Behind the Music: Interview with Skyline Sun

‘For me, ‘Flesh and Bones’ is a true insight into my current place as a musician and composer.’

Following the recent release of his new EP ‘Flesh and Bones’, we chatted with Berlin-based Skyline Sun (Jarrah Dhyan) about cross-genre jazz, musical influences, and how living on different sides of the world has influenced his sound.

Hi Jarrah, congratulations on the release of your new EP as Skyline Sun, what’s the story behind the moniker? The moniker Skyline Sun came from a habit and ritual of mine where every new city I travelled to, I would take a photo of the skyline. It became a way for me to connect to wherever I was and really sink into a place, its culture, music, and atmosphere. The name evolved naturally from there.

For those who haven’t heard your music before, what words would you use to describe it? I would say it has some sense of duality. The music is both for someone who wants to sit down and think about the music, while also being there for people who want to turn off their brain and just dance. It’s really designed to be both.

Which artists – jazz or otherwise – are you most inspired by? I draw my influences from many different areas of music, from incredible musicians such Kamaal Williams, Yussef Dayes, and Robert Glasper, but also producers such as Flying Lotus.

Turning to your diverse EP ‘Flesh & Bones’, how did it come about? The session for the release happened all very quickly back in August of 2020. All the song were written a few weeks before the session and then all recorded over two days in a warehouse space in Berlin. I then mixed and mastered the EP while slowly releasing singles in the months leading up to the final release.

Who else did you work with on the release and what did they bring the sound? I worked with some incredible musicians here in Berlin, Joaquin Castillo on bass, Davide Incorvaia on Keyboard, and David Guy on drums. They all really brought their own sound which was exactly what I wanted. This was especially the case when it came to synth patches and bass tones. I always encouraged them to experiment and come up with what sounds they thought would work for the situation.

The blend of let rip experimental and more ‘mainstream’ jazz/funk musicality on opener ‘Fleisch’ is superb. What is your process for constructing a track such as that one? Fleisch evolved from a simple chordal idea I had on guitar. For me, that is quite often what happens. I always seem to start with guitar and then drums or some sort of rhythm. Quite often I program the drums and create demos so the musicians know what the vibe I’m going for is.

Similarly, while you’re always pushing the boundaries of what people may expect to hear, ‘Berlin’ seems to be focused on this. What led to you including such a contrasting moment on the EP? That track was meant to be a snapshot of a crazy and unexpected gathering in Berlin. It can be experimental or strange, and it was meant to represent that side of the city.

‘I have played so many different styles of music my whole life and that always influences whatever I create and compose.’

It’s very easy to imagine the release going down a storm in a venue, but in the meantime, how should listeners create the best environment when giving it a spin? Of course this music is really meant to be performed live with a dancing audience. But for now, creating any environment where you can dance and feel completely unrestricted in what you can do. Go for a run or dance down the street. Honestly, that’s what I have been doing to the music.

What was the standout moment from the creation and/or recording process of the release? The most amazing part was the final day of recording. We recorded the EP over a day and a half and then for the second part of the second day we had a small audience come in to see the whole EP recorded live with video as well. It was a really nice and intimate setting.

And thinking about your other releases to date, what do you feel ‘Flesh and Bones’ says about you that others don’t? For me, Flesh and Bones is a true insight into my current place as a musician and composer. Rather than the sound of my previous EP and other singles, it feels more ‘my voice’ than ever before.

Reflecting on your musical life, to what extent has growing up in Australia and Europe influenced your development? Australia of course has had a big influence on the music I make and the sound that it follows. However, for many years I have felt that my influences have come from almost everywhere across the world. Be it the jazz scene in the UK, the US, South America, and India. I have played so many different styles of music my whole life and that always influences whatever I create and compose.

So linked with this, with you now being based in Berlin, what’s the jazz scene like there? Berlin’s jazz scene is great. What I do really like is that there is a beautiful blend of different genres, with many acts combining jazz with RnB or Hip-Hop, or more funk-based musicians but through a jazz lens. Some of my favourites are Àbáse, ZFEX, and S. Fidelity.

And finally, what lies ahead for you musically in the rest of 2021? I have many more releases planned for the near future and many more collaborations planned in 2021. I want to really push forward my ideas not only as a guitarist and composer but also as a producer. 

Thanks Skyline Sun for chatting with Listen to Discover 

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