Thursday 7 April 2016

Interview with Skyler Alexandre

Skyler Alexandre is a talented gent from Tampa, Florida who wrote an solo album a year ago called “Whispers in the Dark”. The album wasn't released by any labels, it wasn’t wide spread, but it’s a sort of hidden gem indeed. Some will say that Skyler did rip off some riffs from Sabbath or their doom rock followers, but his songs are really catchy. They stick in the head and you’ll sing these lines all day long, at least I was impressed enough to live it through. Another feature of “Whispers in the Dark” is Skyler mocking approach to genius of Lovecraft as this guy seems to practice his sense of humor on H.P.’s plots. Deadly nice riffs and solos, impressive rocking vocals and a new point of view on the eternal legacy of one of the most significant horror writers…

That’s worth to be heard, and I hope that this brief interview will shed some light on the project.

Hail Skyler! How are you? What’s new in Tampa?

I’m pretty great man. Just rocking’ and rollin’. Tampa is OK I’m just about to finish my bachelor’s degree in audio engineering, working on a new record, and am on the ground floor of a new music shop that’s opening. Life is OK.

First of all, what is Skyler Alexandre? Just your solo project or your full time band in perspective?

Well Skyler Alexandre is my full name and what I use (or will continue to use) for my solo projects. My full time band is called Quasi Mojo and I’m working on a new record with them as well.

What is Quasi Mojo?

Quasi is the band that I’m in and have been in for about 8 years now. We play a lot of stoner rock type stuff. Heavy Sabbath and grunge influence like Alice in Chains.

Man, how did you figure out the conception of your first solo album “Whispers in the Dark”? Some songs sound mocking and airily as if it's a good joke and though it’s based on Lovecraft's stories, it really shows your sense of humor...

Haha yeah well I’ve always kind of tried to add a slight sense of comedy to my lyrics. In that case I believe the track “Mr. Ward” has that feeling of impending doom laced with a comical undertone.

How did you find comical elements in these stories filled with unfathomed horror from the depths of both space and sea?

Well more in the irony. Here we are, humans, who think we’re such hot shit when in reality we aren’t even comparable to a grain of sand on a beach in the grand scheme of things. It always amuses me when people (myself included) freak out about trends or celebrities or whatever mundane crap is going on in our world, when in reality it doesn’t really matter.

Some songs are performed in pretty straightforward doom rock manner, tracks are catchy, they keep their charm and the album itself is just cool to listen to. How much time did it take to record it?

Thank you. Um, it took about 8 months to write and record and maybe another month to mix. Like I said I’m going to school and working full time so I worked on music when I could.

Skyler Alexandre – The Innsmouth Look

Did you have any difficulties with some of these songs? Which one was the most difficult to finish?

I think maybe “The Cult of R’leyh” because of the lyrical content when the song kind of changes pace a bit. Then again writing a concept album isn’t easy in general, at least not for me. I mean I’m not whipping out Dream Theater level of complexity but trying to write a coherent story and have it structured is challenging.

What are your main musical influences on this album?

Black Sabbath for sure. Clutch is another one I look to for riffing expertise, as well as Corrosion of Conformity.

Did you record the album in studio or just at home? It sounds excellent, but I wonder if you cared a lot about production.

Production wasn’t too big of an issue for me. Most was recorded at home like the guitars and vocals. But everything was mixed on a nice console and summed with analog.

Can you name your favorite metal interpretations of Lovecraftian myths?

The Thing That Should Not Be” by Metallica is probably my favorite. But I can’t really think of any others off the top of my head. I got most of my inspiration for this album from Lovecraft’s stories as well as authors like Stephen King who do their own interpretations.

Really? What did you take from Mister King?

He has a few short stories (the names escape me) that pay homage to Lovecraft and are fantastic. His book It is what got me into horror in the first place so I could say he was my gateway author.

How do you promote the record? As you know I've just found it on one Russian musical site, so it seems that the internet isn't a bad thing…

Mostly the internet. I keep a copy with me and show people here and there. But to be honey I released Whispers without the intention of attracting too much attention. I mean I’m not a world famous artist but I was proud enough of what I did to share it with anyone who would care to take a listen to my work.

What kind of feedback did you get for “Whispers in the Dark”?

I’ve had more of a reception than I initially thought, especially in the European countries. America not so much. But a few people such as yourself have approached me with questions about the record and I am very grateful people have taken to my music at all.

Skyler, did you try to release it through a label?

No I didn’t. I wanted to be completely independent from those people. And it’s not like they were practically knocking down my door to sign me haha

Do you plan to continue the work with this project? What about few more tunes in the name of Old Ones?

Lovecraft is one of my favorite writers of all time. The way he knocks mankind of his pedestal by showing his insignificance against aliens and inter dimensional gods is one of the most metal things ever. So yes I will continue to write songs about his stories. However, I most likely won’t write another concept album like Whispers. I’ll just have some Lovecraft sprinkled in throughout my future works.

Words by Aleks Evdokimov and Skyler Alexandre