Colorado-Based Trio Skydyed Headlines Bluebird Theater
Matt Diss • January 6, 2016 • Art •
Amid the slew of cutting-edge, electronic production and live instrumentation projects propagating the Colorado music scene is Skydyed, a progressive trio based out of Fort Collins.
House is too predictable for Coloradans who thrive on jam bands and bluegrass, so groups like Skydyed are melding the traditional use of instruments with new-wave production. They are helping to redefine the music industry with their technical, high-energy yet fluent feel, and catching the attention of young enthusiasts by drawing from electronic influences as well as jam.
We met up with Max Doucette (Guitar/Production), Shane Eagen (Drums) and Andrew Slattery (Bass/Synth) of Skydyed to talk about their growth and potentially career-defining performance at the Bluebird Theater, where they will be co-headlining with Lucid Vision and supported by Spectacle and R-Doo x True School on Jan 8, 2015.
ALOC: Could you tell us how the three of you came together, and how you ultimately ended up playing music as Skydyed here in Colorado?
Max Doucette: Before meeting Shane, Andrew and I had been working on some songs together. We actually grew up a couple of towns over from each other and went to high school together in Massachusetts. By some coincidence, we both played music and decided to move out to Colorado around the same time.
Shane Eagen: Max and I met through a girl I was dating. We started jamming a little bit, EOTO-style. From there, Andrew brought in his piece and I was really stoked on it, so we all decided that we were going to form a group.
Who are some of the major influences for the sound you are trying to capture as Skydyed? Personal Favs?
SE: Bringing in our trippy electronic minds with our heavy metal minds and our major jazz influence is how we all came together. But there is an obvious focus on hard electronic.
Andrew Slattery: We all grew up on that heavier Warped Tour kind of music like metal, screamo and that kind of stuff. As we form our sound, we take elements of the bands we grew up on and the bands we really like and make it into our own thing, so it sounds original. But you can always trace it back to the things we listen to.
MD: Our favorite bands would be Tool for the heavy metal influence, jammy influences from Umphrey’s McGee and electronic influences from Papadosio and Ott. Then you get to jazz. I love Django Reinhardt as a guitar player, and Joe Pass, like really old school legends.
Your music has been described as “integrating generations of the state’s (CO) extensive musical heritage with their own deep-seated ties to the electronic music scene.” Could you expand on this a little further?
AS: The way it is headed in Colorado especially is this blend of new-school, cutting-edge production, as well as jam bands which are huge in the state, there are a ton of different styles blowing up in Colorado. There is so much good music happening right now.
SE: It is almost that super heavy, driving electronic mixed with the jam band style. That is where our deep-seated tie to Colorado comes from.
I saw you recently perform at Boulder Theater for the first time, opening for Papadosio during their CD release show. How did it feel to kick off the night for a band who just announced their first headlining show at Red Rocks in 2016?
MD: That show felt like the first real major stepping stone as a band in terms of playing with a nationally touring act. Just experiencing it, meeting the band, it was amazing.
SE: It is like the first time you stand on the top of a mountain. When you finally hit the summit. That’s what it felt like for a second. When we first started to hit the groove, this air from the crowd started hitting us. The energy was nuts! Having hundreds of people just beaming right at you, and in that room, it sounds so good.
AS: It was surreal. Definitely one of the biggest shows for us. The highlight of my year!
I hear you guys will be putting together a new CD yourselves. Have you set a date? Is there anything unique about the new tunes compared to your old releases?
SE: I think a different approach that we took for this album is a very clean-cut sound versus just being a heavier dub-step sound like on our first EP. The new CD gives a lot of light to the things we can do with a more relaxed feel.
MD: When people hear the first EP, they say we sound like this artist or that artist, but the people who have heard us play our new songs live describe our music as original like they have never heard anything like it before. The new album shows that we have really narrowed in on our sound.
AS: It is the culmination of writing, trying new ideas and seeing what works and what doesn’t. We have a good mix of all the styles we like to listen to, so we are really stoked on it. We are in the final stages of getting it all mastered. A date will probably be announced here in the next few weeks.
Your upcoming show at the Bluebird has been promoted very heavily. I’ve seen flyers from Fort Collins to Boulder to Denver. You’ve got quite a few sponsors and a killer pre-sale package. Feyline has done a great job working with you to spread the word. What makes this show worth all the hype?
AS: It’s our first really big Denver headliner! We are putting a lot into it as far as production, and we are going to do some new things for this set. We are doing this one with our buddy Dalton (Lucid Vision). Really, it’s gonna be a Denver throw-down.
MD: It’s a big show for us, so we really want to make a big statement.
SE: We have a lot of direct support from our sponsors too.
AS: The Untz, Cheba Hut, Grassroots, I Get Down. The list goes on! Grassroots in particular has been a really big part of the music scene, and for them to support us and what we are trying to do is amazing. It’s a great team to have on our side.
Lucid Vision looks like he is catching attention as fast as you guys. What made you want to team up for a co-headlining gig? How does he complement your style?
AS: Dalton has that funky-electro-soul feel going on, and he incorporates the live guitar as well. It’s a good blend with our music. We all really enjoy projects like Griz and The Floozies, which are similar to Lucid Vision. It’s just a fun atmosphere that gets you dancing and feeling good.
Congrats on your nomination for Best Jam/Reggae Artist by The Westword. How did it feel to get that kind of recognition by such an integral magazine for the Colorado music scene?
SE: It’s great to be nominated for anything. Even if it’s jam/reggae. That’s not exactly how we would identify ourselves. Maybe the jam part, but it was the closest genre they had. We went to the awards ceremony and had a great time. Everyone there seemed very supportive of local music. That’s important to us.
AS: It speaks to how diverse our sound is becoming which is cool, you know. To be nominated is a huge compliment.
You’re obviously doing something special for local music enthusiasts. What message do you as artists try to convey to the world? Do you have one?
AS: That is something we are honing in on as we see more success and have a louder voice. We want to make sure we use that voice for more than just music. That’s not just focused toward one thing like recycle or this or that. It’s more of a widespread kind of thing. Organizations like Conscious Alliance and Rock the Earth where they integrate donations with music through food drives and other sort of things. It’s really cool to see that happening in our music scene. Artists like Polish Ambassador, Papadosio and Bono, you know. As we keep going we want to figure out different and innovative ways to make it more than just about the music.
SE: We want to focus on the route that a lot of bands these days are taking as far as giving back and putting focal points on our community in Fort Collins and Colorado. We want people to understand that we spread music. We put sound out there and we communicate through large groups of people, so it’s important for us as a band to communicate important issues whether on stage or through social media. Our point is not to preach like “don’t do this or don’t do that.” We want to shed light on important issues. We are not going to sit around and eat organic food all day. No. We are going to give that organic food to people who don’t have it. Instead of saying we are going to do this or that, we do it.
MD: You have opportunities to make the music more than just about the music. You can make it about a good cause. It’s an industry so you can use it to help the world in some way. You just have to go for it. And at the same time, try to avoid that ‘headier than thou’ mentality. We try to look at the world pragmatically and in a tangible way in our approach.
Why is music and art important to our culture and in society?
SE: What does music do? It brings everyone together. They say music is like a drug so in a way, when you bring all those people together, they are high on something. When they are dancing out there, that puts them in the mood to say, ‘there is something else!’ Rather than sitting down every day, drinking coffee and going to work, there is something else out there. Music makes a powerful difference.
MD: The whole idea of art is creating. I mean the way I look at it is, if we didn’t have that to stimulate our creativity and new ideas, then things like the computer would never exist.
AS: Fundamentally, music has always been a creative expression of one’s self. That happens a million different ways. There are lots of different styles of music. It is something that anyone can connect to. Even if you live half way across the world and speak a different language, it’s powerful. You can feel it. It’s a hard thing to harness, but really impactful when it all comes together.
SE: Music is definitely a universal language that anyone in the world can feel.