‘We find that melodies are more important than lyrics, so the music usually comes first.’
With their debut single ‘Recall’ out 19th Feb, we chatted to 5-piece alternative-rock band Fuzz Skyler to discover more about how they create such a phenomenal sound, and what it is like being a new artist in the music industry.
Who is involved in Fuzz Skyler? Fuzz is the lead singer and songwriter. Dan and Kostas are our guitarists, and they have learned to dabble in video and audio editing these past few months. Arnie plays bass and Mark is our drummer and co-writer.
With each of you originating from different countries, how does this impact your music? It can be troublesome sometimes. One of us can say something we take for granted because of our background, but that might not be perceived the same way by the rest of the band. But on the whole, it helps us because we all come up with different flavours for our sound. Plus, it keeps the music as our central and universal language. That’s always at the core of what we’re communicating.
What other musical and non-musical elements influence your tracks? I think we all have a wide range of individual influences which get smashed together. There are some common denominator influences though such as Queen, Bowie, Radiohead and Muse. It’s hard to miss the influence of those in our music. That vibe is the overlapping part of the Venn diagram to our sound, but other influences sneak into what each of us brings, causing them to melt together.
Turning to your forthcoming debut, what made you choose to release ‘Recall’ first? The vocal hook and the raw scream of it both make it sound like an announcement, like the beginning of something, so it made the most sense.
When writing the track, did the lyrics or instrumental elements come first? As a band, we find that melodies are more important than the lyrics, so usually the music comes first and then the lyrics. Our approach with ‘Recall’ was exactly this.
I love the fantastic sense of connection between all elements, for instance how the guitar riff reflects the vocals. How do decisions like that come about? It’s mostly from playing the song together for a long time and jamming on it. For us, it’s always about the melodies. That vocal hook is such a striking melody so we thought we could make more of it by adding the guitar mimicking it and it works for the song.
This track has evolved so much since the first recording. It was one of the first demos Fuzz sent out to the rest of us when he was constructing the band around his early demos. He had played it with some guys from university, who formed the first Fuzz Skyler and together they did a crappy demo. The song then evolved when Fuzz formed Fuzz Skyler with us, and we did another crappy demo. Then we worked on it with Andrew Hunt – our producer – and you get what you hear today.
‘The constant flow of new music and new artists is exciting, but it takes a lot of work to stand out.’
The line ‘How many times can they remarket a whore?’ appears to carry a symbolic/metaphorical edge. What is the meaning behind it? The ‘whore’ in this instance refers to a musical act (i.e. a band or singer) constantly being recycled and remarketed by the music industry. The result being that there is no room left for upcoming artists. This is particularly true in current times, and the repetition of the line cements the anger felt across the industry in this day and age.
So what is the key message you would like others to take from listening to the track? Make. Your. Voice. Heard.
What does a Fuzz Skyler recording session normally involve? A lot of swearing and cursing! Each of us will be trying to get the other members of the group into our brains to hear a specific idea, riff or groove, and that’s a challenging process. Our sessions involve a lot of experimenting with sounds as we try and reach for something different and new.
What can you tell us about the other tracks on the EP scheduled for later this year? The other three songs will be released as stand-alone singles with each showing a different facet of the band’s sound. You’ve got straight up, balls to the wall rock, more serious, darker moods, and ballad-esque moments all weaved into this EP. You can definitly expect variation.
When did you all realise music would be such a key part of life? Fuzz was the first at age 4. He got his first piano and he just knew. Mark started drum lessons at age 7 – a tactic by his parents to channel some of the rhythmic tendencies they’d seen in him. Kostas had a couple of musicians in his family, but he got hold of a guitar through school age 9. Dan was a teenager when he found himself listening to tracks just to imagine the guitar parts and how they would be played. Arnie was also about 15 when he was invited to join a rock band with some mates. The lead singer always wanted to be a rockstar and Arnie was inspired by his passion, but the whole thing seemed a bit stupid. Then he started learning bass and it was the greatest thing.
Random fact about the band? We can only write if there’s a rabbit in the room!
You recently recorded a version of the single with Headliner and QCS UK. How did it feel having the opportunity to perform again? Loud! When we rehearse, we dampen everything down quite dramatically – with sheets on the drums and all the amplification turned down low. To get back into a studio and play as if it was a gig again was very exhilarating.
How do you feel about the immediate future of the live music industry and what can people do to help it survive? Honestly, just play and listen to good music. With everything going on here in the UK, it doesn’t look great for musicians and artists in general and it’s sad to hear of so many independent venues having to close their doors permanently. We’re hoping it’s a trend that will turn around when normality returns, but for that to happen, we just need bands to keep on playing and people to keep on listening.
And finally, what has been the most surprising element of being a new artist in the industry? How hard it is to be noticed. There’s a constant flow of new music and new artists every single day, and that’s exciting but to stand out takes a lot of work.
Thanks Fuzz Skyler for chatting with Listen to Discover