Monday, July 15, 2013

A Day After Skynet’s Gig And The Dust Is Still Settling

Skynet's Josh "Bobby" Clayton and
Blake Louis Prince.
Photo: G Brown
Sunday at 7:15 pm most Hamiltonians were chilling by the barbecue, trying to get psyched or salved for another work week. The summer heat was keeping most normal people near a pool or air conditioner.

However, a select few, numbering about 100, put themselves in front of the Skynet stage at Club Absinthe on King William Street. Within seconds the front row got soaked with a spray of water flying from frontman Blake Louis Prince’s mouth. The band drove it hard for the entire set. Prince was all over the perimeter, moving from the inches of space in front of guitarman Dirty Drizzle to the gear table beside bassist Josh “Bobby”Clayton. He stops, looks out to the throng for some signals of receptivity, sees it, turns toward drummer Tim Burak to absorb a final charge of energy before turning and spitting out the next lyric, not just with his mouth and vocal chords, but with his entire body.

Skynet, familiar to most of the other bands, and having shared shows with some of them on other occasions, did a superb job of setting this five-band show off on the right foot. They warmed the stage for The Kindred, Interval, Color Morale and Misery Signals. Tonight’s appearance was a great way to gather some momentum and reward the many faithful fans who have been supportive.

Tim Burak
At last November’s Hamilton Music Awards, Skynet was nominated in the loud/metal category, placing behind the nascent Dawn Before Descent trio. But the fans made their presence felt and heard during the awards ceremony, so that adds more evidence to the fact of a supportive fan base.

As the band tees up for an active fall tour, Prince is pretty pumped about getting it right and delivering the honest hardcore goods. Skynet’s recent signing with the Underground Operations label ought to be a win-win for both parties.

I spoke with Blake Prince after the show.

How are you feeling about Skynet now and getting signed with Underground Operations?

It’s a worldwide contract, so now we’re shopping to different labels in US, Japan, Australia, UK, We’re waiting to hear back about stuff like that.

How are your video shoots going?

Awesome. We shot one about a month ago in Toronto with Steve Putt. “To The Hounds.” Last Friday we shot one with a guy named David Nguyen. He’s shot videos for Skrillex, Baptised in Blood, and August Burns Red. He used this fifty thousand dollar camera. They set it up three scenes for us and we loved it.

Who’s paying for those videos?

We paid for those videos all on our own. We’re all working at regular jobs. I work here and at my dad’s shop. Donny works here; Tim just moved into Hamilton from a steady job in Kirkland Lake. He’s staying with me. Josh works at a shipping company. We’re not touring till November or so, so we’re saving up the cash for then.

How did the collaboration with Jon Harvey (Monster Truck) come around?

I’ve known him for about seven years now. His old band Who’s Your Poet was really popular on the scene, and they did some shows with my old band Straight As A Line. Jon’s always been a friend of mine. I remember Monster Truck’s first practice. I’ve been up on stage with him a couple of times; I really like his voice; it’s come such a long way. In Who’s Your Poet it was more screamy, now he’s got this voice of gold. His range is unreal. So we really wanted him to be part of our upcoming album. We gave him a piece on one of our songs and he was happy to do it.

They’ve been pretty busy. Have you been in touch with the guys?

Before Quebec City they were in London, and they stopped in Hamilton that night. When they were in town they hollered at me. I did manage to get some sushi with Jon. It’s good. I’m fuckin’proud of them all. I’ve seen Jeremy from when he was in The Reason. I grew up with them. I met Brandon through the Dinner Belles, and Steve when he played with The Reason for a little bit. Great dudes. We’ve got a lot of history with these guys.

So where do you want to be a year from now?

We want to tour the world. We’ve got high hopes for Skynet. We were in a band before with a label called Distort. (Alexis On Fire) But we were all dumb kids; we didn’t know the business and the whole situation. When we were supposed to do all that paperwork we were busy drinking and not getting all that shit done. Now we’ve got a second chance. It’s everything we’ve worked for. We’ve all tried to do these other “real life”jobs since then, but music is what we really want.

Do you like this style you’re working in right now?

Yeah. There’s so much progression to it. We’re going to probably evolve to be something completely different after the next album. There’s no saying what direction we’ll go to after this. I’ve got high hopes. It’s my future and I’ll stick with it until I can’t stick with it anymore.

Getting ready for a show, getting into that space, which word describes your mental state: rage, anger, pain, pleasure?

It’s pretty much pleasure. I get a kick out of becoming this different person on stage. Offstage I’m pretty chill and calm. People say to me, I’ve met you in person and you’re so different when you get on stage you’re like a freakin’animal! It’s pleasure, because I get no better feeling than when I get connected to a crowd and doing what I love to do the most. I’ve always loved being a performer.

When I’m up on stage there, and when I sing those lyrics come out, a lot of them hit home, a lot of them are personal things. The feelings could turn into rage; there’s lots of feelings that could come out. It could be something beautiful. Often it’s exhaustion because I’m fuckin’tired!

What’s your comment on music in Hamilton?

I’ve always loved the music scene here. We’ve been across Canada a few times from east to west. Sometimes we’ve seen the scene in a city change from one visit to the next; crowds will be big or small and unpredictable, a lot like the industry these days. There’s not a lot of money going into the music business. In Hamilton it’s always been consistently strong. Here it is a Sunday at 7:15 pm for pete’s sake and there’s a great crowd!

Tell me about the djent label that has been associated with Skynet.

Djent is a genre that refers to seven string metal guitar. There’s sometimes a groovy noise to it. If you want to try describing our sound, you could say progressive, groovy, hardcore, metal.

Have you got a favourite studio in Hamilton?

We used to record at a place called Mastermind. We haven’t explored too many studios in Hamilton, but we did some mastering at Jukasa up on Six Nations. It’s a huge place, really nice space to work in.

We’re a hard working band and we’ve been giving it for ten years and haven’t quit. We’re going to do it properly this time. All the guys feel this way.

Underground operations have kick-started some careers for big artists. Lights, Protest The Hero for example. They’re rebuilding their roster, and they came to us and asked us to be their summer release. It feels like we’re being taken seriously this time and being treated like family.

Our CD release show will be here at The Absinthe soon.

Thank for taking the time.
Sure, no problem. We’ll see you soon!

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