Bay Area Local Band Spotlight: Pink Skies

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How did you come up with the name of the band?
I looked up.

How would you describe your sound?
It’s tricky, but I think the easiest way to sum it up at this point is Psychedelic R&B. But I’m not sure if that’s accurate of my sound. I think that if I really could describe the sound well, then I would probably be a writer instead of a musician. So the descriptions are probably best left for others.

When did you first become interested in playing music?
I started playing the drums when I was 10. I watched a James Bond movie, the movie with Halle Berry in it. There was a scene that had the opening to ‘London Calling’ by The Clash and I made my dad re-play that scene 50 times because that song really caught my attention. Pretty much since that point in time, I’ve been completely obsessed with all aspects of music writing and recording.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
I was once playing a festival in London and there was a side stage where there was some kind of comedian/performer. He was bringing people up to guess what was in these mysterious boxes by feeling what was inside. One of the boxes was brains, and then he threw brains into the crowd as a punk band started playing. It was very strange, funny, and crazy. I will definitely never forget that.

What are you listening to these days?
Like everyone else, I’m listening to a ton of things today. But over the last few weeks, I’ve been listening to a lot of Flume, Frank Ocean, 6LACK, Forth Wanderers, and Illuminati hotties.

What’s your take on why so many musicians are leaving San Francisco for Oakland?
That’s a really good question, and I think there are a few reasons. The cost of living is really high in the city, so unless you are born and raised there or trying to work in Tech or Finance it doesn’t really make sense to move there as an artist from a financial aspect. I also think a lot of musicians are leaving SF because the Bay Area music community is changing and maybe shrinking as more business moves into the city. Although there are lots of amazing Bay Area musicians and bands that I love. I’m really into Hot Flash Heat Wave, and also everything that Chaz Bundick touches, and the live music scene in the Bay Area is thriving. I think that Oakland as a city is a community that is slightly more based on art currently.

What are some of your favorites hangs in the Bay Area and why?
I love the Berkeley hills. One of my favorite things to do is to hike the Claremont Canyon in the mornings. I like pano, grizzly peak, and the rail. I also definitely like hanging out in Downtown Oakland, I really like Lost & Found and Woods, or catching a show at the Fox. You will also definitely run into us at Gordos on College frequently. Lastly, one of my absolute favorites is hiking in Redwood Regional. My family and friends do that hike all the time.

What does music mean to you?
Music means everything to me. It was my first love. I had a hard time growing up with expressing my thoughts and speaking my mind using words, but I knew the feeling. So music has been a constant way that I can honestly really express myself and get the things that I am feeling out of my head and into something that I can feel that’s real.

How’d you guys first get together to play music?
I’ve been playing in bands with Yianni and Theo forever since we were in middle school. We are best friends and brothers for life. Yianni and I have also been producing lots of music together outside of Pink Skies. Yianni also mixed the Pink Skies EP, he is one of the best producers and mixers that I know. I met Mikale at an ice cream shop in Silver Lake where I worked for three days before quitting, and we became really good friends. And lastly, Petro is my roommate and also Yianni’s older brother who used to play in a really amazing bay area band called Dizzy Balloon. He’s also one of the best songwriters and producers I know and has taught me a lot about music and life.

When we play live we are totally a band, but in the studio, it is mostly me just working in my room. So we all work together to figure out how to properly play the songs in a live setting and change and improve and embellish them.

What inspires you to write?
Good question. I think that is always changing and varies every song a little bit. But I do know that I tend to come up with ideas that I really am attracted to when I am outside and walking around in the forest or maybe at the beach. My iPhone voice memos are where I sing all my ideas really badly, and then I’ll just try and rush home to capture the idea with a guitar and record a demo while it is still fresh in my mind.

What’s your favorite neighborhood in the city and why?
I have to say I really love the Oakland/Berkeley area by College and Claremont and by Cal. There is really just something in the air that is really inspiring about being there. I feel like it is my favorite because everyone seems to really be in a positive mood and more or less really happy and chilled out.

Whats one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
Before I made music as Pink Skies, I used to play in a band called Fever Charm. The last record we put out was some of the most punk stuff we’ve ever made, and it was all written the same time as a lot of the song that you’ll hear on the upcoming EP.

Is there anything you’d like to plug?
Pink Skies will be playing on Saturday, May 26th at The Swedish American Hall with TV Girl presented by NoisePop and DoTheBay. Debut EP will be out June 2018 on HW&W Recordings.

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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