I saw you guys had a previous name, how long have you been playing as The Skylit Letter?
TSL has been together in its current form for about three years. Mainly it was just a vocalist change; the rest of the group has been playing together for more than five years now.
How would you define your music?
We always say that it’s female-fronted rock n’ roll that kicks you in the nuts and then buys you a shot…haha…beyond that it’s just emotionally driven hard rock.
What's the main difference between your band and other new artists out there?
I’d say the main difference is that the songs have a cohesive narrative quality, i.e. the music and lyrics tell a story together, which a lot of mainstream music lacks these days. Its either something musically catchy or lyrical captivating, but rarely both. We think we have managed to write songs that everyone can relate to. Things that trouble their everyday lives. Somehow it has blended into a mixture of catchy pop rhythms and other elements with an avant-garde artistic backbone. Basically, it’s no bulls*#t music for real people, we’re not trying to sell a product, what people hear and absorb is only an extension of ourselves.
I checked out your upcoming tour dates in the Michigan area, how have your live shows gone so far?
Really great so far, the response has been phenomenal, people have been really connecting with us on and off the stage, which for any artist is the most flattering and inspirational dynamic of the whole process.
Your EP Constellations is good start for you guys. What did you learn about the band while making it and what was your overall experience like with that first EP?
The experience was really good, we have all been doing this for years, been in other groups plugging away at the scene in Michigan, not to mention we have known each other for years, so working together in the studio just comes naturally to us. I guess one thing that we learned is that we are super picky about our songs and it takes a really long time to come to a consensus on anything we do, but that’s not necessarily a bad characteristic to have.
Being an independent musician isn’t always easy. What encourages you guys to keep going when things start to get tough?
Honestly, the one thing that keeps us going is all the support we get from our fans, friends and family.
Because of streaming services and them being directly linked to social media, do you think it’s easier to get noticed now than in the past?
No, I think it has worked in reverse. Yes, social media is a great tool for any artist or group to promote what they are doing, but you have to keep in mind that with this there comes a threshold that begins to work against artists. what I mean by this is that because of social media the market is flooded with so many groups and artists, that it is hard for anyone to sift through them, let alone pay attention to any one thing. Not to mention that the unlimited access gives people the means to never really seek out groups, go see shows, or interact with the artist on a face-to-face basis, besides the proverbial Facebook message or something like that. All of this makes it extremely hard for the artist and/or group to gain exposure and receive support from a fan-base; it makes it hard to survive.
Who are your guys’ main influences?
We come from a very diverse set of musical influences. Reba comes from an R & B/Blues background, stuff like Etta James, Ray Charles, and Billie Holiday, which is pretty, clear when you hear her style of vocal. Steve, Nick, and I come from a traditional metal background, stuff like Megadeth and Anthrax, and Chris is more of a 90’s grunge kind of guy, 7 Mary 3 and all that. But we all grew up with and love Rock n’ Roll of course, you name it, we love it, if I had to give any strict influences for the band as a whole, I would say that we take a lot of notes from bands like Rise Against, Thrice, and Foo Fighters, modern rock in that vein with a different vocal edge.
The song “Elusive Day” really got me. What can you tell me about that song?
Elusive Day was the first single off the EP, Nick wrote the lyrics and the music for it. And actually BJ, our long time friend, and producer from Wall of Sound Studios helped us mold that song, cause’ when we brought it to the table it had a lot more going on and needed to be trimmed up a bit, and BJ has one of the best ears for that, hearing where things need to be taken out or added, stuff like leads or harmonies, the guy is super human…haha. The song itself is pretty much about how we as people should never give up on our passions, our dreams, which for us is playing music and connecting with people through the art of sound, and the point is to not let that kind of mentality elude you, as it does to all of us when dealing with the day-to-day hum-drum and distractions of modern life.
You guys are recording right now, what are you working on and when can we expect to see some new music come out from The Skylit Letter?
We laid down two tracks that will be on the next album, a full length that we are shooting to release next summer or fall, we wanted to get one of the singles we chose for it out as soon as possible as a sort of teaser or sampler for what’s to come. Hopefully the single will be out before the end of the year, and we plan on doing a video for it as well.
What are your ambitions for the band in 2014?
For 2014 we are hopefully going to release the full length and play as many shows as possible, the ultimate goal would being able to get out and tour for the record, but that all depends on what else we all have going on in our lives. At the very least we will continue to press on with our grassroots campaign of art and love, and the more people we connect with the better.