Skyview Drive
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Skyview Drive

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Skyview Drive keeps its eye on the prize"

The members of the local band Skyview Drive aren't exactly sure how to describe their sound, but maybe that's not such a bad thing.

What the five members of the band can do, however, is tell you what their influences are.

Guitarist Steve Ackles, a student at Franklin High School, says that he's been influenced by many of the local bands he's seen perform over the past few years, including the Walpole-based band Faraway.

Franklin's Tim Moody, a Xaverian student, cites the popular national artists Coheed and Cambria and the Boston-based post hardcore band the Receiving End of Sirens, as his influences.

Drummer Johnny King, a Walpole resident, comes from a hardcore background, and uses those influences to give Skyview Drive a harder edge with his percussion work.

Vocalist and fellow Walpole resident Jeff Walker, on the other hand, draws his inspiration from the arena of classic rock. Included among his influences are Queen vocalist Freddy Mercury and Journey frontman Steve Perry - two artists with a great deal of stage presence.

While all of these influences may seem likely to contradict each other once the band takes the stage, they actually work to the band's advantage - producing a sound that is hard to describe in a few words.

The influences of punk and hardcore music are certainly there, but the music also has a great deal of melody, especially in Walker's vocals.

The band, which will wrap up a busy week of performing tonight, July 21, with a show at the Natick Center of the Arts, has already played this week at The Living Room in Providence, RI, the Seekonk American Legion, and the Millis Town Common.

The show at the Living Room was one of the band's best experiences thus far, as it was one of their first oppurtunities to play in a real club setting, Steve said in an email this week.

He noted that many of their performances take place at local American Legion and VFW Halls, though the number of those places that are still open to rock shows has been dwindling in recent years.

Performing at local shows is definitely a do-it-yourself venture, as the band carts its own equipment to and from each location, often working to fit as much into each car as possible.

That's not to say they mind the extra effort, however. Steve said that all the struggles of starting up a band are worth it once you get a loud and exciting reaction from the crowd at the end of the show.

One of the band's fondest memories was a show last February, in which they admittedly went into the performance feeling unprepared, but nevertheless got a great response from the audience, he said.

It is this love for performing that has shaped Skyview Drive's goals as a band - namely, the chance to have their music heard by as many people as possible.

To that end, they recently recorded a two-song demo CD at the Slaughterhouse Recording Studio in Northhampton.

Steve explained that the song writing process usually begins with a guitar riff that he or Tim will bring to the table, and the rest of the band helps to develop the song from there. King, the band's drummer, often comes up with ideas for both drum intros and entire songs, Steve said.

Once the band's demo was complete, Mike Peacock, a music teacher at Franklin High School, helped the band with promotion and marketing, specifically by printing professional looking CD labels at Sound in the Hall records - a student-run music studio that he supervises at FHS.

But as is often the case with local music these days, perhaps the best venue for the band to promote its work is the myspace.com website.

The band has used the site to post a profile, a list of upcoming shows, and the two tracks on their demo CD. The site also offers a picture of the band, some photos from their recent recording session, and the lyrics to their songs.

Since creating their own page, the band's profile has been viewed 22,000 times, while their song Trapped, In The Citadel has received more than 11,000 listens.

The band is hoping to go back to the studio this fall to record a five-song EP. In an effort to take the band to the next level, they have dedicated a lot of time this summer to practicing.

With all of the members going to different high schools, it's not always easy to get together during the school year, though they do try to set aside one day each weekend to practice.

Going to different schools has its advantages as well, Steve noted. Since they're not around each other every day, they are less likely to get into arguments. It also gives them the oppurtunity to promote the band to different groups of students.

For more information, log on to www.myspace.com/skyviewdrive - The Franklin Times


"Skyview Drive - What If They Knew"

Rock and roll with a dash of indie rock and hardcore influence came together to form Skyview Drive, a self-driven experimental rock band from Massachusetts. The two-song EP What If They Knew gives a taste of what the band has to offer with a plethora of diverse influences from Saves The Day and The Get Up Kids to the RX Bandits and GunsLikeGirls while giving plenty of room for the band to grow. The collective ages of the band average out to just sixteen years yet the sound doesn't lead on to that fact.

Opening track Trapped, In The Citadel shows a rock element right from the start with vocals reminiscent of Three Doors Down and The Receiving End Of Sirens. Lyrically, the material of Trapped, In The Citadel has a metaphorical sense that doesn't rate up there with bands like American Nightmare but certainly has more substance than the average rock band. "Burning embers in the air; we are the smell of fear. Prisoners of our own ways, of the words that we can't say." Influences of hardcore and post-hardcore come out with a more breakdown-friendly sound towards the end that fades out into some catchy guitar riffs.

The second track Deception has a darker feel to it, with vocals grasping lines like "She's a heartbreaker, and she will not let me go (killing me, killing me)." and "Red skies are taking over fear." The song starts off with a synthesizer rhythm that is really catchy and leads into vocals that sound a lot more like The Receiving End Of Sirens than the previous track. Towards the end of the track, a heavily-hardcore influenced breakdown comes on with the only screaming in the album, which caught me off-guard but added a lot more emotional depth to it as it progressed. The higher screams work well, but the lower screams at the very beginning don't seem to fit as well to the tuning of the guitars. The build-up throughout the track really works well and delivers a powerful ending to the album.

For a debut EP, What If They Knew has some great things going for it. The guitar riffs, drums, bass lines, and lyrics seem to all work well together, although various tweaks here and there with pitch of voice or placing of "breakdowns" could add more depth and solidify the sound Skyview Drive is going towards. A very rock-oriented sound with elements of hardcore and indie has a promising future for Skyview Drive, and with the advent of more material, I think a more cohesive sound will develop that mixes all the influences into a sound that is carried through all the tracks. Until then, this two-song EP, available on Myspace, is a healthy introduction to the Massachusetts-based band.
- Dan Gonyea


Discography

Our most well known work is our latest EP entitled, "What If They Knew". Tracks from this EP are currently streaming on Outbound Radio (www.outbound-music.com) as well as radio stations throughout the Los Angeles area.

We plan on recording another EP this fall which will include five new songs from Skyview Drive.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Five kids. Hardcore. Punk. Classic rock. A dash of attitude and a desire for more. Mix well onstage in front of a crowd of singing fans, and you will have the rock and roll band Skyview Drive. Hailing from Walpole and Franklin, Massachusetts, Jeff (Vocals), Steve (Guitar), Sam (Bass/electronics), John (Drums/vocals), and Tim (Guitar/vocals) are driven by a need to and love of performing. They are on a mission from their Muse to create songs that have an edge, hook, and rock and roll beat that people will love. And, though still in high school, they're well on their way to finding it.

Their inevitable success may have something to do with the eclectic mix of influences they have as a band, and their ability to incorporate all of these into their music. Each song has a little something for everyone. Hardcore fans can appreciate the screaming, classic rock fans will enjoy the melodic vocals, and musicians will enjoy some of the harmonizing that goes on. No matter what your rock and roll taste, Skyview Drive can satisfy your needs.

Since the band's inception, they have been performing and practicing continually, refining their sound and technique. For this Skyview Drive, music is a never-ending process of self-discovery and fun. Their goals as a band all revolve around playing as many shows as they can and getting their music heard by as many people as possible. This is a band that is determined to make it far, and at only 16 and 17, they've still got years to do nothing but improve.