Chiming guitars, brilliant pop melodies, propulsive drumming. What more do you need? Forget the buzz band label, Sky Larkin is the real deal. Media savvy with an understanding of the practice of mixing great artwork, videos and music to capture our hearts. Drummer Nestor Matthews talks with TDOA writer Amy about their craft.
TDOA: The video for Still Windmills is very interesting – who produced it?
N: It’s the first single from Kaleide and it was produced, directed and edited by Margarita Louca in the fair city of London. Margarita wanted to visualise the themes of potential and momentum in the song by following her friend Nina (and her amazing tattoos) around for day, recording events in slightly-slow motion to emphasise every movement and action, which I think in turn causes viewers to think about their own movements and the potential within them. Bonus video fact: there was to be another scene centered around Nina and her bike but she fell off it the night before and ended up in a sling! Fortunately she’s OK now and I think the video is perfect as it is.
TDOA: I love that you all have your own cocktail recipe – how did that come about?
N: Sky Larkin’s favourite person in the world, Tommy B, used to work in a bar in Leeds called The Wardrobe and I believe Tommy and Doug spent many hours one day enduring cocktail after cocktail making sure that the recipe was just right… Brave souls indeed.
TDOA: Can you explain the Kaleide album art? It’s very interesting and awesome.
N: It’s all designed by the visual genius that is Jack Hudson (http://jackhudsonillustration.blogspot.com/). It’s all based on or around the idea of the kaleidoscope, filled with images jack has drawn from the album and photos that we took ourselves while out recording it. A lot of Katie’s lyrics on this album reference light in one way or another, so its quite a nice subtle link between the music and the artwork too. We’re hopefully going to be setting up an interactive version of the artwork on the website soon (www.weareskylarkin.com) in which people can upload their own photos to be included in a continually changing kaleidoscope.
TDOA:I didn’t see any influences listed on your Myspace page –what musicians do you respect the most?
N: It’s a bit corny, but we often find we have the most respect for our friends. When you’ve known someone for a while and have watched how much effort they put into their work it helps you stay enthusiastic and proactive about your own music. I remember when I first heard the new Pulled Apart By Horses (best buds of ours, and definitely worth seeking out if you haven’t heard it!) album I had to have a sit down because I got all teary with pride!
TDOA: How was working with John Goodmanson? What was the best advice he gave you all?
N: I don’t think John gave us any advice as such; he’s an incredibly enthusiastic guy with a massive wealth of experience which makes him him so much fun to work with. He’s a big advocate of making sure that the sounds you record at the start of the process are as close as possible to how you’d like them to sound at the end, which makes for a much more organic process as a live band in the studio.
TDOA: Tell me about your experiences touring with The Cribs. Any crazy wild stories?
N: Ross Jarman off of The Cribs accidentally shattered a shower door on the first night, he had to walk barefoot across the glass on the floor to get help and he still played every night afterward despite a nasty cut on one of his hands, what a guy.
TDOA: How would you compare working with a small label to working with a larger one?
N: To be fair, we’ve never worked with a bigger label before so we can’t really compare them. However, one of the best things about working with a small label is just that, its small. Wichita Recordings is run out of just one room in London, with three (or four, or five)
TDOA: Since we’re in Texas, tell me about SXSW. Good reception, good experience? What did you think of Austin?
N: Doug and I went off one day in search of a house party/show in suburban Austin, away from the SXSW hustle and bustle. It was nice to see a different part of the city, enjoy the amazing weather (which I’ve been told has been absent for the last few years!), and finally find the party/show, which was one of the best things I went to the whole time we were there.
TDOA: How do you handle the ‘hype machine?’ With music bloggers, writers, and enthusiasts being all OMG SKY LARKIN – is it easy to deal with, or overwhelming?
N: Its a massive compliment that people are moved to write about the music we’ve made and it’s encouraging in the sense that we haven’t played a lot of the new album live yet, we’re looking forward to it as much as anyone else is! I guess there can be a bit of pressure, especially when we’ve been locked away in the studio and haven’t played in a while, but anyway, a bit of pressure keeps us on our toes!
See them live:
Oct 18 2010 Bootleg Theatre Los Angeles, CA
Oct 21 2010 Wichita CMJ Party, Delancey’s, New York New York
Oct 22 2010 Red Palace Washington DC, Washington
Oct 24 2010 Great Scott Boston, MA
Oct 26 2010 Casa del Popolo Montréal, QC, CANADA
Oct 27 2010 Horseshoe Tavern Toronto, CANADA, CANADA
Oct 28 2010 Grog Shop Cleveland Heights, OH
Oct 29 2010 Subterranean Chicago, IL
Nov 13 2010 ABC Glasgow, Scotland, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 14 2010 Leeds Met Uni Leeds, Yorkshire, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 15 2010 Komedia Brighton, Brighton, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 16 2010 Werkstatt Cologne, Germany, GERMANY
Nov 18 2010 Festsaal Kreuzberg Berlin, Germany, GERMANY
Nov 20 2010 Nouveau France Paris, France, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 21 2010 Trix Belgium Antwerp, Belgium, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 22 2010 Electric Ballroom Camden Town, Greater Lo, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 24 2010 Sugarmill Stoke, Stoke-on-T, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 25 2010 Rescue Rooms Nottingham, UK
Nov 26 2010 Phoenix Theatre Exeter, Exeter, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 27 2010 Komedia Brighton, Brighton, UNITED KINGDOM
Nov 29 2010 Cockpit West Yorkshire, UK
Nov 30 2010 Slade Room Wolverhampton, UK, UK, UNITED KINGDOM
Dec 1 2010 Shepard’s Bush Empire London, London, UNITED KINGDOM
Dec 2 2010 Barrowland Glasgow, Glasgow Ci, UNITED KINGDOM