INTERVIEW: Skyharbor Talk About Taking Risks Pushing Themselves Creatively on Their New Album, "Sunshine Dust"
Sunshine Dust is a massive step forward for Indian-American prog-metal act, Skyharbor. As the first album with Eric Emery on vocals, the quintet didn’t stop there when it came to new sounds, taking every opportunity to push themselves, take risks and experiment with new, exciting sounds. The result is the band’s most dynamic, and yet incredibly cohesive, album yet.
With Sunshine Dust - which the band has been hard at work on for nearly four years - out now, Skyharbor now have their sights set on the future, which includes a run of North American tour dates kicking off this fall! Listen to the new album and read what the band had to say about its creation now below.
Interview by Dom Vigil
You guys just released your new album, Sunshine Dust. What are you most excited about on the album? What do you think fans are really going to enjoy about this one?
I'm really excited to see how our fans take to all the different experiments we did sonically on this record. Our last album Guiding Lights went down really well with the fans and it was quite a 'safe' record in the sense that it was largely painted with the same canvas and colours of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. But on Sunshine Dust we've really stretched the limits of what we could experiment with sound selection wise. There's a lot of electronic music influences showing themselves on this one and I'm especially stoked on how that stuff came out.
Sunshine Dust marks your first album with Eric on vocals, which is obviously incredibly exciting! With this being your first full-length with your current lineup, what are some changes or areas of growth that listeners can expect from this release?
I think you can expect us to be a lot more risk taking on this record, and I mean that in a good way. Sonically and musically it's quite an explorative record for us compared to our last offering.
Did you have any major goals in mind when you first started working on Sunshine Dust?
Really just to make our best piece of work yet, nothing beyond that. The intention behind its creation wasn't motivated by anything other than to make our definitive record while keeping things fresh and exciting for ourselves.
I know you’ve been working on this album in one way or another for quite a while as well. How has the album evolved from when you first started writing it to the final product?
Every step of the way has felt like the process of making a sculpture. It's like we've been chipping away at something bit by bit by bit and eventually it took the shape that it did. It was a very steady and natural trajectory if I think about it. We did scrap one DIY version of the album before we recorded what became the final version, but there weren't ever any crazy shifts in terms of the direction. From the word go we kind of knew that this was the sound we were hearing in our heads.
What was the most challenging part about writing and recording?
I've always recorded my own parts for this band by myself in my own studio, and edited and tones designed by me with no one else around or looking over my shoulder. This time I was in the artist chair while Forrester (Savell, producer) had his finger on the red button. And he was way more demanding on me than I ever was on myself, which of course was an awesome thing in the big scheme of things because I was really pushed as a guitar player and that got the eventual best performance out of me, but it was a bit stressful in the moment.
On the flip side, what was the most exciting or rewarding part about working on the album?
Once we scrapped our DIY version and went to Australia to record the final version with Forrester, we had a renewed sense of excitement and energy because we now knew we didn't have to worry about the production side of things ourselves any more. All we needed to do was sink ourselves in to the music and perform to the best of our ability. And we've always kind of had to shoulder on the production responsibilities in the past, due to logistics and budgets and things, but this time we were presented with an opportunity that allowed this to happen - so yeah, living in a studio for a month with absolutely no agenda except to focus squarely on making a great rock record - that was really exciting.
You recently released the album’s title track, as well! What do you hope listeners take away from this song in particular?
That song just feels like us right now in every aspect. People who are into that song, we know that they are on a level with what we're also really feeling musically. And that's a great feeling and I hope it continues over time as well.
With Sunshine Dust out now, you’re also getting ready to hit the road stateside this fall! What can fans expect from these upcoming shows?
Some old songs, some new songs, some songs we've never played before.
Do you have any other big plans or goals for the remainder of 2018?
We've had a relatively busy year by our standards, but I'm already looking forward to start writing again. That's the most fun part of this whole thing for us.