Keeping secrets can be pretty hard for most people. Some secrets are massive and life changing. Some are so big that you have to keep the lid on for months and months, until you can finally drop that shit like at atom bomb. Sure, the sudden announcement of the bands third album, ‘Skydancer’, may not be life changing for some (unless you just really, really love In Hearts Wake that damn much), but it means that a whole new chapter for the Byron Bay boys is about to begin. With the overwhelming response to last year’s ‘Earthwalker’, things are only going to get bigger for the quartet. Killyourstereo recently spoke with the bands always friendly vocalist, Jake Taylor, about what we can expect from ‘Skydancer’, among other topics.
Alex, how are you man?
Hey Jake, I’m good dude, how are you today?
Very good, man. I’m in Texas right now, it’s midnight, and we just played a really good show. Got an 8-hour drive overnight to look forward to…
Oh, that’s nuts man. Are you guys still in the States for the Stick To Your Guns/Amity Affliction tour?
No, that one just concluded, and we started this one on the back of it. This is with The Ghost Inside and The Acacia Strain.
Oh cool! How long have you been there for now?
We have been here for eight, nine weeks now, which is like 60 days in total. So a pretty long time, just over two months.
Damn dude, that’s some pretty heavy touring you’re doing.
Yeah, it really is. It’s one of the longest times you can be in a country for. Most people do America and then Europe, but staying in the one country for this long, living in a van, it’s been really intense but really rewarding at the same time.
I bet! Has this pushed you guys to play that extra bit harder, touring in one place for so long?
It’s been intense. Opening any show, regardless of whom you’re playing with, is always a challenge. So you have to get the fire going, you’re the first beat that people are gonna hear so you really gotta bring 110% of your energy to a crowd who you don’t know how they’ll react. That’s been a challenge every night, to bring that energy, especially in the American winter. Like, it got to minus 42 degrees up in Canada before, but we’ve learned a lot, and any tour we do after this is going to be a breeze after doing this one.
As you mentioned, you’re opening up the shows up, how have the crowds been for your sets?
This has been our first two tours for this album, back to back, which has been really good. The fact that we’ve waited and had two albums out now, we’re on our second album now, technically still in the touring cycle of Earthwalker, so it’s been nice to hold off for so long. As people know the songs, and have been waiting to hear these songs, it’s a nice reassurance that we’re doing the right thing.
That’s awesome to hear man. We’ll move away from touring and to ‘Skydancer’ now. I imagine it was incredibly hard to keep skydancer a secret for so long?
Yeah, it was hard. But we were all on the same page, and once we made a pact with your label and the guys within the band, anything’s possible.
Apart from the band and the label, did you try to slip it out to any family and close friends?
Well, our parents knew obviously. You can always trust your parents. As far as friends go, no, we didn’t want anyone to talk about it. We really didn’t want it to spread.
Well how did you feel when one of the fans dropped the ‘Earthwalker’ CD and found the hidden ‘Breakaway’ lyric sheet? We’re you like, ‘Oh shit, the cat’s out of the bag’?
No, we really wanted it to happen organically. Whatever was going to happen, we were going to roll with it. It was funny, we felt like someone was bound to discover it, and discover it someone did. But it didn’t go viral, and no one knew what it was for. You can give a key to anyone in the world, but until they know what door it’s for, they’ve got no idea.
Oh, totally man. You’ve said that Skydancer represents the male side of the story, and usually when talking about men, or ‘males’ we typically refer to power, and with music that tends to mean ‘heavier’, so will this be the heavier, darker side of In Hearts Wake?
Yeah, 100%. It’ll be heavier and darker than anything we’ve done before.
Sick, will it be focused more on your vocals, or will it still have the same formula as before?
It’s definitely got the duality of the vocals to it, but the lyrics are a lot darker. It’s not like ‘Mother Nature suspended in time, we are one, we are Divine’ [lyrics from ‘Divine’], it’s more like ‘You will never win the war or wash away the blood that has been shed’ [lyrics from ‘Breakaway’] – it’s totally that. It goes to racism, to war; it takes an eagle eye look at this world and how trivial it all is, and how we just need to get along.
These are topics and issues that a lot of people want or tend to shy away, but Skydancer is going to look at those topics. It’s going to bring the ferocity and anger to the parts that need it, but it will also be just as cathartic as well.
Well, with more confronting themes like war and racism, and with this being the male side of the two, will the album deal with any issues of sexism as well?
Sexism? No, but to just to take away from that definitive word, the feminine and the masculine elements are in everything in the world right now, whether it be in energy or in something else. You’ve got to understand that at the end of the day it’s not about ‘You’re male, and you’re female’; it’s that everything is one. That’s something that we need to understand to move forward. Before you can get to that sense of oneness, you need to understand where you come from, and that’s the step that we’re really skipping. It’s not about sex at all, we’re separating those two elements, and realising that any child has to come from both. That’s the singularity. At the end of the day, these are two chapters of the same story. The artwork and the concept is about bringing those two together, and you’ve got the whole.
Okay, so it’s a more ‘universal’ theme. I think I was looking at it in a much more literal sense to what the album is and will be about. Thank you for correcting me on that!
Nah, you’re okay man. It does go over a lot of people’s heads sometimes. And at the end of the day, we are all products of two people coming together, whether it be in a test tube or a womb, however babies are born nowadays, but it still needs a seed and a host. We seem to have lost touch with the mother below us [‘Earthwalker’], and the father above us [‘Skydancer’]. They are both totally equally.
Sweet, moving on from the record, with the upcoming tour, was it a label or a personnel decision to take those three bands on tour?
Oh, it’s teamwork. There’s always advice from the labels, and people who look out for us. We love what Beartooth are doing, with their message to the underground, to the youth. They have that hardcore mentality, and they’ve never been to Australia before, so let’s bring them over. We Came As Romans have always been inspiring hope into people, and they’ve toured the country and the globe countless times, so it’s a milestone for us to bring them out here. Storm The Sky are an up and coming band, and they’re on Unified, so let’s make it a big family thing.
So my final question regards pre-orders. There are about 17 different pre-order bundles for ‘Skydancer’ on the 24Hundred store. I’m a big gamer and I never pre-order as I find the idea of laying down money for a product that hasn’t come out yet very odd and am unsure of the final product. Sure, music is different, and there are singles out and whatnot, but there’s still a full album left for me to hear that I have just laid money down for. So, what are your thoughts on doing pre-orders in that regard?
When we announce pre-orders, we release a single before so people can get a taste for what the album will sound like. People can choose to be a part of it; it’s up to them. But in a dying industry, without pre-orders or any of that, it can be very hard for a band to do what we do. At the end of the day, if the audience likes it and the band’s message, then that’s totally in their hands; it’s the consumer’s choice. Like, with video games, it’s all based on hype – the title of the game and a trailer and maybe without any gameplay yet. You’re really banking on experiencing it before most others with everyone else who also pre-ordered. With music, I think it’s about really being a part of something. It’s kind of a different ball game. With the games, which mainly big companies back, and they need support too; it’s far more commercialized then bands. So, I always encourage pre-orders. I think it’s a wonderful thing; it’s preparing to launch something. It’s an exciting time for any band.
Hmmm, I agree with some of that. Well, now we’re out of time Jake, so I’m gonna let you get onto the next one, thanks a lot for this dude.
All right man, thank you. Been good to talk to you, and don’t forget to pre-order the album…
Oh, totally man.
I’ll be checking 24 Hundred tonight to make sure you do.
Now I have to do it (laughs).
(laughs). Nah I won’t do that you, see ya buddy.
‘Skydancer’ hits physical and digital shelves on May 1st via UNFD.