Alter The Sky Interview 26/3/20
MM: Thanks for your time, can you give a brief Background about your Band and why the name Alter The Sky
A:The band formed in Cambridge from a mixture of friendships and previous musical encounters around 2016 and we've been gigging ever since. The roots go back to me (Gal) moving here in 2004 and knowing Kev through watching him play in previous bands Anachoic Reflection and Federal Black 40. Matt was on the same scene and with us 3 at a loose end in 2015 we started jamming together and building up a set of songs. We've had a few line-up changes since then with drummers and vocalists, but our strongest line up arrived with Hels on vocals who also sings locally with Powderhead and first got to know Gal back in 2012 through work. Most recently, our new drummer Mike arrived after again being an active member of the scene and stepping in this year.
The Name? Nothing too deep and meaningful! We all put in ideas and suggestions and came to it by process of elimination and agreement. I think it has a nice ring to it!
MM: You recently released a single, what’s the feedback been like so far.
A:It's been superb! Nothing can describe the excitement you feel when someone else who you've never met gives you a great review on a radio station or magazine. It sounds like we are still exciting people with our sound and energy which for all of us very humbling and a huge buzz!
MM: The Coronovirus is screwing the world up , so can you tell us your plans for the year, and how will you guys cope with the virus.
A:It's a huge blow to everyone especially the live venues and others who depend on income from their music. We have some things lined up that will likely be cancelled but that'll only make us determined to make up for it when things improve. As part of the wider music scene, I think us rock and metal fans are some of the most resilient types out there and so I'm looking forward to when the gigs come back with a vengeance!
MM: What can we expect live?
A:Lots of movement and plenty of expression! I'd like to say we take the brakes off to a point where terminal velocity is reached, so we're pushed to the max without making a mess of things! Our singer Hels will have you involved by the end of the show!
MM: What do you like best about being in a band and what's the worst?
A:Best for me personally is the live show that has awesome energy and sound. There's nothing more rewarding than hearing yourselves project a set into a venue and seeing people in the audience enjoy (and dare I say be impressed by?!) the experience. It's a vicious, addictive cycle to give and receive that energy and by the end I'm buzzing for hours!
The worst thing is when something goes wrong, or I'm making mistakes when playing live and gets in the way of the above! I find it very frustrating- even if others say they didn't notice! Haha!
MM: how do you rate the importance of being seen live and meeting fans whenever possible?
A:Maximum importance! And I know this from being on the other side more than anything else. Just this weekend I had the chance to see a band I've like for 3 years for the first time and all music fans know how exciting this is! I'm a massive believer that no matter how good your music or recordings are, the live performance allows for people to EXPERIENCE the band and you get so much more out of it overall. That said, unlike some others in the band, I can be a bit shy around new people but it's a great feeling when you connect with others and realise people are having a great night because of what you're doing. Having a beer, meeting other bands and fans is what it's all about and none of us would enjoy it without this aspect.
MM: Can you tell me how difficult is it to stand out from your peers
A:It's always at the back of your mind that there are 1000's of other bands out there- lots with similar styles, music and even names. The key is to balance what you are doing so that it's enjoyable and innovative at the same time. And also not to worry about it too much. Yes, it can be competitive at times, but if you put too much emphasis on that, the vibe becomes negative. As a band, we have had a natural energy and we are good at bringing this out at our live shows better than a lot of others.
MM: Which three Bands would you love to go on tour with?
A:The Darkness, The Wildhearts and Black Sabbath in the 70's just to witness Ozzy in full bloom!
MM: What's the most memorable concert you've been to (other than your own) and why?
A:Iron Maiden Twickenham 2008. I first became a fan in the mid 90s but never had the chance to see them until that first time. Hearing the sheer roar of the other fans singing back to Bruce, the impeccable guitars, the stage show was somehow still infinitely better than all the concerts I'd seen on video. Phenomenal experience and still one of the best bands still going!
MM: Which are your Two favourite albums of all time and what they have meant to you personally
Black Sabbath- Sabotage. Tony Iommi is my biggest influence as a guitarist and so Black Sabbath was THE first band I got in to. I remember going into all the tiny record shops when I was 14 or 15 trying to collect the original 8 albums and finding an old dog-eared copy of Sabotage in a dusty attic shop. It's the best Sabbath album in my opinion because the production is phenomenal and it has a slightly dark, proggy vibe running through it- even with the hidden track at the end. It still gets a regular spin on my turntable to this day!
The Wildhearts- PHUQ. My friend gave me a copy of this on tape in the summer of 1995 and listening to it takes me back in time that way everyone experiences with musical nostalgia! This album has all the energy of the band with less punk attitude and sublime songwriting. Ginger was on top form and this album has it all- Massive anthems to the dark and sinister it’s the epitome of 90s music to me!
MM: Can you remember the first time you played live and what it meant to you
A:Yes! September 1995, a girl from school did the usual trickery of convincing her parents to go out and let her have a birthday party at her (very large) house and my first band "Fatal" played a mix of covers. Badly. However, it sowed a seed and the haggard plant is still growing!
MM: Can you tell me why we should check out Alter The Sky
A:If you come and see us, I bet you'll smile- at least once! We all have a great ability to gel and enjoy ourselves on stage as one- not 5 musicians playing to themselves. Musically, If you like hard rock with a twist... well, who doesn't!
MM: Ultimate goals for your Band
A:To tour with an established professional band with dates abroad and experience the whole filthy mess would be my dream!
MM: Four Words to describe Alter The Sky
A great night out!
Final words for your fans and our readers:
A:Our new single sums us up well. Give it a listen if you've never heard it before and if you're not convinced then come and see us play! And if you've heard us before, there's more being worked on so watch this space!
Interview By Seb Di Gatto