Another week, more sunshine, loads of people heading off on holiday and the festival season well underway. Is there a better time to add more music to your “ooh, I have to listen to that” pile. Today’s offering are Shattered Skies, who we first encountered half a decade ago…
Originally the band comes from Co Wicklow, Ireland but we moved to London, UK in 2013. We’re all now based around Surrey/Hampshire/Berkshire.
How did you meet?
Myself (Ross) and Ian met in our hometown of Greystones through some mutual friends circa 2008 and instantly bonded over our love for Dream Theater. We ended up starting Shattered Skies in 2011 together after disbanding our previous band Distributor. We met Gerry when he auditioned to replace our previous singer at the beginning of 2016. Gerry and Chris were already long time friends so when we were looking for a new bassist he was our first choice.
How long have you been playing as a band?
The band was started in 2011 and we’ve been playing together in our current line up since 2017.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
When myself and Ian were starting the band we cycled through lots of names, we wanted something that sounded a bit larger than life but without losing touch with the lyrical themes and musical taste of the band. Everything we tried either sounded too dramatic, cheesy, or spacey but we finally settled on Shattered Skies because we felt it captured the feeling of something that you could take for granted and consider unbreakable falling apart before your very eyes. It had a very apocalyptic but futuristic vibe which we felt encapsulated the bands sound.
What are your influences?
When the band started our main influences were bands like Dream Theater, Meshuggah, Muse, Korn, Nine Inch Nails, Sikth, and Nightwish. We were also taking heavy influence from the djent scene at that time as it was really starting to take off. We wanted to make music that incorporated the heaviness and sonic tonality of downtuned polyrhythmic metal but with a heavy focus on songwriting, catchiness, and sonic dynamics. Lately we’ve all been pretty hyped about Snarky Puppy, Dance Gavin Dance, and Arcane Roots but there’s a million other bands we listen to regularly, TOO MANY TO LIST HERE! Maybe we’ll make a playlist instead!
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
What makes the Shattered Skies sound unique is the combination of heavy riffs, melodic density, and catchiness. It’s kind of the musical equivalent of trying to keep a positive outlook while everything is crumbling around you. The juxtaposition between crushing riffs and singable choruses. I don’t think we could ever have one without the other so it’s that constant compromise of writing the heaviest riff we could find but making it work with interesting melodies. We have folders full of music that swing too far in one direction or the other so it’s the music that hits on both of those elements that we feel passionate about and ultimately end up as Shattered Skies songs.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
A lot of our new album Muted Neon looks at the victories we come away with after going through hard times. Some of it’s on a personal level, struggling with depression, anxiety, and the shit life will throw at you. Some of it’s on a societal level, looking at life in an increasingly isolating world. But the core theme is focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel, the progress you can make and the power you find on the other side.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We try to be as energetic as possible without sacrificing tightness. We’re currently practising weekly at our home studio to get our chops up to speed as well as working on our live sound. We’re trying to iron out any possible issues that could stop us from performing to our full potential or cause technical difficulties. We used to use quite a complicated live rig with MIDI triggered patches but it caused a lot of issues and was quite unreliable so we’re stripping back to a more traditional setup for our next run of shows.
We’ve only played a handful of shows since 2016 but we’re going to make up for that once the album is out and book as many shows as possible! If you want us to come and play near you let us know!!
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
I can’t say the prog metal scene is known for its wild antics! But we did have a blow-up T-Rex at last year’s Techfest performance so that was pretty, uh… wild I guess…
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
- Strandberg Boden 8 & 7 String Guitars with Ernie Ball Super Slinky Strings
- MXR Smart Gate -> Boss CS-3 -> Boss NS-2 -> Hughes & Kettner Switchblade -> Peavey 4×12 Cab
- Warwick Corvette 5 String Bass with Warwick Red Label Strings
- Dark Glass B7K Ultra -> Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 (…and a Peterson Stomp Classic)
- Mapex Armory Kit
- Sabian AAX Xplosion Stage 14” Hihats
- Sabian HHX Xplosion Crash 16”
- Sabian HHX Xplosion Crash 18”
- UFIP Ride 21”
- Wuhan China 16”
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
We’re currently promoting our new music video for our latest single “You Will Know My Name” from our upcoming sophomore release Muted Neon. Alex Baker recently described our new single as sounding like ‘Sonic the Hedgehog backed by a really slick prog band’ so we’ll go with that.
What are your plans for 2018?
We’re currently finishing up our second album which will be released later this year, we’re going to be having an album release show in London and are looking to book gigs around the UK for the rest of the year with an aim to then play some shows around Europe and hopefully the US in 2019.