theyve been going strong since starting up back in November
1995, the Lithuanian band known as The SKYS really hits their
stride with their 2012 CD Colours Of The Desert.
After a few spins its clear that Colours Of The Desert
is a masterpiece of 21st century prog-rock. For Americans, the
names of the group members might be hard to pronounce yet the music,
sung in English complete with complete printed lyrics, Skys caters
to a cross-section of international music lovers. In addition to the
bands 5 piece coreincluding lead guitarist and singer
Jonas Ciurlionis and keyboardist-vocalist Bozena BuinickaSKYS
are joined by a number of renowned musicians, including esteemed guitarist
Dave Kilminster of the Roger Waters band, and a number of other
gifted players. With their mix of Euro-flavored prog, complete with
a decidedly Pink Floyd influence, The SKYS have been praised in their
native Lithuania and neighboring Russia, Estonia, Germany and beyond
and theyre poised to bring their sound far and wide. Theres
plenty of top musicianship throughout the 9 track Colours Of The
Desert CD but, backing up the style theres also plenty of
memorable melodic hooks and arrangements that will no doubt appeal
to prog-rock mavens of all stripes, cultures and continents. www.TheSkys.com
presents an interview with
Bozena and Jonas of The SKYS
Ciurlionis vocals and lead guitar
Bozena Buinicka keyboards and vocals
Can you give a little background into the formation of the original
Skys band and how has the band evolved and over the course of 4 albums
starting in 1997 and up to the new Colours Of The Desert in
Bozena Buinicka: The whole journey of The Skys was started
by Jonas back in 1995. Later Alex (guitar, backing vocalls) had joined
in, then Justas (bass), and then Bozena (keys, voice) and the last
person was our drummer Ilja.
Due to frequent changes it took 15 years till the final line up was
formed. Some could not stand the tense rehearsals and were not ready
for hard work others, had personal reasons or didnt have any
idea what is it to be in a band and treated music only as fun, but
not work. It is a hard road where you can see all colours of the desert.
Jonas Ciurlionis: well it was a long and winding road (lol). The
hardest thing was to find soulmates for this journey. I met a lot
of people and many of them wanted money and fame, girls and drugs
but just a few of them wanted to dedicate their lives for the music.
mwe3: Who wrote the music and lyrics on The Colours Of The
Desert can you describe the chemistry of the different members
of The Skys, both in the studio and live in concert?
Music and lyrics are written by Jonas Ciurlionis and Bozena Buinicka
and also several lyrics are written by Bozenas father such as
or The Pyramid.
I think that The Skys is a very crazy company. Very funny people that
you never can be bored with. Everyones different, has his own
character, hobbies but the whole band is as a fist, all working together
and understanding each other during rehearsals and concerts. Each
member of the band gives something to each other. The band is like
a mosaic, each is a different detail but when were all together
we have The Skys.
mwe3: Jonas, what guitars are you featuring on The Colours
Of The Desert and how far back does your history go back with
the guitar. Do you practice and what are you favorite guitar styles?
How about instrumental music as I know theres a cool instrumental
track on the new CD.
Jonas: Colours Of The Desert was recorded with my Gibson
Studio. I've also used a couple of acoustic guitars at Steves
studio in London but I don't remember which ones. Well, Ive
been playing guitar for 25 years now and Im sure I still need
a lot of practicing. Practicing is a core everywhere in sports in
arts and in sciences. If you stop doing that your level will drop.
However, you need more than practicing which is only a technical side
of music. The most important thing is to practice your soul which
you put into the music (lol). Regarding guitar styles I love Mark
Knopfler, David Gilmour. I love the subtle style of Eric Clapton in
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking and of course, David Kilminster
(lol). I also love old original blues school. What I don't like is
sports in music. So, I don't tolerate when it's too many notes or
the guitarist tries to be the fastest in the world. How did you know
about the instrumental track? (lol)
mwe3: What was it like working with Roger Waters guitarist
Dave Kilminster and I also see theres Tony Spada of
Holding Pattern on the CD too. What other musicians contributed to
the Skys and the making of the new CD?
Bozena: Oh, it was a great time! Very intense and productive
work. Each of the musicians who recorded the album gave a part of
him/her self and made a fantastic job. Huge work was done by Steve
Rispin who was a sound engineer for the entire album.
The album features Dave Kilminster (Roger Waters band)John Young (ex-Scorpions,
Bonnie Tyler), Snake Davis (Eurythmics, P.McCartney, Ray Charles,
James Brown), Tony Spada (Holding Pattern), Anne Marie Helder (Mostly
Autumn, Panic Room), Martin Beedle (Cutting Crew, Sarah Brightman).
Jonas:. The most important thing they all are cool guys so
it was a fantastic time during the recording sessions and after that
mwe3: Can you say something about your early exposure to rock
music and progressive rock, jazz and classical music in Lithuania?
What were some of your big influences while growing up and can you
same something about your history in the country of Lithuania?
Bozena: It is difficult to tell. I could speak about jazz and
classical music in Lithuania as those styles are quite developed.
However, speaking about rock and especially progressive rock my opinion
is not very good. I
think that our neighbors, for example, Poland has much better tradition
in this genre than Lithuania. When the world was creating rock history
in Lithuania it was forbidden by Soviet Government. Lithuania was
isolated. It is good to see more and more young bands which start
to play something similar to rock. There are bands which try to use
prog elements. However, its very limited in numbers. Our society
didnt grow up with rock music and therefore the situation here
is quite sad. It is like a helloween of cheap pop which in most cases
is not professional but has occupied all mass media.
Jonas: well, my opinion about Lithuanian music in general is
very bad, including jazz too. We have some good musicians but we have
very few composers. So, I was influenced by foreign bands instead
of Lithuanian music. And my first influence started at age of 9 when
I bought a vinyl with 4 songs of The Beatles. Later on I discovered
other great bands The Doors, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, and many more
mwe3: Whats been the reaction to the Skys CD in Lithuania
and throughout the rest of the world? What plans do you have for Skys
Colours of the Desert is more popular abroad than in Lithuania.
Most of the CD sales are abroad. Out of 35-40 concerts this year only
one was in Lithuania. I think this fact answers very well the question
about the reaction to the Skys album in Lithuania and abroad. In 2013
we still be working on achieving our goal. Well see what comes
out of it as I have no idea what will happen after half an hour or
the next couple of months. Life can change in several minutes.
Jonas: well, surprisingly Lithuania is full of ignorance. (lol)
While we got hundreds of positive reviews abroad including such majors
as Classic Rock Magazine, Sweden Rock Magazine and many others I hardly
can think of maybe a couple of reviews in Lithuania. While in a less
than a year we got 9 international awards we've never been nominated
for any award ever in Lithuania. While we got lots of radio airplay
abroad and our song When The Western Wind Blows is already
9 weeks in the Polish radio charts only a couple of radio stations
here played the album. It is not that we care much about it but it's
strange, isn't it? And that's keeping in mind that none of Lithuanian
bands has ever made it to that international level so far. I think
Lithuania still has to gain independence from the Soviet legacy in
music and in thinking in general. Anyway, we have a lot of plans for
the next year but I prefer to talk about facts not plans. (lol)
Thanks to The Skys @ www.TheSkys.com