Local band, Skies Are Red recently added a new member to their pod. Bassist, Fabien Thomas, 31, joins the initial trio comprising vocalist, Danielle Williams, a 27-year-old quality analyst by day, 33-year-old technical writer cum guitarist, Dervin Frank, and chemistry student and drummer, Malcolm Ambrose, 22.
In an exclusive with Eksentrika, they made known that they are not from this earth and displayed tremendous aptitude at answering interview questions. Naturally, we were quite blown away and therefore feel compelled to share their Q&A in its uncensored entirety.
Tell us three interesting things about each of you.
We come from a nearby star system. Our superiors have been observing Earth for a long time now. We have been given a very important assignment, and we are in the midst of executing our orders.
What’s the story behind you guys forming into a band? Is it linked to the mariner’s adage “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning.” Are you guys pirates or something?
We were assigned by our superiors. And no, we are not pirates. On the contrary, we are here to contribute.
Also, the sky is really red, not blue.
Are you guys self taught musicians or do you play sans music sheets? Tell us your (respective/collective) experience at honing your skills.
Our musical abilities were built into our systems. Hence, you could say we were born with them. Our songs are recorded in our memories (collective and individual), so there is no need for music sheets. All of us started our musical journey when we were young. Danielle started singing at 6, while Malcolm started playing drums at 7. Dervin started by playing drums at 13, then moved on to guitar at 16. Fabien Thomas started playing bass at the age of 15. Inspired by parents and friends, our love of music has evolved over the years. Each of us have different musical tastes but we are able to come together on common ground to create and inspire each other.
What is the band’s proudest milestone since forming in 2011, what are you guys working on currently and what’s the big goal to say “success”?
The meaning of the word success can be subjective. To us, being able to write, record and perform our music is success in itself. Our only goal is to get our music out there and to reach as many Earthlings as possible. Our biggest success so far is to be able to showcase our craft among Earthlings for the last 5 years and counting.
What are the main challenges you face as a band in the local scene and how do you overcome it?
The biggest challenge that we face is Malaysians’ opinion about our local music scene. Many Malaysians have no clue when it comes to the local music scene. There are those who think that Malaysian music isn’t good enough. Another challenge is when people tell us to consider doing something more worthwhile such as business, pursue a solid career, etc instead of making music. Yet another challenge is many Malaysians prefer to go watch bands play the Top 40s and golden oldies in hotels, pubs and lounges. But this is changing now, as more youngsters flock to gigs to watch bands play original music. We just continue to believe in ourselves and soldier on. There are many bands like us who continue to work hard to ensure that the creation of original music continues.
What inspires you guys to write your songs/keep playing/performing? Care to share your creative process? Do you maintain certain diciplines/daily routines to aid your work?
Our songs are written based on the human experience, and this includes freedom, aspiration, love, hate, spirituality, etc. The music is mainly written by Dervin, while the lyrics are written by both Danielle and Dervin. Dervin usually comes up with an idea for a riff, or a melody and soon the skeleton of a song takes shape. Then Danielle writes the lyrics, drawing from personal experiences as well as from others’. Once we get to the studio to jam, the song then takes a more solid form when Malcolm and Fabien contribute to the rhythm. We don’t really have strict discipline or routine per say, but we do ensure that we meet regularly to jam or just hang out so that the chemistry between us is maintained. A band with strong chemistry among its members is much more important than having members who are technically proficient.
How do you guys continue to improve yourselves respectively for the music?
Any musician who thinks that there is no more room to improve is delusional. Even the greats strive to improve and be better. We are constantly inspired to push ourselves to do new things, musically and lyrically. It’s the only way to grow and mature as musicians and songwriters.
How has your lives changed with playing as a band? In hindsight, what advice would you give to yourself if you had such an opportunity to turn back time and do so?
We have grown to be closer over the years, like family. We have forged friendships with other bands and musicians in the local scene. We have toured together with bands from KL and Penang. We have learnt so much about ourselves and about music. There is no turning back. Advice? Dongibap. Kipidap.
If you had could have superpowers to manipulate the currentl local music scene, what would it be and why?
Teleport people to every local gig/concert so that they can experience and believe that there is really good talent in this country that deserves support. Even if it is against their will.
In your opinion, does the equipment maketh the musician or vice versa? Tell us some preferred brands if any.
From our experience, a good musician can make any instrument sound great, regardless of brand or price. We don’t really acquire a lot of branded gear. Instead, we make do with what we can afford. Danielle uses a Behringer mic. Malcolm uses whatever drumsticks are comfortable. Dervin uses a Hamer electric guitar, L.Luthier acoustic, Rocktron Velocity amplifier and an array of effect pedals consisting of brands such as Dunlop, Vox, Mooer, Behringer, Maxon, etc. Fabien prefers the Ibanez Premium Soundgear bass guitar.
Follow Skies are Red on Facebook. Listen to their shit on Soundcloud and purchase their kick ass t-shirts at Lava.live. Are you a musician or a band interested in showcasing your music? Drop us an email at [email protected]