Monday, 10 September 2012

Music: Interview with Sky Larkin

What are Sky Larkin about, why should readerss of Art Fist come and see/listen to your music over the music of others?
It doesn't have to be a competition! Come see us because we'd like some ears to fill -and I think that we make music from a genuine place so I don't feel dirty asking people to come and be a part of what we're doing. And Nestor has a pink champagne drum kit that is dazzling in itself. Yum.

Who are your favourite musicians, what are your influences?
Well I'm not very good at prioritising in general so I'm not sure who is at the top of the list. But at the moment I'm enjoying Ponytail, Volcano!, Amadou & Mariam, Bodies of Water and right this very second 'The Healer' by Erykah Badu.

Do you have a philosophy?
Apart from 'don't be a dickhead', I think to always be interested and keep on keepin' on.

What makes you tick creatively?

External influences like books, bands, films, art etc are always stimulating but whats REALLY brainsparking is interacting with other human beings- I think interaction and reflection are the parents of creativity.

How do you create music, is it collectively, individually, through jamming, etc?
Usually I write the skeleton of a song and we flesh it out together, I've never liked jamming- but thats more because that when the band started the three of us were living so far apart (London, Leeds and Scotland) that every minute we had together was precious and we didnt have time for 14 minute wig outs. But maybe on the next record....

What musicians/bands would you recommend in Leeds?
Mechanical Owl, Cowtown, Pulled Apart by Horses, Dinosaur Pile-up, Vest For Tysso, Glaciers, Quack Quack, Vile Vile Creatures and about a zillion billion more.

Do you get much chance to see local art exhibitions? If so, are there any which stood out? Do you have favourite artists in general and locally?
I did an art degree so I do try to go to art galleries as much as possible when we are on tour- when I was in Portland after we recorded our album in Seattle I saw an amazing show by the artist Melissa Dyne. She made an incredible installation using architectural glass at the Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft. In Leeds art gallery I've always loved Praxitella by Percy Wyndham Lewis and the local artists I love are the Nous Vous Collecive ( who have done the artwork for The Golden Spike. Robert Smithson had a great influence on me when writing this record and other artists I love include Gordon Matta Clarke and Hélio Oiticica.

Do you have an opinion on any of the local art collectives in Leeds such as Black Dogs or Die Plankton?

Andy Abbot is involved in Black Dogs isn't he? Lovely chap, they are both examples of how many people there are in Leeds that have their fingers in many different creative pies.

I'm sure you get asked this all the time, is your name a reference to Horace Andy or XTC? If not, what inspired it?
It isn't, though it is amazing how many different explanations we get proposed- a guy in germany said "is it because of the sound the branches of trees make when the wind blows", which it isn't but isn't that wonderful! There are a couple of reasons for the choice but my favourite is that the sky lark birds only sing on the wing,

How far would you like to push the Sky Larkin? Would you like to be the next Coldplay, U2 etc.?

God no! I think stadium rock must be a lonely place to be. We'd never 'push' it and we never want to force what we do. When I had the idea to form a band the only goals I had were to release a 7" single and to maybe play a gig in another country- we've been lucky enough to do both those things so its all gravy on top of that.

Is there anything interesting you want to share with us about your debut album?
I remember when we got to Seattle we met John (Goodmanson, who produced the Golden Spike) when we had only just landed and were incredibly jet lagged. I was trying to make a good first impression and explain to him how I though the record should sound but it my zombiefied state the only words I could really concretely express were "raw and full". And that's what I think we have achieved- to make a record that sounds really full but still keeps its teeth.

Feel free to add anything else…
Thanks Art Fist! keep up the good work!

This interview originally appeared in Art Fist issue 5

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