Tag Archives: Skywalker

CANVAS – The Hairy Dog, Derby, 12/01/2018

SUPPORT: Skywalker, Revealer

Canvas gig photo 1

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTOS by CORRINE ROWELL

Above the stage of The Hairy Dog, fast becoming the go-to place in Derby to check out some great rock and metal, was a sign saying, “If We’re Going To Do It, We’re Going To Do It Loud!“, and that was exactly what post-hardcore quintet Canvas, accompanied by Czechs Skywalker and Leicestershire metalcore outfit Revealer, had on their agenda.

There were supposed to be four collectives on the bill, however, just a few days before, Essex melodic hardcore band Create To Inspire had to pull out, understandably, due to a unforeseen family emergency.

However, despite their absence, it still promised to be a good evening.

Revealer gig photo

Revealer kicked things off by going hell for leather with a set abundant in brutality and intensity, which perfectly complimented their sound.

Frontman Alex Griffiths, was particularly menacing throughout, screaming himself hoarse with a deep, growling vocal delivery, and constantly looked as if he was going to jump off the stage and pick a fight with somebody in the crowd.

However, he broke from this persona for a moment when he took the time to dedicate one of their songs to a close friend of the band, who had sadly passed away recently.

Alex then pulled his coat hood up and stared down at the floor for a few seconds, before launching himself back into full flow as the track kicked in.

Judging by their stage presence, and the reaction to the music from the audience, it surely won’t be too long before Revealer are playing on larger stages to bigger gatherings.

Skywalker gig photo

Having chatted with the lead vocalist of Skywalker, Jay Kutcher, prior to the gig, he came across as a calm, polite, softly-spoken young man, but he was anything but that while his bandmates were playing.

This was a good thing, though, because it better enabled him to really do the frank lyrical matter, along with a combination of post-hardcore and subtle pop-punk, justice.

It was clear whilst I was watching them that the Prague five-piece had a natural enthusiasm for performing live, it seemed that everybody on that stage was really living in the moment, with Jay confidently engaging in witty banter with the crowd, telling everybody to be 100% positive in 2018, and it offered a concrete explanation for why they have such a stellar gigging reputation in the UK and much of Europe.

Canvas gig photo 2

With no offence to the other bands, who had put on brilliant sets in their own rights, it was obvious that Canvas were the guys everyone had to come to see, with many in the crowd wearing a T-shirt adorned with an eye shedding lots of tears, the collective’s logo, which also took pride of place at the back of the stage.

They played an impressive set, with each of the five members on top form, showing exactly why they had gone down so well on their European tour last autumn.

Canvas gig photo 3

Unlike Jay and Alex, who had both given animated performances, Canvas’s frontman Ricky Clarke elected to stand in front of the microphone, tilting his head to one side so his long locks covered one of his eyes, and just scream the lyrics out with much angst.

Canvas gig photo 4

They must have worked very hard on getting every aspect of their live set right, but they did it with such professionalism that it seemed, in a good way, that very little effort had been made.

Overall, it was an evening in which, despite the rather low turnout, all three outfits playing brought everything they could to the table, resulting in a show that was loud, brash and entertaining.

 

 

 

Advertisements

SKYWALKER

Skywalker band photo

SKYWALKER (from l-r): Damian Kucera (drums), David Machalicky (guitar/clean vocals), Jay Kutcher (unclean vocals), Tom Rothschild (bass), Pavel Kolar (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

With heavy riffs, intense breakdowns, tuneful melodies, and the inclusion of honest, intimate lyrics, Czech five-piece Skywalker combine post-hardcore with subtle elements of their pop-punk roots.

Having formed in 2010, the band’s sound has taken them all over Europe, wowing crowds with their natural enthusiasm for playing live. This has enabled them to establish themselves on the British underground music scene, where their third EP, ‘Sugar House’, has been most well-received.

I caught up with the Prague quintet as they arrived in Derby recently to support fellow post-hardcore outfit Canvas on their latest UK tour.

How did the band form?

JAY KUTCHER (unclean vocals): Me and Damian used to be in a pop-punk band together about ten years ago or so, but we started to get bored of doing that, as we wanted to be more experimental, so in the summer of 2010, I think, we first got the idea of doing something a bit heavier.

We then basically started the new band, gradually got more of our friends from other pop-punk bands involved, and we moved forward from there.

From where did the name Skywalker originate? It’s obviously a Star Wars reference, isn’t it?

DAMIAN KUCERA (drums): Yeah. We’re all fans of Star Wars, and when me and Jay started this band, we were looking for a name that was strong, but also easy to remember.

JAY: I think the two of us were originally going to call ourselves Anakin, but then it changed to Skywalker. Tom actually runs a booking agency back in the Czech Republic called Anakin, so the name is kind of still there.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

JAY: Slow. I guess one of us comes up with the musical idea first, then I write the lyrics, and then we try to mix them together, but most of the time, I think Damian comes up with most of the ideas musically. To be honest, I don’t really do too much in regards to the music.

DAMIAN: Yeah. The musical ideas basically change. When we have a good idea, we go around and change it, try to move it somewhere else.

JAY: The cool thing about it is that Damian has his own studio, so we can work there, so there’s not much of a difference between the recording and tracking of the instruments and making the demos. It’s kind of the same process for us, which is a bit strange, but it has worked so far.

What inspires the band lyrically?

JAY: At the very beginning, I wanted to be a bit more political, because at the time, we were really into sort of stuff, but then I started to drift away from that, moving more towards lyrics that were more personal to me.

It’s been like that for years now, but I think maybe now, the time is right to go back towards politics, so we can comment on the way things are at the moment.

Generally, the lyrics have just been about my life, and the lives of the other band members, so yeah, it’s about life in general. I know it sounds cliched, but it’s true for everybody we want to share our lives with.

Last September, you brought out your third EP, ‘Sugar House’. How was the recording process for that?

JAY: It was lengthy, wasn’t it?

DAMIAN: Yeah, it was. We recorded all of the instruments in my studio in the Czech Republic, and then we did one of the songs, I guess, on one of our UK tours, I think we did it in Wrexham in Wales, and then on another tour, we did a few more songs, and then when Jay was at university in Liverpool, we wrote the lyrics to the last two songs on the EP, so basically, we recorded the instruments at home, and did the vocals and mixing in the UK, so it did take some time.

JAY: Yeah, there was a lot of flying and driving and stuff involved in that. It was a lengthy process, but it was fun.

How has the reaction been to the EP up to now?

I think it’s been great, especially in the UK, because obviously, it’s easier for people here to relate to the lyrics than back home, because what you tend to get over there is that people are more into the music than the lyrics. Sometimes, they will sing along, but not really.

Once in a while, we’ll be contacted by someone from the UK, saying that the EP has been really important to them as a person, and they can really relate to what we’re talking, shouting and screaming about. To us, that’s really amazing.

The overall response has been awesome, and the personal feedback is what I value the most, so yeah, to be honest, it’s been great.

In the run-up to Christmas, you went on a headline tour of Europe. How was that as an experience for you all?

JAY: We did six weekends playing dates across the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and then we played some extra dates in Germany.

It was a very good experience, however, I felt the dates at home weren’t too great, because generally, Czechs are not as much into underground music as other places in Europe, so sometimes, there was just this weirdness of coming back to places where you have played before, meeting people who told you how much they have wanted to see you, but then, the shows weren’t that great.

However, generally, it was nice. Our merch sales were solid, and that counts as well, and the German dates were just amazing. I could just spend hours talking to you about how amazing Germany is for metalcore music, but I will just sum it up as amazing.

You’re playing with Canvas in Derby tonight, as part of their UK headline tour. How is the experience, for you all, of playing live?

JAY: That’s what we love doing, don’t we?

DAMIAN: Yeah.

JAY: You want to say more?

DAMIAN: I guess we just do the music for the live shows, because that’s where you actually do the music. You don’t tend to repeat yourself all the time, which you tend to do when recording, and also, you don’t really think about it as much.

You’re actually in the music, and you’re at one with it. That’s what we love most about playing live.

JAY: I’m not saying we’re the best live band around, but we haven’t been super productive in the studio over the years, but we always have been live, because we just love doing it.

To be honest, we’d rather tour than spend a lot of time in the studio. I know, especially nowadays, that’s not the best approach, but we can’t help ourselves. It’s literally all we want to do. Without boasting too much, I think when you see us live, you can tell it’s all there.

What has the band got lined up for the rest of this year?

JAY: Well, when we get back home, we really want to start focusing on writing a proper full-length record, because up to now, we’ve just been releasing EPs.

We really want to get some record labels and bigger names interested in us, and I know what we need to order to get that is to have a real chunk of music that’s longer than, say, 20 minutes, so we definitely want to produce a full-length record, to step up our songwriting, get deeper into the structures of the songs, and make them bigger and better, so that’s the main goal for this year, I think.

There’s definitely going to be more shows and more touring, and hopefully, towards the end of the year, we’re going to look at heading back to the UK to play a few more dates.

Skywalker EP Cover

‘SUGAR HOUSE’, THE LATEST EP FROM SKYWALKER, IS AVAILABLE NOW TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD & PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, iTunes, APPLE MUSIC, DEEZER & THE BAND’S BANDCAMP PAGE skywalkerofficial.bandcamp.com

FURTHER INFO ON SKYWALKER CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.skywalkerhc.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/skywalkerhc

TWITTER: twitter.com/skywalkerhc

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/skywalkerhc

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com/user/skywalkerofficial