what the band is out to achieve)

KS: Most interviews dig into the gearhead side of things at some point, and it’s very much worth asking what September Sky uses and prefers in creating their dense and aggressive sound. Also, the production job on Letter To Fear is superb, but do you think there are any tweaks you’ll look to make next time around?

SS: We’ve recorded both albums at The Hit Department in Indy. Scott Rainey is a genius. I’m sure there will be tweaks to the next record based on music content. The first album, “Bright Sides to Dark Days” was a blend of mellow and heavy. “Letter to Fear” is mostly all heavy. I believe the next album will be a hybrid of the two. As far as gear goes…

Larry Craig…
Guitars:
Epiphone Les Paul Prophecy
Schecter C-1 Hellraiser
Peavey JSX Amp and Cabinet
Line 6 Pedal Board
Dunlop Picks
DR Strings
Mark Lentz…

Guitars:

Line 6 Bogner Spyder Valve HD100 head with a 4×12 Slant front cabinet with Celestion Vintage 30 speakers.  Two custom Ibanez Prestige guitars. My main guitar is a 2005 Ibanez Prestige 2550 Galaxy Black with Dimarzio LiquiFire and Crunch Lab pick ups.  Back up guitar is a 2003 Ibanez Prestige 2570 with a 2005 2550 neck also with Dimarzio LiquiFire and Crunch Lab pick ups.  Morley Bad Horsie 2 wah pedal.  
Martin Baker…

Drums:
Kit: Mapex Orion six piece. Heads: Evans blue hydraulic. Cymbals: Sabian HHX and Paragon.

Toby Konnersman…

Bass:
4 string Carvin V440T deep pearl blue.  Laney pro bass 150 with 11 band graphic EQ.  Darius 410 and Hartke 410

KS: The road is where most bands make their names, of course. From what I’ve heard, I can only imagine your material translates into a very energetic and powerful live show. Do you guys prefer the stage to the studio? Really, is there no greater thrill than putting your work out there in front of a group of people, however big or small, and getting a positive response?

SS: We love live shows. The emotional levels of the songs translate much better live than on disc in my opinion. We just feel the raw energy much more. I think our fans appreciate the live show output. However, in this day & age bands are generally evaluated on their studio sound first and foremost. So we try to spend the time on that element as much as we can. And concentrate the studio efforts on quality rather than quantity. We don’t record a song simply to have another track on the record. That’s why both our albums thus far have been 6 song EPs.

KS: Of the six tracks on Letter To Fear, which one would you guys say best represents what you’re going for? Not that there is a band one in the bunch, but I know one or two have to have a bit more meaning behind them, where once you had the finished product it just had that certain “something” all bands try to capture.

SS: I think we all have our personal favorites for different reasons. My 2 favorites are The Fight and Letter to Fear because of the song meanings. The Fight is probably our most powerful song lyrically on the album. Ironically, most listeners will not grasp the actual meaning behind the song at first listen. They assume it’s about a fight between 2 people…but the meaning is completely different if one actually studies the lyrics. The music video we are shooting at the end of July will explain the meaning in whole. That song is closest to my heart personally. I think “The Fight”, “Letter to Fear” and “Fallacy” all capture the typical September Sky sound pretty well. Mostly dark, aggressive riffs with moments of light and beauty.

KS: From your facebook, I noticed you’re gearing up for the record release show for Letter To Fear in September. What are your plans for the weeks in between? And do you have anything long-term planned out at this point? Confirmed live shows? Writing and/or recording?

SS: Yeah we are gearing up for the release September 7. Very excited. in between now and then we are rehearsing quite a bit and wrapping up loose ends on Merch, marketing etc.  starting in late Aug. we will begin our live tour. Playing all around IN, Chicago, Cincinnati, etc. mainly Midwest for now. Shooting our debut music video for “The Fight” end of July which will release in Sept. sometime. From there we are letting things take their natural course. Definitely have more album plans in the future. Plenty of material to get into the studio yet.

KS: One of the things we at Music Emissions always try to squeeze into our interviews is a list of music recommendations from the bands and artists we sit down with. So, for each of you, we’d love to hear one or two or however many bands, albums or songs that you’d recommend to the readers.

SS: We’d like people to check out more bands in the Indy music scene. There are so many talented bands in this city but unfortunately the scene goes unnoticed on a national level. Some great bands to check out from this town include Pragmatic, Phoenix on the Faultline, Soulsik, I-Exist…just to name a few. If you Google the band name by city of Indianapolis you will find them.

KS: Finally, I’ll hand it over to you guys to get a message out there to all our readers. A huge thanks from myself and Music Emissions for introducing yourselves and your excellent music to us, and I for one (and I’m sure many others) will be looking forward to the next step in September Sky’s journey, and of course the upcoming release of Letter To Fear. All the best, keep it real, keep it deep, and keep it metal!

SS: want to thank yourself and Music Emissions for supporting Independent Artists. A recent quote I heard came from Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. He basically said that we all have to start somewhere. The greatest bands in the world started as a bunch of guys who tried not to suck. That’s a perfect line to me.

We all do our best and appreciate every single one of our fans who support us. At the end of the day it is the fans that make all the difference.
Another big thanks to September Sky, an independent, hard-working and honest band definitely worthy of your time. Be sure to check out their new record once it debuts in September, and keep it here for further news and updates on the band.

 

 

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