interviews‎ > ‎

Sky Hunter (Stonewire)

posted 1 Mar 2015, 07:31 by Paul Woodward

By Woody

Rising UK classic rock outfit Stonewire have been receiving critical acclaim across the board with their debut album ‘When The Crow Flies’. Woody catches up with the bands powerhouse vocalist Sky Hunter to discuss the band’s music and influences.

You’ve received a lot of critical acclaim for your debut album ‘When The Crow Flies’ and rightfully so, has the album turned out as you hoped and initially intended?

We had a very good feeling about the album when we were writing it. It was a lot of fun and it really felt that StoneWire was coming together as a unit and we have found our sound. It’s always difficult to judge your own material but we all thought we did well. Having said that, the feedback we are getting for it is absolutely blowing our minds, we are totally chuffed.

 

Musically you fall into a genre, classic rock, that is bursting to the brim with bands at the moment do you find it hard to stand out and get recognition from the industry and the music buying public?

Well, yes there are a lot of bands out there but I think you can only do and write what feels right and what you can relate to. I was never very good in impersonating a style only because it is trendy at the moment. I think if you write and express what is inside of you the chance that you produce something good are better. The way we write as a band is different to a lot of other bands and I think that helps to make our sound more unique. Yes we have the classic rock influences but we also have plenty of others, from Heavy Metal to Southern Rock to Country, it all mixes and makes us a bit different and hopefully people will take notice.

For me one of the strongest elements of the band that makes you stand out is the vocals which are simply amazing, powerful and emotive. Sky, who are your singing influences and how did you get into singing and discover you vocal talent?

I listened to singers like Tina Turner (the early stuff as in Ike and Tina Turner) Bettye LaVette, Etta James and the likes. I get excited when a voice can cut through and gets under your skin. I also listened to a lot of different Rock, it’s loud, it’s raunchy and it is uncompromising. There were the classics like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and also a lot to GnR, Aerosmith. I always loved performing and started in musical productions and as a backing singer. I actually started taking the singing seriously when I was about 18 and took some vocal lessons. I played in a variety of bands, some were quite heavy but I prefer the Blues Rock, it just feels most natural to me.

 

Stonewire has a strong ‘southern’ and Smokey flavour which you’ve blended with traditional seventies style blues rock. Who are the main influences behind your music?

I think we have such a wide range of influences it’s hard to pin it down. Each band member brings their own flavour. I guess some of the main ones that we share are Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Guns N Roses, Black Crowes, Clutch, and then there are other influences thrown in that don't over-lap so much but can still come through as an influence on one of us, bands like Gov’t Mule, Allman Brothers, Sabbath, Kyuss and the kind. We don't set out to be influenced by any band in particular, we just write as a band, ending up with songs that we collectively like and sometimes those influences just come through naturally

 

I was very fortunate to catch you live at The Robin in Bilston early last year and was really impressed with what a strong live band you are and your stagecraft. Is playing live important to you guys and not just that been entertaining performers?

I think that is what it’s all about, playing live. Some bands love spending years in the studio we prefer being on stage. Each show is important and we always give it our best. When I go and see a band I don’t just want to hear good music (although that is very important), I also want to be entertained. You don’t need big stage props or a massive show budget but I think it just is more fun for an audience if the band looks like they actually enjoy what they are doing. I love engaging with the audience on a show, joke with them (sometimes I’m even funny.

 

My favourite song on the album is ‘Favourite Bitch’ but I have often thought that this title which could be viewed as non-PC could cause you problems. Obviously the song is far from derogatory to women, if anything the term is used in an empowered way, but in a world of political correctness the title alone could cause controversy. Did you ever think of re-wording the song or even using a different title for fear of a potential backlash regarding the title?

This was one of the songs I had in my head for ages before I introduced it to the guys because I was not too sure how they would take it either. And you are right; it is not at all derogatory to women, quite the opposite. It say very loud and clear here I am, call me what you want, I couldn’t care less!

So it was clear that it needed to be called Favourite Bitch from the beginning really. We did however, think that this will be “only” an album song simply because of the title and the lyric but were later convinced that this was a good first single. There are always people who need something to moan about. Who is playing our songs? It is mainly Rock stations and if you can’t be controversial in Rock n Roll then when?

 

Can you talk to us about a few of the songs on the album, which are your favourites and why and any stories or meanings behind the songs you’d like to share?

I guess this is what they mean by you can’t have a favourite child. Favourite Bitch is a lot of fun playing live, it’s loud and has an f*** you attitude, the audience has a lot of fun with that one too. Then there is Walk The Line with the big intro that builds and builds until the riff kicks in and says, here we are. The album closer Fix You is epic, when we were writing it we didn’t know where this one was going, and by the time it was done it was over 7 minutes but it doesn't feel that long at all. I quite like the slower, softer songs like Don’t You, River Blues or One Last Time too. They are a good contrast to the other songs and hopefully add some diversity to the album. Southern Honey makes me think of summer and good times. The lyrics for When The Crow Flies came to me when I was out with my dogs. I was in a field and a crow kept “following” me around and she kept stopping and looking at me (well it felt that way anyhow) so I thought in the old days people would have interpreted that as a sign. They would have taken their time and studied her flight, her behaviour and would take something from that. So I started researching the meaning of the crow in indigenous cultures and in paganism and she was seen as a messenger. The one to nudge you to pay attention to your surroundings, to live your truth and to become clear what your own message for the world is. I just fell in love with the meaning so after a few weeks of research the actual writing of the lyric was very quick.

Comments