Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sea of Skies

Distance EP by Sea Of Skies
I recently got a chance to interview Sea of Skies for this week’s artist in-depth, which was quite an experience; the interview practically started with Paul commenting on my shirt which “makes him happy.” I was wearing my NWA “straight out of Compton" shirt, then which was followed by Joey declaring he was eating a peanut butter sandwich. The interview was filled with good conversation and great one liners and ended with some old faces from the music scene back when I lived in Corona.

This band of brothers hailing from Corona, California has made quite a rumble in the short time they’ve been on the local circuit. The band consists of Joey Virrueta-lead vocals and guitar, Andrew Virrueta-guitar, Alex Zimmer-guitar, Paul Zimmer-drums and synth and Drew Howard-bass and backing vocals. As I said before, truly a band of brothers. As a fan of bands like Animals as Leaders, Killswitch Engaged, and Dream Theater, this band has a little bit of everything and more to offer. Joey started playing about 11 years ago, but what pushed him to metal was when he heard Battery by Metallica which was actually being played by his father. Alex Zimmer started playing guitar when he was just 7 years old. 17 years later, he is now a guitar teacher himself. His younger brother Paul has been playing drums for 14 years and whose influences come from Porcupine Tree, Peter Gabriel, Pain of Salvation, and Yes and Genesis. Drew has been playing bass for about 7 years. Finally Andrew has been playing for about 7 years as well.

Joey and Andrew Virrueta who originally created the project and are also the main song writers, started off with an old Mac. Producing together, it basically broke down to two parts tones and mixing, with Joey doing mixing and Andrew coming up with the tones used on the E.P. I had made the comparison of Adam D. from Killswitch (famously known for his playing and producing) asking Joey if that would be something he’d like to pursue, a sort of rockstar by night and producer by day thing. He simply responded with, "Yes" and continued to say that he enjoyed the production aspect a lot and would love to pursue both. Then we got into the discussion of influences, each went through and laid them out. As far as Joey’s influences, they mostly derive from the band Thrice, whether it is vocal style or just songwriting in general saying “When I heard the band Thrice, I was maybe 15 years old. It changed my look on music. Ever since then I’ve been taking my fundamental songwriting, my vocal techniques and overall emotional overtone from Thrice amongst other bands.” Andrew, the more technical of the bunch derived his playing from bands like Animals as Leaders and Between The Buried and Me which provides the technical aspect of Sea Of Skies. Drew started with rush then lead to bands like Primus and Rage Against the Machine... you know the typical bassist response ;). Alex started with the album Awake by Dream Theater which was given to him by his father. Alex also takes influence from classical and jazz alike. But then exclaimed, “But really I’ve been influenced by anybody I’ve played with. It’s probably my biggest influence taking experience from others, from what to be and definitely not what to be.”

Then I posed a question I was anxious to know asking, “My favorite track by far would have to be Evolve. Well, Terra Firma is right up there as well; tell me about the process that the two songs went through from writing to influences or the thing or song that sparked that masterpiece? Side note; who the fuck came up with that amazing lead in Terra Firma?” Andrew replied with, “For Terra Firma, I had written a riff that was to hard to play, then Joey had adapted it and written a tappy version and we went with it.” As for the track Evolve, it apparently started with one chord from the song “posture and progress” from the band Artifex Pereo, which then from the one chord played on the high strings on that track, Joey then took that and shifted the chord a few times.

As for the background of the band and how it came to be. The band was started by brothers Joey and Andrew who first put a demo together in early 2010, about six months after and a lot of playtime on the internet. Alex came across the demo and gave it a listen. Then after being blown away by the demos he heard, he felt compelled and driven to join this band while dragging his brother Paul into it as well. Then after contact via Facebook, Joey thought it was all a bunch of bullshit, due to past musicians' failure to impress. After a jam session, they knew it was meant to be. Now as for Drew, the man with the bass, Paul had known Drew from another band in the same scene as Paul’s older band. After Paul’s departure from that band he had lost contact with Drew and that scene. Then after a post on craigslist, Paul basically crapped himself when the only response was from Drew, after an audition and all is said and done, Sea of Skies was formed.

Soon after that, a blast from the past came walking the door. Shota Yokoyama, the bass player from a ska band Instafu that I used to go and watch at the local venue Showcase Theater. Instafu opened for the band The Aggrolites. It was certainly a walk down memory lane to say the least. After all was said and done, this night was filled with great laughs and it was truly a pleasure to talk with these guys. It’s truly remarkable how such a young band has prospered and thrived in what for awhile was a dead scene. This whole experience has rekindled interest in my old music scene and I love it, but that’s another post for another day. Be sure to like them on Facebook and check their site. Listen to the playlist in the corner of our site to hear this amazing band!
Sea Of Skies Facebook

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