Behind The MusicAbove the Skyline

By Steven Guillen

Above the Skyline is back with a new line-up, a stronger sound, and a brand new album. I got the chance to sit down with the Homestead-based band and talk about what to expect for this upcoming year.

So it’s been a little bit of time since the last album right?

Zach: We released the last album in October of 2016

And In between that, you guys got a new female vocalist, Sierra.

Sierra: Yea

And what were you doing before meeting up with the band Sierra?

Sierra: Well I graduated last year in December and I wasn’t really doing music for the summer. I got sick with tonsillitis, so I was kind of out of it for about 6 or so months. Eventually Zach, in the middle of being sick, called and asked if I knew any singers and I’m like “yea I know one.”

So Zach came to you first. And did you know the band beforehand?

Sierra: Yea I actually knew him since high school.

Zach: We had a band once.

Sierra: Yea haha. We had a band in high school.

Zach: The band was never an official band, we just played in our garage for hours. Eventually, that dissipated. Sierra filled in a couple times when our other female singers couldn’t make it. It was kind of the perfect storm of her being available because she had just graduated and it just worked.

Sierra: I was waiting for my moment.

So when it comes to vocals, what are some of your main influences? Some artist you enjoy or styles you sing in.

Sierra: Well I was trained for musical theater my entire life, which is good and bad because I can belt really high but they have me doing that a lot, so I get tired. And I guess I listened to a lot of Celine Dion when I was younger, a lot of loud singers.

So when did you officially get signed on to the band

Zach: I say the summer.

Sierra: Yea sometime during the summer.

Zach: July or August, one of those.

So now after all that, you have your second album coming out March 1st. During that downtime were you guys experimenting with your sound? Anything different with your style compared to your first stuff.

Zach: Our first EP was like five songs and they were all over the place. Our second CD obviously we had a different female singer and also for the second CD a lot of people don’t know that Alec was just starting out on Bass. Then a year passes and we’re doing new stuff and were adding Sierra and her influence and we’re kinda finding our own sound. You can tell it’s us but it still has that edge and alternative rock mixture. And along with her [Sierra] coming in and Alec getting immensely better he added his own new flavor and with me Chloe and Erick doing our thing and that’s it. We found it, this is our sound and though every song is different it’s still singular to us. So if you know us well enough it’s like you know this song is us.

And I know Erick played a lot of metal music and hard rock so there’s that influence.

Alec: Yea he played in a post-hardcore band before.

So what are some bands that you’re grabbing influence from and using for your music if any?

Alec: I think we all have our own personal influence and when we bring our parts to the table it’s just kinda whatever feels right as we go along.

What are some personal influences for you, Alec?

Alec: That’s a hard one. I’d say Led Zepplin, John Paul Jones is a very strong bassist, I love sublime. I can listen to everything basically. I find influence in jazz, rock, hip-hop even.

And for you Chloe?

Chloe: Yea, I feel like I was raised on really generic rock, like Nickleback and Seether. It wasn’t until later, when I was in another band with Erick, that I started listening to more metal. So now I have a mix of that metal influence with that generic rock haha, but I try to make it more entertaining than it sounds.

Which studio did you guys record this album at?

Alec: Mocking Bird in Texas.

And do you guys use that studio usually?

Alec: For all of them, our EP, the last album, and this one.

Cool, so how’s the collaboration with everyone? Do you guys have a set plan for your music or do you guys kinda wing it in a way?

Zach: We’re all winging it!

Alec: Zach I would say writes the majority of the lyrics and melody, and on top of that Sierra is starting to bring in lyrics. Erick helps with the melody and me and Chloe do a lot of the rhythm section.

So for your singles, I know you guys released Fears recently and She Waits onValentines day Fears, how did you get that idea for the song.

Zach: well I’m a psych major, so I don’t know if that might play a part…

I see how it could.

Zach: Yea, I always like to get a good tune of what people are feeling and have a good idea of people’s emotions, so what better way to put that into a song than to try to make someone feel something. Fears is the first song that I successfully wrote on guitar, I don’t play guitar, but I fiddled enough with it to be like “hey guys I got three chords.” There’s arachnophobia in there, fear of heights, claustrophobia, clowns, everything. So we turned that into a song that turned into a Latin rock song with a whole bunch of drums, Latin percussion. And then Chloe took it to another level and made the video for it.

Yea I saw the video on your YouTube, it was great.

Zach: yea, the song wouldn’t really have the same effect if you don’t see the video.

And how about She Waits.

Zach: I wrote that one for one of my friends who made me his best man in his wedding.

And it’s just a different sound compared to Fears.

Zach: Yea you see what I mean, we’re versatile as hell… So She Waits, we put that out on Valentine’s day and it’s a ballet and it has awesome harmonies and vocals from Sierra.

Were the lyrics mainly written by you?

Zach: Yea. So he made me best man in the wedding and my friend jokes around like “You gotta make me a song now” And we laughed but I actually tried it and I did it and played it for them. We got a chance to record it and it transformed from just a piano song to a band song and we put out a little video for it and released it for Valentine’s day and hopefully in a week or so we’ll be putting out a lyric video for.

Since those two songs are so different, is there any sort of underlying theme for the album?

Zach: No.

Alec: We have our signature stamped on every song.

So there’s no message or anything you’re trying to get across with this.

Alec: It just represents us as artists I think. This one has a good bit of each of us.

What songs are you most excited for.

Zach: I can’t pick just one, I’m excited for all of them.

Alec: Ooh yeah.

Chloe: Sierra tell him about yours.

Sierra: Oh yea. Well, the first song that I ever wrote! Which is pretty cool.

Awesome, tell me about that one.

Sierra: Well Zach showed me this piano part and I was like “Oh that’s pretty I want to write something with that…”

Zach: It sounded very Evanescence like.

Sierra: yea absolutely. So I wanted to write it about a break-up that I just went through. But I didn’t want to sound cheesy, so I texted Zach and he was egging me on and asking me specific questions about the situation and then at the end, I felt much better and he was like ‘now everything you just told me, write that.’

And how long did that take you to finish?

Sierra: Um, about a month or two.

And what’s it called?

Sierra: [looks around] Can I say it?… It’s called Breath In.

So I know you guys have a bunch of shows coming, maybe tours. Tell me about the main events you have coming up.

Zach: On March 2nd we’re playing with Yardij at this bar up in Fort Lauderdale called Two&. So what we’ve been trying to do was do some release shows in different areas. Last weekend we did the Keys, March 2nd we got Fort Lauderdale, March 10th we’re playing in Homestead where most of us are from. We’re playing at this bar called Pub 935. We’re trying to just branch out everywhere, and then after all that the summer tour, maybe a week or two weeks, we’re trying to get a van.

Alec: We’re also playing at a record store soon. It’s called We Got the Beats in Fort Lauderdale.

You’re keeping the tour in Florida?

Zach:  Anywhere it takes us! We have connections in Atlanta, Georgia. I made a trip to Nashville about a month ago and got some numbers and some cards from some venues. By the way, Nashville is the best music place you can go to.

What are your thoughts on the music scene in Miami?

Alec: I think it’s slowly developing. It’s starting to develop into something bigger. After seeing Nashville, I could see the difference between a music scene that’s very strong compared to one that’s still growing.

Zach: Yea when you’re walking down Nashville on the main street there’s a bar to your left and you hear that live band playing and then you walk twenty or thirty feet and you hear a new band playing and it’s great sound coming out.

What are some Local bands that you guys have been playing with?

Zach: we’ve played with The Remyz, Pandarama, Drawing Bored band we met up in O’Mallys. We always try to keep it fresh and switch it up.

Alec: We play with Moonlight Sunrise.

Are there any other projects that you might be working on this year? Whats the main focus?

Alec: I just want to start traveling and playing music.

Zach: We’re really focusing on the new album. From here on out every single thing, we’re going to be doing will be preparing for that. Chloe makes a lot of videos and we got promotional stuff that we share. We’re kind of putting all our eggs in one basket for this, all of our attention is on the album. And the writing will always continue.

Cool, so do you guys have any final words for the fans?

Zach: What I really want people to get from this is that when you hear this album and the singles it’s not gonna be like anything you get around here or who you listen too. This whole album from start to finish is going to blow your mind, we got everything you want from the pop songs to hard rock to the ballets. We’re here trying to be the first of our kind and I feel like this album perfectly resembles that.

I’m excited about the new album. Thank you guys.

You can find news and music from Above the Skyline on Youtube, Spotify, Instagram, and Facebook. Their new album Fall Right into Place is out now on Spotify.

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