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Progressive Rock Interviews

SkyTalk

Interviewed by Gary Hill
Interview with Ello Costello of SkyTalk from 2016
MSJ:

Can you catch the readers up on the history of your involvement in music – both individually and as a band?

Well, music for me began with writing computer music at age 14 and starting to play drums and piano at 15. I was in a few bands here and there with friends but nothing too serious. When college started and my bandmates all went their separate ways I started writing and releasing solo music under the name onevoice which kept me occupied for two years or so and still continues to occupy part of my time. I met the Steinberg brothers while at Purchase and knew that if we wrote music together it would be powerful. A few months after meeting them we started this band, and it’s become my main project ever since.
MSJ: If you weren't involved in music what do you think you'd be doing?
Something creative for sure, nothing "professional" or routine in any way. Without music it would be writing or something, but even that wouldn’t fulfill me the way music does. Before I was any good or had any idea what I was doing I knew music was it. It was a goal that was set for me.
MSJ: How did the name of the group originate?

Talor and I were watching an episode of an anime called “Sailor Moon” and were discussing the story for a while, since it can get strangely complicated when all the timelines start intertwining in the story. At some point Talor said to me, "wow, this is a lot of moon talk.” Then we laughed and said that should be the name. But, MoonTalk was taken so we were looking for another (blank)Talk and SkyTalk fit our message and image the best. This music is meant to be positive and discuss the seemingly "out there" concepts of spirituality that we think and talk about on a daily basis, so the name really fit.

MSJ: Who would you see as your musical influences?
Prog for sure, and I know for the boys a lot of funk and soul influences as well. We all really love Japanese music, too and allow ourselves to be influenced even by music we aren't all that heavily into. The goal of our writing process is let the music write itself and figure it out later. There is nothing we are "going for" when we start writing, just a vibe we are sitting in that we go with and follow to its end.
MSJ: What's ahead for you?
Lots more shows and such and also a lot of recording. We are currently recording our first full length and have started writing an EP that will be recorded and released sometime after that.
MSJ: I know artists hate to have their music pigeonholed or labeled, but how would you describe your music?
Prog is what we should be labeled but we are aware that we aren’t prog in the literal sense. We are incredibly inspired by our favorite 70s prog bands but aren't trying to directly copy them or even have their influence be visible in our style. We want to create a new style or even genre, or rather we feel like the music we channel is doing that on its own anyway.
MSJ: Are there musicians with whom you would like to play with in the future?
None come to mind as of now other than this new band Guerilla Toss that I think has a kicka** and unique style.. Although I don't think we sound alike
MSJ: Do you think that illegal downloading or streaming of music is a help or hindrance to the careers of musicians?
All I know is that if it’s between someone not being able to pay for my music and someone getting it for free, I would rather they have the music because money is great, but I mostly care about spreading this music that I believe will bring people joy.
MSJ: In a related question, how do you feel about fans recording shows and trading them or posting them online?
Well at this stage go for it! We haven't played any "big" shows yet so people recording them for us and posting about them would make me happy because it would show people are really inspired and want to share our sound.
MSJ: If you were a superhero, what music person would be your arch nemesis and why?
My arch nemesis.... this is a tough one - probably a rapper of some sort since that's probably the exact opposite of our musical style.
MSJ: If you were to put together your ultimate band (a band you'd like to hear or catch live), who would be in it and why?
Bill Bruford on drums with Geddy on bass would be awesome to see. Also Steven Wilson working with Peart would be bada**.
MSJ: If you were in charge of assembling a music festival and wanted it to be the ultimate one from your point of view who would be playing?
All of the bands I'm nerdy about basically... Steven Wilson for sure... I also think Afro Celt Sound System is awesome, and it would be cool to see them amongst prog bands since they can get really proggy themselves.  This is a tough one though since a lot of my favorite bands aren't together right now.
MSJ: What was the last CD you bought and/or what have you been listening to lately?
I've been in a huge Bob Marley phase right now, and the CD on repeat for me is his Live at the Roxy
MSJ: Have you read any good books lately?
I've been reading a bunch of David Hawkins books as well as A Course in Miracles.
MSJ: What about the last concert you attended for your enjoyment?
Steven Wilson was awesome!
MSJ: Do you have a musical “guilty pleasure?”
Overly adorable J-Pop
MSJ: What has been your biggest Spinal Tap moment?
Forgetting sticks at a gig and having to have someone find kitchen utensils for me to play with (these dish brushes). It was painful in every way, but I never forgot sticks again.
MSJ: If you could sit down to dinner with any three people, living or dead, for food and conversation, with whom would you be dining?
Well my band just really wants to have dinner with Jon Anderson.
MSJ: What would be on the menu?
Whatever he wants!
MSJ: Are there any closing thoughts you would like to get out there?
Stay excited for new music, music we truly believe in and have put everything we could into. We hope it inspires you and helps you keep going and stay positive no matter what.

 

MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.
 
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