It’s that time of year again, when in the run-up to Bloodstock we endeavour to interview every band gracing the SOPHIE, New Blood and Jägermeister stages from 8th – 11th August 2019. This means you’ve got a chance to read up on all your favourite bands set to play over the weekend and decide which new ones you’ll want to check out.
Our thanks to all the bands for taking the time out to answer our questions!
Skypilot – Jagermeister Stage, Friday
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
We all come from a small village in Co. Antrim called Doagh. It’s about 15 mins northwest of Belfast and if you follow the road-signs that say ‘Centre of the Universe’ you should find it easily!!!
How long have you been playing together as a band?
We have been together with an unchanged line-up for 17 years. Yes, we are old.
Where does the name of the band come from?
The name Skypilot is an American slang term for a preacher, padre or chaplain. It was a name that Dave had wanted to use for a band for a few years before we got together so he was really the originator, and no, it wasn’t taken from the song by The Animals in 1968. Bit before our time!
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
What makes us unique is that we tend not to fit easily into one particular genre of rock / metal. We play a style of music that draws on a wide range of influences, coupled with the length of time we have had to develop our sound, means that we do tend to stand out a bit more. We also tend to write songs in a less traditional way, with the vocals being the last thing that is added and the riffs and groove taking priority. It can start off with a guitar riff, drum groove or bassline and change direction as each part is added. It’s not deliberate, it’s just the way it’s happened over the years.
What’s your live show like? Why are people going to watch you instead of another band?
There are no frills. It’s just three guys on stage performing their music as best they can. We don’t necessarily jump about like other bands, and there’s no beating of chests or war-cries. A Skypilot show is all about getting lost in the music and finding your own place where you can listen to and enjoy the riffs and the intensity of the band. Dave has gotten a bit of a reputation for his onstage banter as well. He’s definitely missed his calling in life as a gameshow host!
Have you been to Bloodstock before? What did you think?
This will be the first time any of us have been to Bloodstock so it’s amazing that we’re actually playing at it as well. We’ve always heard great things about the festival as an event, the craic, the camaraderie and the sense of togetherness among the metal fans who go to it. So, we’re really excited not just to play but also to get the whole Bloodstock experience. It’s gonna be awesome!
When/how did you find out you’d been selected to play Bloodstock?
Obviously, for practical reasons, it was before any official announcements were made. It came as a huge surprise to us but the initial excitement is tempered by the fact that you cannot say anything until that official announcement is made. The news came to us through James Loveday of The Distortion Project who has been helping us out with promoting the band and pushed us to do the new album as well. It’s easily the biggest thing we will have done in our career to date so we feel hugely privileged to have been asked to play.
What sort of setlist can we expect?
The set will be mostly made up of our heavier, faster songs. There’s no time for a 20-minute jazz odyssey with this show! It will be intense, furious and in-your-face. In a nice way of course.
Which other band do you most hope you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?
I think primarily we want to be able to support the other local and Irish bands on the bill. Particularly Lock Horns who will be playing the New Blood stage this year. It’s important to show your support as well as represent your own scene at an event like Bloodstock. We want to show the rest of the UK and beyond what a great scene we actually have in Northern Ireland and Ireland so we’d encourage everyone else who’s travelling over from home to look for the local bands and turn out for them. You won’t be disappointed.
What are you working on at the moment?
At this time, we are focused on promoting our new album The Affront. We’ve been travelling back and forth to the UK to do some shows in support of that and also to help get our name out there before Bloodstock. It’s been great so far and audiences have been really receptive to what we do. We also currently booking shows for later in the year and into next year which we should be announcing soon.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Eh…yeah, we’d better be careful with this one! I’m sure there are a few stories you guys would love to hear, but for legal / career reasons, best not.
What drink do you throw back to get yourself fired up before going on stage?
Hobgoblin and Jagermeister of course!