Another Sky have been only been releasing music for a short time but already look set to be one of the most significant and exciting new UK acts of 2019. They play Clwb Ifor Bach 21st February (+ special guests the wonderful Laundrette) so we wanted to find out more about this enigmatic band.
You met when you were studying at Goldsmiths Art College in London. What aspects of your interests in creating art have been incorporated into the music and live performance of the band?
We actually studied music, but all forms of art collide there. Our first gigs were at a venue in Goldsmiths that allowed us to use projections and perform in total darkness.
The way women are treated in contemporary music has changed significantly in the past 50 years. What more do you thinks needs to be done to create true equality and to make gender a non-issue?
One thing we could do is start asking men the same questions, especially all-male bands. ‘Why do you think all your members are men? Why do you think not many women feel comfortable in music?’. It doesn’t have to be accusatory, we just need to extend the conversation to men. Gender needs to stop being framed as just a women’s issue.
You seemingly came out of nowhere. There are no audience filmed live videos that we can find on YouTube so presumably performing live is a relatively new thing for you?
We did so many open mic nights when we first started. I guess nobody filmed it back then! I think it’s really important to perform as much as possible and not be precious about it. It’s scary but reasonable people will accept you have to practice performing to progress.
You have a preference for performing and playing in darkness. Why is that?
We feel better in darkness because music becomes the vocal point. During rehearsals, we’d turn all the lights off and it was nice to bring that same vibe to the stage
Visuals are a major part of your live performances. Who creates these and how do you match what we see to what we are hearing?
We’ve built our own lights and backlight ourselves on stage. They used to be made of tin foil and look like UFOs but for this tour we built them anew so they flatpack for the van. Let’s see if they survive this time
Your songs seem to contain a lot of emotion and passion. The song “Chillers” for example contains the line “Why worry ‘bout the weather or nuclear weapons when you can eat for free on a black card at Nandos”. What triggered the lyrics for that song?
We were writing the song as a joke and I was super tired, laying on the floor singing into a microphone. At the time, we had access to a Nando’s card that wasn’t ours and the lyrics sort of fell out. Sometimes it feels like all you’re allowed to aspire to is getting rich and you’re actively discouraged from making disruptive protest music. Chillers is basically us sticking up our middle finger.
Catrin’s voice is a real captivating tour de force. How did she find and develop her singing style?
I used to sing much more feminine, to the point of damaging my voice by not singing in the right range. Someone once told me “you sing like you’re apologising for existing”. I found my belt voice and stopped being afraid of sounding like a man.
Your music is being released by Fiction Records who release the likes of Kate Tempest and Nick Mulvey. How did that relationship come about and why did you go with Fiction?
Jim Chancellor, head of Fiction Records, came to see us at Hackney Road Studios and we turned off the lights and performed as silhouettes. I think he liked it because he signed us! I’ve always been a huge fan of Kate Tempest so it’s an honour to be on the same record label.
You’ve released a number of singles are there any plans yet for a full length album?
Yeah! We’ve just built our own studio and we’re working on it now, although two months on tour has put it on hold for a bit.
You are about to embark on your first UK tour (I think?) How have you prepared for this and what can we expect when you play Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff?
We’ve built new lights, we have a fog machine and we all bought tiny suitcases to fit everything in the van. I have about two outfits to last a month.
Spring is getting closer and the festival season is on the horizon. What are your plans for the rest of 2019?
We have a few festivals booked! We have this plan to go and record in an abandoned underground bunker that has a ten second reverb tail. That’s what I’m most excited about.
Buy tickets here: https://clwb.net/events/event/another-sky/