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Interview: A Skylit Drive - 07/07/14
 

A Skylit Drive - 07/07/14

Interviewed by
A Skylit Drive - 07/07/14
It definitely would be a mistake to write A Skylit Drive off, as the band continues to push forward on the road, picking up new fans. The band has found themselves on the Ernie Ball stage on this summer’s Vans Warped Tour, where they’re arguably one of the premiere attractions, alongside Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! and Courage, My Love. I spoke with lead vocalist Micheal “Jag” Jagmin on a hot day in Pomona, CA.

The band’s newest album, Rise, is out now via Tragic Hero Records. If you’ve slept or previously written this band off before, do yourself a favor and check this record out and see if your opinion changes.


First off, you’re on the full tour, playing the Ernie Ball stage. When I first heard that, I was a little disappointed, I figured you guys would be on the Journeys stage or something like that. Were you guys disappointed when you first got the offer for that stage?

Pretty much as far as my knowledge goes, the tour is booked very strongly around what Kevin Lyman’s vision for the tour is. It seems from what I know, most stages are geared towards what he wants on those stages. It comes down to a small groups decision – we wanted to be somewhere else, but we’re definitely just happy to be on the tour and play. We took the Ernie Ball offer for the second time because we figured “Warped Tour is Warped Tour, and kids are still going to come out and hang out, and it’ll still be a great time.”

So there was no thoughts about doing another tour like All-Stars or something like that?

Well, we hadn’t heard any of the plans that All-Stars had or anything, but the overall goal was Warped Tour no matter what pretty much.

You guys are getting a pretty solid reaction on that stage, especially since you guys are coming off that Memphis May Fire headliner. You guys seem to have another surge of energy.

Yeah, that tour sort of re-sparked our flame, we’re hoping that it keeps moving.

Rise came out not too long ago, and it’s definitely gotten the biggest reaction out of all your albums. You’d agree with that, right?

Yeah, definitely.

I think it had to do with the fact that the record was pushed more than all your past albums, and I feel like Tragic Hero did a good job at taking care of that. However, I gotta know, what led you guys to sign with Tragic Hero instead of a label like Hopeless or (staying with) Fearless? What sort of things did Tragic Hero bring to the table specifically?

Well, what made us go back to them was that personal relationship. We don’t have to go through A&R people or anything like that to get to the owner, the owner is the one we speak to. For decision making, it’s always a group decision between us and him versus a team that’s larger than us. Things with Fearless were great, but at this point in our careers as a band, something like this is just a better setup.

Yeah, it’s great to get that personal attention from the label, not to mention that A Skylit Drive is the flagship band on the label – you guys have the most experience and success out of anyone on the roster.

You guys put out Rise after two and a half years since the release of your last record, Identity On Fire. On the first listen, it was apparent that you guys put so much effort into this record - you guys got better as musicians and writers. Can you talk about the that two year time period and how you guys grew?

I think we finally figured out the method that works for our band. There’s five completely different people in our band that have completely different writing styles. On Rise, we really honed it in. There was a lot more private writing instead of sitting in a room with five other people, barking over the same idea. We’ve done that before, like the time we put out that single “Fallen” – to finish it took us longer to finish that one song than it did to finish half of Rise; I’m in there humming an idea, where three other people are also humming an idea, and one guy isn’t even humming in the right key, and I’m like “Dude, I can’t even think when everyone’s in here trying to do this”. I definitely think we found the right method that works for our band.

“Just Stay” is your personal favorite off Rise. Can you explain why?

I’ve always gravitated towards band’s ballads, those have always been my favorite songs. Every song off the record hits home for me – it’s not that I tried to write about my fiancée, it’s just that the song made me think about her. I write every song that way, whatever it first makes me feel. It’s not like I go into it and say “It’d be cool to write about this because kids will think it’s cool”, I just write about what I feel, and this was the first one where that guitar part comes in, that’s what it makes me think about.

My favorite was “Pendulum”, and I felt like it was the strongest song off the album because of the dynamics and how everything came together. Can you go into that song as well?

That one is really just about self-empowerment, that’s a lot of the message that I go towards, whether it’s about a struggle that I’ve gone through, I always like to come full circle as to how I made it through. So that song is expressing “I know how hard it can be, and how life can throw you shitty hand after shitty hand”, and I wanted to let our fans know that we’re there to talk to them and help them through these things.

“Crazy” was the first single off the record, in which you also recorded a music video for it. Why this particular song? Also, who came up with the idea of the video?

I remember when we were writing it had such a groove to it, where we realized that “This one is the most different out of all our songs”. We just felt like realizing the most different song off the record as a single, it could’ve been a nice change of pace for us. “Pendulum” was another option, but we felt like it was too much like our old stuff, and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise. We wanted people to either love it or hate it, and we said “Let’s give em’ the song that’s way different than everything else, and has more of a nu-metal vibe and see where it takes us”.

Is that the only music video planned for the album, or do you have one more coming?

Well, we did a video for “Rise”, way before “Crazy”, but it ended up being not good at all, so it got scrapped. So when we first put out the song “Rise”, we were initially going to put out a music video, but we had to rush and just put out the song itself. We will be doing a video for another single, I’d imagine sometime after Warped Tour, and it’d come out sometime in the fall.

Which is…?

It’s going to be “Just Stay”.

At the end of the day, what do you hope fans recognize about Rise? What do you want them to walk away with?

We’ve grown into different people, and I’d hope that people see the effort that was put into it. I think even listening to it, it’s the most cohesive album that we’ve made. The other ones, it’s almost like an identity crisis – we did one thing on one song, and one thing on another song…we did all these things, chasing what we were looking for. This record just flowed – I listen to it, and it feels like one album.

So we have a new music video coming out in the fall, what about a fall tour?

That’s all still in the works right now, we’re still shopping around and seeing what falls into our laps.

In an ideal situation, who would you tour with in the fall? Would you guys be doing a headliner, or would you be taking a support slot?

Yeah it would definitely be a support slot. I’d personally like to tour with “radio” geared bands, like Avenged Sevenfold or Skillet. That’s what I’d like to go towards.

So perhaps moving towards doing something like Rockstar Energy Uproar Festival with bands like Shinedown and Staind?

That’s definitely the niche where I feel like our new music fits well in, it’s more geared in that direction. Even the songs we’re playing right now is geared towards that radio-rock sound, that’s where I feel like we’d fit in.

Anything else you’d like to mention before we wrap up?

I hope everyone makes it out to Warped Tour this summer and they catch us on the Ernie Ball stage and has a great time.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 5 of 5
10:48 AM on 07/07/14
#2
Niko John
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Maybe they should have spent a little more time with Rise because the record is fairly boring. Songs are catchy, but nothing new is there. Maybe my tastes in music are simply changing.

I wasn't surprised to hear they are on Ernie ball until I checked Wikipedia and saw that Rise sold over 10,000 copies in it's first week which I was not expecting at all. I thought it only sold 1,500. The record may be dull, but the numbers don't lie and obviously the band still has a fan base. To put them on such a small stage seems weird.

Good interview, cool to get some insight.
12:30 PM on 07/07/14
#3
WeltallAY
Je suis l'Alpha et l'Oméga
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Maybe they should have spent a little more time with Rise because the record is fairly boring. Songs are catchy, but nothing new is there. Maybe my tastes in music are simply changing.

I wasn't surprised to hear they are on Ernie ball until I checked Wikipedia and saw that Rise sold over 10,000 copies in it's first week which I was not expecting at all. I thought it only sold 1,500. The record may be dull, but the numbers don't lie and obviously the band still has a fan base. To put them on such a small stage seems weird.

Good interview, cool to get some insight.
I agree, I don't think it's just our tastes though. Compared to Wires and other works of theirs it's very standard/straight up for the genre.
03:57 PM on 07/07/14
#4
RaginCajun
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it's not standard for the genre, it's standard for the "new" type of music they're doing. He plainly states moving towards radio-rock. well if you want your music to be played on the radio it has to be the best out there and they didn't do that. Radio rock is Shimmer, How Far We've Come, 1979, Welcome To The Black Parade, Time of Your Life, and Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Nothing on Rise is on another level.

They have the talent. they just don't seem to have the writing down to not be generic when it comes to radio rock. They did what they were good at before and I enjoyed it. Radio rock isn't their thing...yet
03:20 AM on 07/09/14
#5
BobDylanismyman
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best album they've put out.

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