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Interviews: And The Sky Darkened

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the  Metal/Hard Rock band And The Sky Darkened from the UK. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

If I (Ryan - vocals/guitars) remember correctly it was a long and painful process (as it probably is with most bands!) I can’t even remember how many names we went through or what they were before we settled on it. It was probably the best of a bad bunch! Our previous drummer was into grindcore and death metal so there were a few “Rotting Flesh Wound” style suggestions thrown about at the time. We wanted something that wasn’t too over the top but not slapstick. 

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

At the end of the day it comes down to playing what you know and what you like. Our influences are quite varied but at their core are epic or intricate arrangements and big fat riffs. We allow the more unusual or non-metal influences to colour our sound and make us a little more interesting as a result.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

We’ve all collectively known (or known of) each other since around 1999 when Ollie (guitars) and James (bass) moved to the area. We all attended the same comprehensive school and I had previously given Ollie a few guitar lessons when he moved to the area as our parents were friends. Similarly James and I met when he started at our school and he had just started to learn guitar too so we started playing with a mutual friend as we were all in the same year at school. Matt (drums) and Ollie were also in the same year as each other and had jammed together on a few occasions.

4. Each band member favourite band?

We would probably all bicker over who gets to pick Metallica so I’m calling shotgun on them and it’s impossible to name just one each so here it goes: 

Ryan - Metallica, Charred Walls of the Damned, Alice In Chains, Killswitch Engage 

Ollie - Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Alter Bridge, Led Zeppelin

James - In Flames, Black Label Society, Children of Bodom, Iced Earth

Matt - Slayer, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

From an instrumental point of view things it can come from anywhere. You could be aimlessly playing your guitar whilst watching the TV and stumble across something that interests you or you can discover a new band or instrument tone that just makes you want sit down and deliberately create something. Lyrically, I find it more challenging as I find it helps to be in a certain mood in order to write lyrics. That is something I’ve worked on between our first and second EP in order to be more productive.

6. Where was your last gig?

Our most recent gig was at a small rock bar in Swansea called Crowley’s. We played our first few gigs there and the owners have always been good to us so it was nice to go back there with a bit more experience and some new tracks to play.

7. Where would you like to play?

Realistically in terms of the UK, somewhere like the Tramshed in Cardiff or the Patti Pavilion in Swansea would be a decent step up for us but long term obviously getting into arenas and going abroad would be our ultimate goals.

8. Who would you like to support?

The big one would obviously be someone like Metallica, but perhaps more realistically at this early stage bands like Trivium, In Flames or Killswitch Engage would probably be more appropriate. We could also probably get away (just) with supporting someone like Ghost or Alter Bridge due to our more melodic parts but to be honest we would be honoured to support any good established heavy band.

9. Who not?

To be honest we wouldn’t dismiss anyone out of hand unless it was such a massive contrast in styles that we wouldn’t benefit from playing to their audience. I think any band that has a degree of intensity or has big aggressive guitars as part of their core sound would work for us.

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

I don’t think any of us have experienced anything more than the usual few nerves before a show. James was nervous before his first gig with the band which was understandable and we’ve had one or 2 gigs where the right equipment hasn’t been provided so we’ve been slightly more on-edge than usual. Just before our second gig Ollie was accused of breaking an amplifier belonging to the headline act which led to some interesting note choices in the first track we performed that night largely due to nerves after being shouted at in broken English (the headline act were French). 

Regarding advise for beginners, you have to accept that there certain things outside of your control such as bad sound engineers, venue equipment, string breaks etc. As long as you can honestly say you have prepared and rehearsed for everything you can control you should be able to relax enough to put in a decent performance. Another tip would be to try and be a polite and as cordial with the sound engineer and venue staff as possible. A little kindness goes a long way and will help you relax and feel better about the gig overall (and score free drinks and an invite back!)

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Metallica, Iron Maiden and Killswitch Engage are more obvious ones but there’s also a large element of more extreme and progressive metal, alternative rock and even blues from time of time. Bands as diverse as Queensryche, Alice In Chains, Tool and Corrosion of Conformity have all been to blame to one point or another! Personally, I also find film scores and soundtracks to be a big influence, especially in regards to our more ambient and epic arrangements. Brad Fiedel, Hans Zimmer and Elliot Goldenthal are some of my favourites.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

There hasn’t been anything too crazy so far although I frequently question the sanity of those who rush say hello to our drummer before the frontman after the gig. I’m supposed to be the famous one!

13. What do you think of your fans?

We have a core group of fans that try to get to every show we are a part of. Those same people are the ones spreading the word on social media and supporting us at every step so we will always appreciate and have time for them.

14. What do you think of our site?

Its an excellent resource and something of a gem when it comes to spotlighting bands, especially the lesser-known or more underground stuff. Well done!

15. Something to add?

Please check us out on all the usual platforms and like, subscribe, comment, troll us etc whatever you want! Thank you to Breathing The core for featuring us!

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