Storm The Sky have just released their new album ‘Permanence‘ last Friday via UNFD. You can grab a copy of the album on iTunes [Here], or physically [Here]. After a spot on the UNIFY festival a couple of weeks back, the band will next hit the road supporting Chiodos on their Australian tour which kicks off at the end of the month. This week in The Hotseat, we caught up with drummer Alex Trail to take on our questions. Expand this post for his answers and all those tour dates.
Name : Alex Trail
Band : Storm The Sky
Job In Band : Drums
Website Address : www.stormthesky.com
Hometown : Melbourne.
Hometown is best known for : Good coffee and sporadic weather.
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : We’re lucky to get a lot of great shows, of recent my favourite was probably seeing the 1975 at Northcote Social Club last year, it was really intimate and they were really tight, it was a really cool vibe and I doubt they’ll be playing something so small ever again now. Either that or seeing Nas with a full band at The Palace a couple of years ago, that was insane.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : Our old band played one of Carpathian’s final shows in like a youth hall a few years ago, and that was unreal, they’re one of my favourite Aussie bands, so getting to be apart of that was unreal. As this band though? That’s a tough one. Probably the one we did in with House Vs Hurricane on the 40 deep tour last year, someone tried to ride a tricycle off the stage into the crowd! There were hula-hoops flying around and at some point our guitarist was on stage on a seesaw. That was a good time.
How did the band first come to exist? Well, this band came about as a product of me and Billy (our original guitarist) jamming Red Hot Chili Peppers covers in our study periods at school, Andy also went to the school but he was younger and at some point we ended up recruiting him as well. We started trying to write our own songs and we wanted to play heavier music but didn’t know anyone who could scream, until we found this guy Nick we used to work at Maccas with after school. So we’d all set up and jam in my parents’ house all day every Saturday. At that point we were just kids having a good time, we used to play the local council battle of the bands and things like that. We’d be the only metal band on the bill, none of our friends even liked our music, but they’d all come anyway and mosh at the front, we thought we were awesome!
How long has the band been going? Storm the Sky has been around for 3 years now, we officially came out in September 2011. But in some form we’ve been playing together since 2008, so it’s been a long road so far, we’ve had a few names, and a lot of lineup changes but it’s all pretty steady now and everything’s finally starting to fall into place.
Any particular story behind the name? Finding a band name is easily the WORST thing about being in a band haha! It’s so hard to think of something cool that reflects the band, and even harder to get six guys to agree on it. We had just recorded our first EP and at that time we’re under a different name (I won’t tell you, it was bad) and we made the choice that that was the right the time to change it and come out as something fresh. I actually came up with the name in a Mandarin class at Uni. It was inspired by the song ‘I’m here to take the sky’ by D.R.U.G.S actually, I just really liked the mentality of that song, the whole skies the limit kind of thinking, and that’s how we were at the time, we had so much hope for that release and so many things we wanted to accomplish with our music. I told Andy and he dug it, some of the other guys were a bit iffy, but by the time we were ready to release we couldn’t come up with anything better so it just stuck.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… Well we just put out our first full-length, which includes the first single called ‘Same Graves’. It was one of the first songs I wrote musically for this record. It’s probably one of the songs on the album that’s most similar to our earlier songs but it’s just bigger and grittier I think. I wanted to bring a bit more of a sort of punk/hardcore vibe into our current sound, so we ditched the breakdowns because I was just getting sick of trying to find different patterns of root notes, and put in some big dirty chords with a wailing guitar over the top and some feedback instead. It’s much more aggressive but then there’s this really cool major change in the chorus as well. Lyrically the song is directed at people who invest their lives in faith and in the concept of an afterlife and in the process neglect the true ‘heaven’ which exists around us in our relationships with living people and the natural world. There have been a few people dismissing it as ‘bible-bashing’ based on some of the imagery in the video for it but I think they’re missing the point. I won’t go to far into it, our singer has written a fair bit about it which you can see on our facebook if you’re interested.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? Finishing the album is definitely got to be up there, writing a full length release for the first time was a really daunting idea, I’d never really had that much material at once before. The process of putting that together took months of writing and demoing, going back and forth, tweaking every little bit. Then on top of that getting ourselves across the world to Arizona to do it all again in the studio… to actually hold the finished product after all that is a great feeling. Along with that signing a deal with an awesome label (UNFD) that’s going to put our music out all over the world really validates all the work we put into the record. That was a major milestone for the band and a super proud moment for all of us.
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? When I was in primary school I had to play an instrument as part of the school curriculum. So when I was I think 9 I learnt the saxophone, I used to pour over my dads old jazz albums, Coltrane, Adderly, Miles Davis. He used to play them all the time in the house and I fell in love, especially with the idea of improvisation. These people expressing themselves through instruments like they were an extension of themselves, like they didn’t even have to think about the keys they were pressing blew my mind when I was just learning basic scales. It was so far removed from the popular music and hip-hop I used to listen to at the time. I think that’s when I really became seriously interested in creating my own music. I started playing the drums a year later, when I decided I wanted to play something ‘cooler’ haha
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? My influences have fluctuated so much over the last 10 years so that’s a really hard one. I would say in terms of what I play now, bands like Linkin Park and the whole nu-metal scene really bridged the gap from rap into rock when I was a kid and inspired me to start drumming. Following that the two albums that really began my obsession with metal or ‘metalcore’ would easily be Killswitch Engage’s ‘Alive or just breathing’ and Atreyu’s ‘The Curse’. Those are definitely two bands or albums that I would say are responsible for me playing in the band I play in now. That said I hardly listen to those records or anything like that now.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? My first band was called ‘Full Chamber Roulette’ and we just played like metalcore / deathcore, back in the myspace era. We thought we were legit, we had demos and everything but we broke up literally the week before our first show, which was pretty gutting. Before that I used to just play like Metallica and Pantera covers with a band of school friends, but we never even had a name for ourselves. We were just mucking around.
Most prized music related item you own? I’m trying to remember if I own any memorabilia or anything anymore, but I’m really the sort of person to keep that sort of stuff. I don’t think I even own any of our releases. So I would have to say my Snare. It’s an 14×8” visage of hammered brass worked up by SJC. Sounds like a shotgun, I love it. His name is Walter on account of the Breaking Bad badge I had put on it.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? Working the 9-5, I work for a bank doing property settlement, which is pretty much the opposite of being in a band haha. Either that or hanging with the Mrs.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… Getting to just forget about everything and spend a few weeks away with some ace company. It’s like the light at the end of the tunnel, the week or two before a tour where it’s like, I just have to do a few more days at this shitty desk-job and I’m out. Then it’s all over and you have to go right back.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… Knowing you’re not going to be sleeping in a proper bed for a while. That and spending lots of time away from my partner.
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? H20 for sure, if nothing else then some cold bottles of water are essential for any show both on stage and off. Other then that there’s nothing better then getting off stage to an ice cold beer.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? We haven’t toured much at all outside of Australia, which is always great. Other then that touring New Zealand was awesome, the country is absolutely beautiful and we got to hang with our bros in Stories as well as Stray From The Path, who are a band I absolutely love, which was super cool. Also I went to school there as well so getting to go back and see people was awesome. The city I lived in was hit by an earthquake shortly after I left so going back there was surreal, even years later it was an absolute ghost town, like something out of a war movie. Just broken glass and bricks everywhere, cracked roads and buildings, I’ve never seen anything like it. That was an experience I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? That’s a hard one. I don’t know if the other guys will agree with me but the first time we ever played in Brisbane was probably up there. It was our first ever tour, we booked the whole thing ourselves and hopped in my dads van, we drove for 3 days straight to get there and there were literally like 5 kids there but they knew every single word to our whole EP and we played 4 encores until we had no more songs. That was one of those moments we’re I just knew, this could be a thing, like I could do this forever.
Got a favourite song to play live? At the moment, my favourite song to play live is the new single ‘Same Graves’. It’s just super bouncy and full of energy so it’s good for the crowd to get involved in.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? Too many! One of our first ever shows our guitarist had some gum or something stuck to his shoe and in some chain of events managed to pull over half the drum kit mid set. I was mortified at the time haha! That sort of stuff still happens along with all the usual technical difficulties but now I just laugh. It happens, what can you do?
Any pre-show rituals? Yeah, we have a bit of a warm-up routine we go through. Stretches, rudiments and we like to sing through a song or two from the set just before all together just so we’re all on the same page mentally. That and the all-important pre-set piss.
What do you find is the hardest aspect of touring in a band today? Man, being in a band is hard all around. Before you do it you think, this will be fun, this is the dream. But it’s so different. I mean it is those things. But it’s also so emotionally taxing. We’re lucky in that we all get along really well, so we don’t really have problems with each other on the road. But honestly I think the hardest part of touring in a band is the impact it has on every other part of your life. Trying to hold down a job for more than a few months at a time. Trying to be financially stable. Trying to build yourself a life around people at home but then you just have to leave, and you can’t be there for the things happening in their lives because you’ve got to be somewhere else chasing your own dreams and you feel so selfish for doing it but you just have to because you’ve invested too much so far not to. That’s hard.
Last song you listened to? Right now I’m spinning the new Issues EP ‘Diamond Dreams’, it’s just acoustic versions of some of their previous songs but it’s really cool. They’re definitely one of the more innovative bands around at the moment.
Last album you picked up? White Noise by PVRIS. I’m really enjoying these guys. The album was produced in part by the guitarist of Paramore and there’s definitely a big influence in there but it’s a lot grittier and mixed in with some really tasteful electronic stuff. The drum mix is one of the best I’ve heard recently as well.
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? Well the two just mentioned plus Childish Gambino’s Kauai EP and 1989 by Taylor Swift.
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? Probably Pvris. They’re just good, I can’t stop listening to their cd at the moment.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? The release of Permanence! Show wise we’ve just played Unify festival, which was our biggest show to date. Up next is the Chiodos tour, so that’s super exciting. Other then that we’re gearing up to start writing towards album two which I’m pretty excited about. Most the material we’ve just released we’ve been sitting on for almost a year so we’re pretty eager to get straight back into it.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? Lost in the sound of separation by Underoath. Most people disagree but I think it’s their best effort. That band has been a massive influence on us and I think they have similar elements that we could pull off whilst being different enough to be interesting for us.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? That’s a tough one. I’d love to hear a band like Letlive put their spin on our record. They’re definitely one of the most exciting bands around at the moment and definitely a major inspiration to make this record more organic than our previous works. They just bring so much raw energy to their music, I would love to see how that would sound in the context of our songs.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Eminem for sure. He’s been one of my favourite artists since I was about 12 and I always seem to miss his shows for some reason or another. My ‘to see before I die’ bands were him, Metallica and Blink and I’ve managed to catch 2/3 now that Blink are back together which was awesome but Shady continues to evade me. Next time for sure!
One venue you have yet to play that you would love to? Definitely 170 Russell in Melbourne. I’ve seen so many bands I’ve loved there and it’s been a dream of mine. I’m sure it’ll happen soon. The set-up there is amazing too.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? My first response would be Travis Barker without a doubt, I spent so many hours playing along to blink as a kid. But that said I feel like it would be way too much pressure haha! When I saw them without him last year people were ripping the replacement to shreds, I thought he nailed it but I guess he’s one of those guys that have a pretty die-hard fan base. So on second thought I would probably say the 1975, they’re just fun and groovy as hell. I think a band like that would be so much fun to be in.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. Probably Ocean Grove and Young Lions, two young bands from Melbourne and Brisbane and they’re both killer! Good dudes too. Australia has so much young talent, it’s insane and I think the rest of the world is finally starting to catch on to that now that a few bands have broken out internationally. Hopefully one day we can make that happen!
Got any final words? Our debut record ‘Permanence’ came out January 16 in Australia and shortly after worldwide. You can check it out at www.stormthesky.com, we have a whole bunch of awesome packages and there’s some pretty cool competitions running as well if you pick one up! That’s about it. Thanks for having me!
STORM THE SKY – ‘Permanence‘
Available now on UNFD.
Grab it on iTunes [Here], or physically [Here].