THE SKY DROPS

23 Mar

THE SKY DROPS

“Your Day Breaks – You Mind Aches – The Sky Drops”

There’s a nuance to the music of The Sky Drops that is so strong, so undeniable that one can extend its impact all the way through to the pronunciation of their name. Rather than thinking of the Delaware-duo as a “thing” – a thing that drops from the sky – we like to think of The Sky Drops as an “action” – the end approaches, the party’s over, the sky drops.

It’s the same combination of action and nuance that fuels our love for the music made by The Sky Drops – music that bleeds out past the edges of simple genre definition. Since beginning their fuzz-drenched journey with the release of their EP some five years ago, The Sky Drops have endeavored to explore the mystic, mental middle kingdom that exists somewhere between the vastness of the sky and the kind of riffs that you can chew bubblegum to. Spend some time with their recently released EP “Making Mountains” (available now on Custom Made Music) and we think you’ll agree are less searching for that middle kingdom in 2011 as they are living there, comfortably.

We could not be more thrilled that The Sky Drops continue to set their controls for the heart of the sun, while setting their Volvo tour wagon for the heart of Austin, Texas, for Austin Psych Fest 4. Rob Montejo (“R” below) and Monika Bullette (“M” below) were kind enough to sky drop some answers to our questions below.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being in a two-person band? Especially when it comes to touring – it would seem there is a benefit to having only one other person to get on your nerves, as opposed to two or three or seventeen (if you are in Tower of Power). Your thoughts?

R: Overall, I’d have to say the advantages outweigh the disadvantages by a country mile. When it comes to decisions, it’s pretty easy to come to an agreement. We don’t usually get on each other nerves. Although, if something is amiss in Camp Sky Drops, it can be a bit more intense and daunting to reconcile – because it’s right there, no buffer or mediator. On the other hand, we don’t have to worry about ganging up on one another or third party machinations planting seeds. We tend to resolve things quickly. Nip it in the bud. As far as performing, I certainly enjoy having the room on stage and not having to compromise my volume or sound to accommodate another guitar or bass. I’ve yet to tire of the freedom. We didn’t plan it that way, it just happened and we stuck with it. Plus, my Volvo wagon can’t carry anymore than the two of us, and the gear.

M: At this point, anyone else on stage would be an interloper.

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What were your earliest musical obsessions? Are there any of those musical obsessions that stay with you to this day? How do you find your appreciation and enthusiasm for music has changed over the years, if it all?

R: Before I knew any better, my first band obsession was The Police. The smart lyrics and atmospheric guitars knocked me out, and the range and depth of songs blew me away. What stays with me to this day … The Police somehow managed to create and contribute something that didn’t exist before them, a new aspect of rock music. That’s what separates great bands from good bands. As far as my appreciation and enthusiasm for music over the years is concerned, it started at the tallest of mountaintops. From there it came down over time and more or less plateaued at the foothills. In my youth, I was one lucky cat. I worked at an independent record store during the mid-80s through the early 90s and was exposed to a lot of great innovative music that was being made at that time. The list of bands could on and on, but they were on labels like Creation Records, 4AD, SST, Homestead, etc. I had seriously high expectations for bands. And took myself way too seriously. But I’ve since learned otherwise, and finally, after several years, gotten over myself and begun to enjoy music once again!

One of the highest compliments that I can pay to The Sky Drops is that your music doesn’t quite fit into any one category – heavy, melodic, psychedelic, hooks, etc. At the same time, the sound is cohesive – it doesn’t sound haphazard in the least. Was there a defined direction for the band at the onset of getting together as The Sky Drops?

R: Wow, that is a mighty compliment. All the agony has paid off — thank you! Yes, with The Sky Drops, a certain kind of sonic cohesiveness is what I’m aiming for. Musically, reconciling euphoric atmospherics, dissonance and raw power has been quite an artistic wrestling match. I love to gaze as much as I love to rock. Finding the sweet spot between the two is the impetus behind The Sky Drops. It starts with a song, then a particular sound and dynamic that isn’t quiet like something else.

What music have you been listening to lately? If push comes to shove, what’s your favorite Pink Floyd song of all time?

R: Lately, I can’t seem to get enough of the track “18 Years” by the Black Angels. That haunting moan – it gets me every time. I haven’t been right since I first heard it on MBV’s “Cigarette In Your Bed”. What can I say? Favorite Pink Floyd song … as much as I into Syd Barrett, after some arm-twisting, it would be “Us and Them”. Weirdly, I don’t equate Barrett with Floyd. I love “The Madcap Laughs.”

M: “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2” creeped me out as a kid. I had never heard such subversive lyrics on the radio and it really made an impression. There are really 3 Pink Floyds and I can’t abide by Part 3. Give me Syd or anything after him up to “The Wall.” Funnily enough, the Seaholm Power Plant, where Austin Psych Fest 4 is being held, looks a lot like something from “Animals.”

Will you please tell us your thoughts – in a sentence or two – with regard to the following five songs?

  • Sky Pilot” by Eric Burden & The Animals.

R: Funny, this one was on heavy rotation during the early days of Smashing Orange. We called Steve (the bass player) “Sky Dog”. How high can you fly?

  • “Not in Rivers, But in Drops” by Isis

R: Not terribly familiar with this track…? In the Tool family?

  • “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” by B.J. Thomas

R: This one’s a little too cloying for my taste.

  • “The Sky Children” by Kaleidoscope

R: Makes me want to listen to Love’s “Forever Changes.”

  • “Burnin’ Sky” by Bad Company

R: Not the worst thing I’ve heard.

How did you first hear about Austin Psych Fest? Are there any bands in particular that you are hoping to be able to see live?

R: We were invited to play last year, but we had a scheduling conflict and were not able to perform. So were very much looking forward to being part Psych Fest this year. I’d like to catch Roky Erickson and Black Ryder.

M: Agreed, I’m also curious about the Tobacco/Black Moth Super Rainbow sets.

What can you tell us about your upcoming EP on Custom Made Music, entitled “Making Mountains”? In particular, what can you tell us about the origin of the song, “Explain it to Me”?

R: I was listening to the drums track to “Out The Window” (another track on “Making Mountains”) and started playing around with some different chords, then, out of nowhere, an entirely new song happened. It came together very fast and effortlessly. New songs don’t usually evolve that way for me, but it was pretty exciting how it just flowed.
“Explain it to Me” put the EP in perspective and got things rolling along to completion.

Would you care to comment on the rumor (the rumor that I am attempting to start right now) that the title of the “Making Mountains” stems from your repeated attempts to sculpt a bust of Leslie West?

R: Outlandish.
M: If you know what I mean…

Oliver Sacks informs that “Chooglin'” Charles Darwin “speculated that ‘music tones and rhythms were used by our half-human ancestors, during the season of courtship, when animals of all kinds are excited not only by love, but by strong passions of jealousy, rivalry, and triumph’ and that speech arose, secondarily, from this primal music.” Your thoughts? Is there, in your mind, one primary emotion that fuels the music of The Sky Drops?

R: Something between ambiguity and abandonment. Maybe.

What’s next for The Sky Drops?

R: We’re planning on releasing a second EP in the Fall. It’s been a good year for new material thus far.
M: More, more, more, more, more.

The Sky Drops

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One Response to “THE SKY DROPS”

  1. dyaimz March 27, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    before smashing pumpkins started using the definite article I preferred to think of their name as an activity rather than as a description. I love the sky drops BTW.

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