interview: Sky_A talks about ‘Spider Silk’ and his cinematic, playful, soulful, and caffeinated music

"I think a lot about tracks as 'scenes', with a narrative that evolves through an album"
17 October 2023

In this exclusive interview with Sky_A, the visionary writer, producer, and filmmaker, we explore into the intricate fusion of electronic, rock, and acoustic elements that defines the unique sonic landscapes.

A true multimedia artist, Sky_A not only crafts captivating musical experiences but also lends a powerful visual dimension to his work, emphasizing long-form audiovisual storytelling.

Spider Silk, a self-performed and produced ​delight, delves into the lyrical observation of strength within vulnerability.

Sky_A takes us behind the scenes of his debut self-filmed music video, providing insights into his innovative DIY approach. He reveals, “The video was entirely shot using motion capture with AI, transforming my recorded dance sequences through 3D software and applying Stable Diffusion for distinct textural effects. Filmed in the confines of my Hackney flat with a humble £15 Amazon ring light, the performance footage captures a raw authenticity. The striking establishing shot of the television in an abandoned building? That was meticulously crafted using Midjourney and enhanced with Photoshop Generative Fill.”

Read our interview below as we delve into the creative process and inspiration that underpins Sky_A‘s groundbreaking artistry. Witness the convergence of music and visuals as they come together to craft vibrant, futuristic, and deeply evocative soundscapes.

There’s a lot of drama and building momentum throughout the record.

How’s your day going, Sky_A? What’s on your mind at the moment?

Bad day to ask me that probably! But other than humanitarian crises, I’m working on a live show that’s pretty exciting.

Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind your debut single, ‘Spider Silk,’ and how the concept of strength in vulnerability influenced the song’s creation?

The song started with just the walking guitar line, creeping up. It sounded cautious to me, uncertain. Then in the chorus when it moves to C, the same pattern continues but it blooms out into something euphoric. As I thought about lyrics, there was this sense of tiptoeing around and then ultimately diving right in. I thought about it in terms of relationships and trust, and how the bond is stronger if people are vulnerable with each other. And then on a kind of sense level this image of a spider – and spider silk is strong because it’s ductile – weaving its little web seemed to speak to that guitar line, this sort of surreptitious fidgety melody.

As a filmmaker and audiovisual artist, how does your background in visual arts influence the way you approach music creation, particularly in providing a long-form audiovisual experience?

I think a lot about tracks as ‘scenes’, with a narrative that evolves through an album. It makes me want to use the stereo field more, as well as more atmospheric sounds and interstitial moments, and I would say I think of tracks as linear journeys more than a standard verse/chorus/repeat structure.

You mentioned having a form of synaesthesia. How does your unique perception of music, where shapes, colors, and textures are involved, impact the way you compose and produce your music?

It’s hard to know exactly how different my experience is to anyone else’s, so I don’t want to assume any of this is exclusive to me! But yes, I strongly perceive colour in harmonies. I see melodies as shapes, I can sit and ‘watch’ music like a fireworks display with my eyes closed – I should do that more actually! When it comes to writing and producing, I guess it just means I’m quite specific about what feels right and what doesn’t. I’ll spend a long time looking for the right textures that sit well together.

The collaboration on ‘Spider Silk’ includes virtuoso drums by Adam Betts and additional production by Aneek Thapar. How did these collaborations shape the final outcome of the single, and what did each artist bring to the creative process?

Adam isn’t on this single, but you’ll hear him on the album, he’s an absolute beast! Aneek has been a great collaborator and a bit of a mentor sometimes, pushing me to work smarter and reach for greater heights. With this one he actually rejected the first version of the song, and I came back a few weeks later with something at double the tempo, much punchier with a new hook. So the desire to prove him wrong is a strong motivating factor sometimes. He also just makes everything sound delicious.

Your upcoming debut album is mentioned to have consistency and a hidden story. Can you give us a glimpse into the thematic elements that tie the album together, and how listeners can discover the underlying narrative?

It’s a huge painting of a world, half organic and half electronic. Someone is wounded, gets lost, has to look around for support and a sense of self, comes back stronger. There’s a lot of drama and building momentum throughout the record. And if you’re like me, you’ll listen to it and see landscapes, machinery, chases and fight scenes. It’s like if Chris Nolan directed a Radiohead album.

As an artist based in London, how do you feel the city’s vibrant music scene and cultural diversity have influenced your musical journey and the creation of your debut album?

I’ve been lucky to have access to a lot of music, a lot of live music, to know a lot of other musicians in different genres. Studying ethnomusicology as well has given me a lot of input I wouldn’t have had access to, and thinking about different forms of music consumption. I guess it’s given me the courage of my convictions, knowing that music can be many different things, it doesn’t have to be ‘a song’. Even though this first single is very much ‘a song’.

Can you describe your sound in 3 words or more?

Cinematic, playful, soulful, caffeinated music.

What was the first album you purchased?

Robert Miles – Dreamland (the album with Children on it)

Which artists are you listening to right now?

I’m enjoying the new Halina Rice EP. Definitely overplaying Jericho by Iniko. Other than that I have this 22 hour spotify playlist that I keep adding to, a mix of old favourites and new discoveries. I never seem to go more than a day without listening to Tool or something from Erased Tapes.