Words and Photos – Jaime Boddorff

The first time I listened to Ancient Sky I was nervous to hear another subpar rock band: the easily forgettable, standard five-piece you’ve heard on the radio a thousand times. Ancient sky is not playing on the radio, you’ve probably heard them less than a thousand times, and they are unforgettable. Knowing them as people before knowing them as musicians, it should have been obvious. They have an acute taste for unprecedented music and style both past and present, so why wouldn’t they be able to bring the same degree of critique in creating their own music? Let them lure you in with screeching drones, commanding drums, and dazed, yet catchy vocals. They are psychedelic, but they’ll never tell you that; they’ll show you.

 

Who makes up Ancient Sky and where are you from? How did you meet and start playing together?

 

Brian: Pat and I are the core of the band. We met back in 2007 when I moved to NYC. We both grew up in Virginia but even though we ran in similar circles we never met ‘til then. We had friends recommend that we jam together so we did. Ancient Sky has been going ever since.

 

Pat: We were playing with Dima Drjuchin and Mike Kutchman, but they just left and now we have Mark Anderson playing bass, Brandon Evans on synth, and Adam Bulgasem playing second drums with me. Oh and Brian plays guitar.

 

You’ve gotten a lot of attention including features on The New York Time’s website and Vice for your third album. “All Get Out”. What about this album do you think grabbed people’s attention?

 

Pat: Probably the drums. The blaring drums… The tribal, rhythmic, pulsating drums! No, it’s more the songwriting: the overall feeling of tension.

 

Is that different from something you’ve done before?

 

Pat: Brian and I have been building tension [laughs]… it shows in our music together every year. We work together, play music together, and we’ve lived together a bunch of times. We love each other.

 

Brian: It’s been a huge help having Wharf Cat as our record label. They have helped provide the support we have always needed. Now we can just spend the time on being creative and playing live. This definitely shows on “All Get Out.” It seems to be a good reflection of our live sound and it definitely is a more concise batch of songs.

 

You’re at an interesting point right now. Two of your band members just played their last show with Ancient Sky as you’re gaining momentum. How do you foresee this affecting Ancient Sky’s sound or attitude?

 

Pat: I think it’s gonna get a lot more sonically spacey; synth based instead of guitar based leads.

 

Brian: Now we can rely less on our old material and just focus on writing. Our sound definitely is changing with the addition of some talented friends. The new songs are heavier and tighter than ever. We are also gonna rearrange some old jams.

 

What’s coming up next? Tours, writing new songs, recording?

 

Brian: We will be playing shows around the east coast this summer and hopefully heading back to Europe before the year is over. Wharf Cat wants us back in the studio by the fall to record the follow up to “All Get Out!”

 

You’ve played shows all over the world. Where was your most interesting experience playing a show?

 

Brain: Italy is the best. We have played there in squats, clubs, warehouses, bars, outside, and each time the people and the food have been incredible! On our last tour in Europe we also played in Ljubljana, Slovenia. We played in Metelkova City, which is right in the center and is basically one huge squat. It’s located on the site of former military barracks (the Slovenian headquarters of the Yugoslav National Army). There were dance parties and rock shows going on throughout the night in multiple buildings. We met so many kind people who were making really far out art.

 

Pat: When we played in Madrid, we played after the labor union strikes that were going on all day. There was a huge protest in all of Spain. All the stores were closed from midnight to midnight and the people who set up our show promoted it as starting at midnight. Everybody that came to the show came from protests so they came with their signs and lots of energy. A lot of them were still smashing things, smashing cars. They opened the show at midnight and it filled up with people… it was pretty weird to see all these angry protesters coming out to see our band play. And we were the only band playing. We didn’t actually start playing until 1:30 a.m. and it was still full.

 

What would you say is the most difficult part about going on tour for an extended period of time?

 

Brian: Staying healthy.

Pat: Paying rent at home. Or vans breaking down.

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Bands play their songs countless times. How do you keep a high energy towards music you’ve been playing for awhile so you don’t get bored with it?

 

Brian: We try and reinterpret songs, extend jams, rewrite lyrics, but mainly we retire songs once they have run their course.

 

Pat: We don’t play songs for very long. We usually write one album, play all the songs, and then we’ll write another album and we’re done with the old songs.

 

If you could play any venue, where would you want to play and who would it be with?

 

Brian:  UFO club. 1967. London. Opening for Soft Machine and Pink Floyd.

 

Pat: With The Velvet Underground in 1969 at Max’s Kansas City.

 

What music have you been listening to the most in the past month or so?

 

Pat: Records I found on the street: Modern Square Dance, Time To Be Happy Cha Cha. A lot of PC Worship and Amen Dunes.

 

Brian: Lots of soul records. Curtis Mayfield, Minnie Ripperton, Candi Staton. Also a ton of electronic music. Pye corner Audio, Huerco S., Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, etc… I love Lubomyr Melnyk! It’s always changing.

 

Where is the best place to buy records?

 

Brian:  I love Other music in Manhattan. Record Grouch and Heaven’s street are my favs in Brooklyn. But really the best record shopping can be found in small cities in America. I’ve found some of my strangest finds traveling around on tour.

 

What are some of your first memories playing music, and what motivated you to stick with it?

 

Brian: Seeing Marty Key play drums in Danville Virginia in 1993 inspired me to play music. After his set he destroyed his drumset and lit an American flag on stage. Definitely made me aspire to be in a band. My first band was called Abduction and we made up songs on the spot. Everyday observations screamed over fast two chord songs. I was 12.

 

Pat: My first memories involve being in high school and inviting all my friends from school to come over and watch our band. It elevated me to having a life.

 

If you had an alter ego band what would it be?

 

Brian: It would be called GARBAGE BRAIN or maybe MASSIVE TREES or maybe FROZEN QUAALUDE. Basically Pat and I on heavy synths.

 

Pat: A very sexy garage rock band with cool dance moves and lots of women screaming in the front row.

 

You don’t already have that?

 

No [laughs]…

 

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