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Behind The Tracks: Imperial Skies - Listen Up! (Single) (2021)


Caleb - Vox - Imperial Skies: The Last couple of years have been hard. Real Hard. We have experienced lock downs, quarantines, facemasks, furlows... or working from home... or maybe not working at all, and a multitude of other socially, financially, and/or physically limiting events or requirements. But you already know that. For those who were already struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental and/or emotional distresses, these last couple years have been extremely difficult. During this time, I have watched some of my best friends, family members, and co-workers completely succumb to their own demons and have to fight like hell just to stay alive. Many have slipped into the darkest of darknesses or even questioned whether staying alive is/was even worth it anymore. During this time we really learned just how alone we really were or were not.

It was during this time, in the spring of 2020, that we started writing this song, "Listen Up!". The music came together as we were working on our previous single, "Seventeen". We found ourselves reliving High School-aged memories and diving back into many of the bands and styles we enjoyed in our youth. Bands like A Day to Remember, The Starting Line, The Years Gone By, Atreyu, Story of the Year, and even Fall Out Boy (Pre- "Folie a Deux") have always been guilty pleasures of ours. In such a dark time, music was our comfort; music made us happy.

Originally, "Listen Up!" (along with "Seventeen") were to go together on an album we were working on, set to release in Summer of 2020... but Covid had other plans. The album never came. Frankly, never really finished... And we even had to cancel our debut live performance.

Instead, to keep the world spinning, we focused on life and some of the major accomplishments we needed to take care of. Caleb (Vocalist) moved his family back to Indiana from Michigan, Ryan (rhythm guitar) moved his family a lot closer as well, and Bryan (guitar) got married.

When 2020 concluded, we were all happy to have it behind us.

As we got back into writing this year (2021), and piecing together many of the songs we had started for the album, "Listen Up!" stood out as one of our favorites... however, it still needed shape. It lacked organization and direction. It had several great lyrics to it, some very fun riffs, but no story. As I began to listen to the music over and over I thought more about why I wrote the first few lyrics I had. I thought about my mood, emotions, and what we were going through at the time. The song gets its name from the very first line of the song. The very first few lyrics that came to me as we began this song nearly 2 years ago. It came to me as such a simple, yet powerful way to get someone's attention. To scream the words "Listen up! I have something to say to you..." meant I was desperately trying to get their attention. In this case, it was literal.

During the first wave of lockdowns and quarantines in 2020, Bryan (our lead guitarist) had really struggled with the loneliness and darkness of working from home and no social interaction. It was a dark time. It was a frightening time. Though I knew my best friend had struggled with anxiety and depression before... I had never seen him like this. It put into perspective just how terrifying this was for him and many others all over the world. But instead of making a sad and bleak song, I wanted to focus more on the positives. The reasons for living. The reasons for continuing to move forward.

"Listen Up!" is literally a song comprised of my words, thoughts, and desires for Bryan and others during that time. As the song says, "there's something bigger, something better, so much better than this. You just have to get up, get out, while there is time still left..". I also wanted to infuse the song with my pleas to Bryan, as well as my heartfelt in-ear-whispers of hope and strength. I wanted him to know he is not alone. I wanted everyone to know they are not alone. "You gave up this fight far too long ago, but I wont let you face this all on your own... I am here til the end!"

The end of the song is my favorite. The last minute of the song really showcases exactly how I feel and felt. It says exactly what I needed to scream from the rooftops and make sure he (and everyone) hears. "I hear the silence in your suffering, but it's what you don't say that is far more concerning to me. I need you to just get up and let go, I cannot lose you to the sorrow that you think you know."

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Instagram: @imperial_skies

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