Sky is Alright Set To Release Debut Self-Titled Album June 25th
Interview + Album Special
Discover Sky is Alright. This outfit originally began in 2018 when London-based Rishi Neal Arora began writing a handful of songs as a way to escape the growing despair of the world around him. A batch of songs were fully written, however they were missing a percussive foundation. Arora’s long-time high school friend, LA-based Chris Gregory, provided the drumming backbone the songs needed.
Sky is Alright is a shoegaze band based in London and Los Angeles. The band is comprised of members of Signal Hill and The Littlest Viking, both of which paved the way for LA’s post-rock and math-rock scenes from the early 2000s. The pair have announced their forthcoming self-titled debut which is due June 25th.
Sky Is Alright Track Listing
- Sky is Alright
- Crimson Sunburn
- Mistress Pessimist
- Indigo Moon
- Push Down Turn
- Last Bus Home
- Sun Falls Down
The first track the duo has shared from their upcoming debut is the perfect introduction to hook you to this compelling outfit. It coveys’ the sheer magnitude of distinguished rock crafted by two musicians. Creating this vast landscape of infectious melodies and consuming power. Sky is Alright create these sonically striking soundscapes filled with infectious melodies and rhythmic pulls, this almighty consuming power reigns their release. The new single Mistress Pessimist is a cyclonic lead single, delivering this raw attribute where this explosive energy dominates the proceedings but never oversteps its boundaries. Sky is Alright dynamically controls the intensity within their structure whilst keeping this unpredictable flair within their arrangement. This fuzz-enriched ambiance soars throughout each note as this infusion of shoegaze ties, garage rock fragility, and this irresistible spirit.
The softer vocal melodies cascade through the crushing soundscape, the vocal notes albeit tender offer this remarkable immediacy to the composition. As the thunderous drum kit adds so much depth to the expressive piece, the guitar passages and brighter riff inflictions propel this fierce edge to the release. As the momentum keeps up the intensity and this enveloping fuzz-filled warmth surrounds the audience, the ensemble expands to bring the expansive structure into the center of their audience’s attention. This broad and mighty world has been crafted through each longing note, the sheer raw essence of the tonality of this creation, and the comforting warmth emitting from the powerful instrumentation leading the way for the vocals to weave within the space available.
If we can get all of this connection from the debut single, we just know the album will be destined for greatness. It will make it’s mark on our world and right now, we need to be letting this art change us.
The sound that Sky is Alright craft alludes to this perfected musical vision, their tone and overall air gives this feeling that the band have been developing and refining their work for a long duration but the fact that Sky is Alright is still such a young collective showcases the talent each musician brings to this union. Their sound will hook you, equal parts melancholic to moving whilst stirring in these intimate currents. Sky is Alright provides sonic catharsis within their innovative vision. Their debut self-titled album will embark on this essential blistering affair.
We want to know more about their forthcoming album, we are delighted to have spent time speaking with Rishi and Chris to explore more about their musical world… ..
Before we get to the details of your music, especially your forthcoming debut, which you’ve just announced to the world, we want to get to know more on you- Firstly introduce yourselves, how you both met and your role within Sky Is Alright?
Rishi: My name is Rishi and I’m on guitars, bass and vocals. Chris and I first met in high school in San Diego, back in 1998. I honestly can’t remember exactly how we met but I’m sure it was through mutual friends (shoutout Indie Music Club). We were in two bands together over the years: a classic rock-influenced high school band called Tony Chapman’s Gentlemen’s Club, and later a math rock band in college called Cossack. We also used to play a lot of shows together in LA with our separate bands Signal Hill and The Littlest Viking. It took us a while, but we finally decided to start another project together called Sky is Alright.
Chris: I’m Chris on drums. It might actually have been the Indie Music Club! We would like watch Fugazi’s Instrument on VHS, and have vigorous debates over where in the Anniversary canon Sweet Marie sits (quite high in my estimation) while eating fruit roll ups and drinking Capri Sun. We eventually got around to jamming, and I would try and fail miserably to steal drum fills from the Lonesome Crowded West while Rishi would shred.
You’re quite a young and extremely promising outfit but how long has the band been established and where did the name come from?
Rishi: We started sending ideas back and forth in 2018. The name came from the song “Sky is Alright”, which is track 1 off the record. When writing that song, I was daydreaming about a secluded beach in Greece that my wife and I often visit. These days it’s not as secluded, but it’s still one of my most favorite places on the planet. So it was just a phrase that I wrote for the chorus, and it had a nice ring to it.
How are you managing with the long-distance outfit?
Chris: We’ve been definitely getting the most out of free Slack accounts. We’re putting Jimmy Tamborello and Ben Gibbard to shame coordinating band stuff, new demos etc.
Rishi: Chris and I just realized the other day… since we started this project, we haven’t done a single phone or video call. Everything has been done via email and Slack. I’m especially proud of this one email string with the subject line “Music Project”. The first email was basically like.. “Yo you want to be in another band?”. That thread went from April 2018 until January 2020, and has a total of 102 emails: just sending demos back and forth.
You’ve just announced the forthcoming debut and released a stellar single from the record, have you had any feedback so far about the work you’re creating?
Rishi: It was cool seeing a ripple effect after announcing the debut single and preorder. Seemed like people started sharing it amongst themselves which is amazing. I think the whispery vocal is usually a point of contention – you either love it or hate it. I think people that are used to that kind of sound have been enjoying it. We did have two separate people say they like the female vocals, which I thought was pretty cool. And a lot of people seem to get the 90s gritty guitar references which is great.
What does your lead single Mistress Pessimist mean to you and why was it the right debut single to share?
Rishi: We decided to lead with “Mistress” just because it brings so much energy. Think it’s a nice intro to the band. Lyrically the song is about my wife, who is quite the pessimist! I just added the word “mistress” before it, for this interesting consonance effect with the “s” sounds. Time to break out the de-esser (sorry Tony!).
How would you describe your own sound?
Rishi: A friend said that we sound like Pinback meets Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I am very much happy with this comparison. Chris replied saying that’s pretty much me and him in a nutshell. I’ve been big into Pinback for years now, and Mellon Collie is one of Chris’ favorite records, right Chris?! References aside, for me it’s all about that duality – soft vocals over heavy guitars and drums. I think that balance really works for us.
Chris: Choosing a favorite Pumpkins album is like choosing between my non-existent children, but I love Mellon Collie for sure. I probably have to be basic and say Siamese Dream is my all time favorite, with Adore as a dark horse contender. Some of their b-sides and deep cuts, like Not Worth Asking, Set the Ray to Jerry, White Spyder and Waiting are soooooooooooooo good I don’t know why they didn’t make the record.
Can you tell us what was the inspiration behind this new record?
Rishi: The world is becoming increasingly unstable, and as a result life feels more and more like a struggle. The record was born out of that context. The songs escape the present, reminisce about the past, and dream of some alternate time and place where everything is more calm, more human. There is certainly a sky motif throughout (lyrically, sonically, visually) that helps paint the picture. And I think pulling in sonic references from the 90s, and visual references from the 20s helps convey this idea of escaping the present in search of a time when human interaction was more real.
There is something really raw from the sound you’ve created, can you tell us more about your writing and recording process for this release.
Rishi: I would work on a song – the demo would include guitar parts and vocals – and would then send it to Chris who would add drums. We did that until eventually we had enough songs for a record. We met up in LA in February 2020 (luckily just before the lockdown), and recorded all 8 songs in 4 days. It was a whirlwind, but we made it through. I think part of the raw sound you’re referencing came from the classic DOD overdrive pedal used throughout the record (props to our engineer Tony Spica for bringing that to the session).
You’ve chosen some great formats to release the album on including both vinyl and CD, why is this important to you?
Rishi: Really looking forward to that vinyl! Can’t wait to see the front and back cover art in hand. And of course, it will be amazing to set it up on the turntable and listen to it in full. June 25 is just a couple months away!
Where did the artwork come from?
Rishi: The visual component of the release is very much influenced by the Bauhaus movement of the 1920s. At any given moment in the record, you’re hearing as many elements as you’re seeing on the cover. The sky references are there with the stars and moons. The two sisters (and two corresponding colors) represent the duality within the band: Chris & myself / LA & London / loud & soft. The sisters also add a human element to the composition, which for me is that breathy vocal floating on top of everything else in the mix. And there is an oblique reference to Death Cab for Cutie’s “Facts” album cover with these dots.
Is there a particular track from the album that you just love to play?
Chris: Indigo Moon is one of my favorites, it’s slower but goes hard.
Rishi: “Mistress Pessimist” just because it has so much energy. When Chris cuts to halftime for that end part, I just melt. Also “Last Bus Home”, mostly because Chris promised he would do the screams at the end, and I can’t wait to hear him do that live.
Do you think if and when it’s possible again you will both take this on the road and be able to tour?
Chris: Definitely, we’re chomping at the bit to play both in the US and the UK. WE MISS SHOWS SO MUCH.
Rishi: We’re working through some of those details now and will hopefully have news to share on that front very soon.
If you did tour and can play with any band- who would that be?
Chris: Soft Kill – That last record, Dead Kids, RIP City is soooooooo good.
Rishi: Hum would be a dream come true. Aside from being 90s legends, their latest album, Inlet is just too good.
You both collectively work on so many outfits, how do you find it balancing all your bands?
Chris: Google Docs to coordinate practice schedules! It’s super fun. Each band is different and requires a different approach, so having so many projects stretches different muscles and keeps things interesting.
Rishi: Slack ftw!
Finally, any last words?
Rishi: A major shoutout to all the people that helped us put this together. Tony Spica recorded and mixed everything. He did a stellar job and put up with us for quite a few months as we fine-tuned the mixes. Thanks to Dax Liniere for his fine mastering work as always! And a huge shoutout to Jason at Somewherecold for believing in us, and helping us get this out into the world. And of course, thanks to Circuit Sweet for always being there for us. We heart you!
It’s our absolute pleasure!