Interview: Kyle Pedersen [2/14/11]
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with A Skylit Drive at their Spokane, WA stop of their current tour with Thursday and Underoath. We talked about their new album, touring, and many other topics that you can check out below. Make sure to pick up their new album Identity On Fire tomorrow via Fearless Records.
I know that your band has been around for quite sometime but the members still are relatively young, but have probably seen influences from your current tour mates Underoath and Thursday. What has touring with them been like for you guys?
Joey Wilson: I remember getting the Thursday album (Full Collapse) like 8th grade/freshmen year of high school. I have been listening to them since I started playing music.
Brian White: When we got the offer for the tour we were giddy little fanboys at first (laughs). I just said “Oh my God” you know? Underoath and Thursday were some of our favorite bands in high school so being able to tour with them is like a real dream come true.
How did the tour come about? Was it just an offer or something that you pursued?
Joey: Underoath asked us, well our booking agent, if we could get on it so it just kind of worked out. We were off at the same time too.
Brian: We were excited. We didn’t have anything going on at the time and then we got the offer. It kind of came out of nowhere but definitely worked out.
What about you guys? What’s the direction of your new album going to be like? I mean, I have seen a change in your style over the years. The first EP was heavier and then you moved on to a new vocalist and didn’t lose the heavy side but definitely got more melodic. Which style would you say is more prevalent on this album?
Joey: It’s a lot heavier than any other album we’ve ever done I think overall. It’s still a variety.
Brian: When we wrote it we wanted to keep some of our original style on what we all like to play. But we definitely thought while writing it, that we can make this more energetic and way more heavy and all around more fun to listen to.
Kyle Simmons: Very live friendly too. Just a lot of upbeat songs and a lot of crowd participation at shows.
Joey: A lot of gang vocals
Are you guys playing any new songs on this tour?
Joey: We’ll play the three that are out right now.
XO Skeleton and…
Kyle: X Marks The Spot and Too Little Too Late as well.
Are those your favorites of the album or just the best fit for the live setting?
Joey: Fearless (Records) kind of picked them for us to be honest with you (laughs).
Brian: Honestly none of us really minded. We like the collective songs on the CD, and they said they wanted those to come out first as singles and we were all for it.
Joey: They even switched it up. They told us a group of songs they were going to put out first and we just went with it.
Brian: You have to play the songs that you are releasing. People hear them online and want to sing along at the show.
Since it’s a blend of style like you mentioned, do you have any distinct influences on this album?
Brian: I think we all just kind of fed off of each other I mean, take a lot of what we’ve listened to in the past and kind of compare it to that.
Joey: I don’t think we really tried to be influenced by anything or anybody really.
Kyle: We vibed off each other a lot.
Brian: We all listen to so many different kinds of bands and we all just get together and it’s kind of like diarrhea man (laughs) it just flows out!
The newest single sounded a lot different, at least to me, especially in the vocal department. Jag (vocalist) seemed to drop a couple registers and was not as high pitched as before. Will that be prevalent throughout the whole album?
Joey: I’m glad that you brought that up (laughs). But he probably hits higher notes on this album then he ever has. It’s still pretty nuts.
Brian: I don’t even know how to explain it because I’m not him… (laughs)
Joey: It’s toned down a little more and trying to be catchier but it’s never monotonous.
Brian: On our old albums he would try to show his range all the time on every song. He would go as high as he could. That’s great but this time he wanted to mellow it down and keep it more…What’s the word for it?
Kyle: Uh….not monotone
Joey: Jared Leto epic-like (laughs:
Brian: More easy listening.
Kyle: He still has his moments though (laughs:
Brian: I’m proud of that kid man, he’s really got a voice for sure.
How has being on Fearless Records been? They have some heavier bands but tend to sign more poppy bands like Go Radio and Sparks The Rescue so what’s it been like for you guys?
Brian: That’s what I think is so cool about Fearless. They have so many different kinds of bands. Most labels these days stick to one certain genre and roll with it but they are cool because they branch off. They have it all man. They take care of us and send us in the right direction.
Joey: They know what they are doing (laughs)
What have been your favorite songs to play or current favorites to play live?
Brian: My favorite to play right now is the new song X Marks The Spot.
Brian: The vibes on that song are crazy. The crowd participation for it is stellar, it just gets nuts and people have barely even heard it.
Kyle: It’s fresh and it’s new.
Do you find the crowds on this tour to be an even mix of your fans and the headliners and do you think you are winning most of them over if not?
Joey: It’s more fans for them obviously, which is awesome but we are doing great on getting them to our side (laughs)
Brian: We’ll ask on stage “WHO’S EVER HEARD OF US?” (laughs) and maybe half the crowd will raise their hands so we try to get the other half. It’s your goal to make new fans so being on this tour is great for that. At first we were expecting more of a crowd for us since we have done headliners so it humbled us and made us work harder and perform even bigger.
What’s an ideal tour for you guys?
Joey: This one (laughs)
Brian: (Laughing) Yeah this one and just basically any tours we go on. We make friends with all the bands we tour with and would just love to tour with all of our friends. You’d be listening to music for like the whole day but it would be fucking awesome (laughs). We love making friends with bands and love to tour.
Do you have any tour plans after this? Maybe Warped Tour?
Joey: We have a couple months off but yeah we are on Warped Tour. For the whole thing. That will be awesome.
What are some of your favorite cities to play?
Joey: Oh wow. Cities? Um… (laughs)
Kyle: I really love San Diego a lot.
Joey: Florida rules and I love going there. Austin, Texas.
Brian: It’s such a scatter man. We go to so many different places. But all the California days for sure are some of the best. That’s our state and the weather is always perfect.
Kyle: You seem to have forgotten Sao Paulo, Brazil (laughs)
Every video I see of Brazil shows they are absolutely insane.
Kyle: Yeah they are just nuts and you definitely feel famous over there (laughs)
(Laughing) Anyway, what was it like working with Cameron Webb over Casey Bates or Jamie King?
Brian: I liked Cameron a lot more because he was a lot more hands on. He actually really included himself. The other guys were awesome, don’t get me wrong, we made good records with them. But this one you could tell the difference on this one.
Joey: He almost made us re-write like the entire album pretty much (laughs). He didn’t write anything for us but gave us pointers and we actually did change every song in some sort of way.
Brian: It was for the best though. It turned out the best it could have. He’s the man (laughs).
Well, I’d like to thank you guys for sitting down to talk with me today and I hope the rest of the tour is great and I will see you this summer at Warped Tour.
Joey: Thanks a lot man and we’ll see you out there for sure. Make sure to swing by and say what’s up!
Kyle: For sure and we hope you enjoy the new record!