Storm the Sky have been bombarding the local scene around their home state and the rest of Australia during the past couple of years. The band has toured hard and, this time, has opted to travel down the post-hardcore/metalcore route. Now, having grown as musicians and people, Storm the Sky have improved significantly on ‘Permanence’. A debut album that deserves praise for its simple and sincere charms. The record shines as a slick and clean produced full-length that remains true to the band’s style but strengthens the overall approach. We caught up with clean vocalist Will Jarratt to discuss the album and its meaning to him.
Hey Will, how are you?
I’m good, Matty. How are you?
I’m well, thanks. We’ll get right into it as not to barge into any other interviews. Pretty straightforward question but how are you feeling about ‘Permanence’?
I’m feeling fantastic but at the same pretty shit scared! I think I speak for everyone when I say we don’t think it’s going to do to badly but at the same time we’re just so happy to have it out and for everyone to hear it. I’ll always be kind of nervous about what people say though. (Laughs)
All in good reason. You’re on UNFD now which is made even better by the team-up with Rise Records. Were you guys aware at all this was going to happen when you signed on?
It was talked about briefly but in no way was it the selling point. We’ve always loved Unified and what they’ve done for bands. We would’ve said yes regardless. But it is still a huge marketing boost internationally. They’re gonna take over the world man and we can’t wait to be a part of it.
I remember within three days, the ‘Same Graves’ video was at twenty-thousand views as it was on the Rise Records page. That must be almost surreal for you.
Honestly, there are little things that we thought of when we started this band that we hoped for. Like, we said if we ever got signed to Rise Records we’d all get neck tattoos because that was the in-thing at the time. We were all sixteen and thought it would be amazing and now it’s happened and that’s just one of many things so it’s all coming along great.
The album’s entitled ‘Permanence’, I think I can guess the meaning behind it but do you want to explain it?
I came up with the title after we recorded most of the record in America. I kind of liked the idea behind it that: what do I matter in a world of seven billion people? Why does my existence count for more or less than everyone else’s? How do I believe my life counts for something and someone else’s doesn’t and is there really a point to try and push on. Not like a depressive feeling, but kind of that minute feeling in a massive universe. The last song on the record kind of reflects that, basically saying that if we all don’t matter and that was the easy way out we would have all done it by now. In a more Disney way of saying it, to every negative or fatal we succumb to, that has an immense impact on our strength, character and even soul and that internally can affect the things around you. If you really push through your hardships then you’ll come out the other side a better person for it.
It’s all about realising your insignificance and accepting and the fact that you are part of a whole and that you’re working towards that instead of for yourself. It’s also at the beginning of the possibility of not only living but being remembered, achieving permanence.
So is that the feeling the album artwork is trying to get at? That sense of loneliness where you wonder about who you are, your existence, the meaning of life and all the other metaphysical concepts. I heard you guys were really happy with it too.
Yeah exactly, man. We were stoked on it. It was done by Pat Fox at Apollo Collective and the photo was taken by Neill Walters. We were so happy with it. The cover is about that idea though. The kid is kind of isolated from everything out in the middle of nowhere in the bush. And in the album there are little trinkets he collects along the way, which are kind of like memories; things we hold onto as we go through life. And in the back cover, you can faintly see a man watching over him. Our idea of that was the man is him when he’s older, looking back at him and saying you’re not alone and you can pull through. I think if you let go of your inner child you let go of your life essentially.
It’s actually quite a deep meaning.
(Laughs) Yeah, it is actually. It was a big thing for us though in saying that you always need to know who you are and that if you can keep that then your passions and everything will shine through.
So I’ve got a few questions about the lead single, ‘Same Graves’. Firstly, why did you chose that as the song to release first?
I guess there were a few things. I think it encapsulated the newer sound the best out of the all the tracks. It had the more ambient and chordy bits but still had the same punch to it. I think we went with it because that felt like the strongest song from start to finish. We just felt that it was the best song to show off and to really hit the scene with a bang and kind of surprise people I guess.
What was it like filming the video? It came out really well.
Oh thanks, man. Well I pretty much directed the whole thing with Ed Reiss, the filmographer. I spent a lot of time writing the video with the character breakdowns and everything and hired actors I knew would do a good job. Coming from a background of performing arts I’ve always thought that it’s good to back strong music with strong visuals.
Shooting it was awesome! Lots of fun! We got to use this old abandoned high school, which was really cool and then let the actors run wild and improvise scenes and we had a blast.
I’m curious to talk about the song’s message. I know it has a religious theme but I was scrolling through the YouTube comments and a lot of people are arguing and having a bit of conflict over it.
Ugh, yeah. I know.
So, what is the song exactly about from where you wrote it?
Well, I wanted a song that aimed at some of my views on religion; not in Christianity, it wasn’t aimed at Christians at all. Some of my best friends are very devout Catholics and right into Christianity so I would never say that’s wrong or God doesn’t exist or there’s no higher power as that was never my aim. My aim was to actually do the complete opposite. There are a lot of bands nowadays Godbashing and saying that it’s pointless to believe in God when for some people it’s all they have. You know they’ll be going through a hard time and they cling to faith to get them through it and if that works and they truly believe that then that’s fantastic. That is not a problem at all. That’s not my problem at all. A lot of people thought this deranged psycho-murder in the video was my depiction of Christianity when really the character is a schizophrenic psychopath who’s been through foster homes and murdered families and now he’s repenting in these faiths he’s joined onto. He enters these faiths and sins and repents in them. That’s not a depiction of Christianity at all because if that was then half the world would be dead!
Basically the idea of the song was to address the issues of extremist organised religion yet not say that it’s wrong to be religious. Because I am quite a spiritual person and that it is a bad thing. I just think that there are people out there who still want to kill all homosexuals or kill everyone who doesn’t believe in their religion and that if the world all came together instead it would be a beautiful place. I think that is going to happen eventually. The fact that there are still countries and borders when really we’re all just humans is ridiculous.
But that’s the idea I was going with on the song. What I’m trying to say with the line, “Heaven is right in front of your eyes” at the end isn’t that we are living in what God calls Heaven but we can choose to live in Hell or Heaven during our lives as in happiness or despair. It’s kind of like the people who throw away so much happiness and so may opportunities just for the chance to see Heaven; I think there’s something missing there. I think the biggest thing I want to reiterate is that I wasn’t being some crazy anarchist atheist at all! (laughs)
No, I agree with you there. It’s kind of refreshing actually considering that so many bands nowadays plug the inverted cross merch and anti-religious messages as their brand.
Yeah, it’s almost like a war. There are the avid Christians who hate on anyone who isn’t religious and then there are the atheists who hate on anyone who thinks differently. It’s just stupid. Most conflict in the world is as pointless as fighting over a sandpit as a three year old. If we were all just a little more tolerant of each other the world would be a far better place.
I think the song got taken the wrong way, which is why we released the statement about it. We actually had a pastor comment on the Facebook status. She’d been a pastor for twenty-seven year so she’d have to be in her forties, I assume. I wanna say this because it was really cool, she said that “No bit in this video offended me or pissed me off. A lot of the points made here were views I personally things I disagree with in Christianity or religion.” It almost brought a tear to my eye because here’s this pastor, agreeing with us; a genre that is still called devil music it was beautiful.
Wow, that’s awesome! We’ve got time for just one more quick question, Will. How awesome was it to work with Cameron Mizell?
(Laughs) It was fantastic man. That guys was a magician in the studio. He really brought out the best in us as musicians and helped us make something that we are just so proud of.
Thanks for your time, Will. I look forward to seeing you guys out on tour this year.
Absolutely, man! Take care.