Lithuanian prog-rock band called The Skys put a new spin on
21st century European music with their 2012 CD called Colours Of
The Desert and in 2016 they return with yet another new CD, Journey
Through The Skies. The album continues to feature fine
group performances that highlight the core Skys band with guitarist
/ vocalist Jonas Ciurlionis, keyboardist / vocalist Bozena
Buinicka, Ilja Molodcov (drums, percussion) and Justinas
Tamasevicius (bass). The 12 cut Journey Through The Skies
features a number of guest artists including Snowy White (lead
guitar) and singer Anne Marie Helder. Once again teaming with
sound engineer Steve Rispen, the CD features eye-popping full
color art work with the album lyrics. Speaking about the album and
future plans for The Skys, Jonas Ciurlionis tells mwe3.com, Journey
Through The Skies is a kind of retrospective sum-up album of the Skys
journey. It starts with very early compositions and ends with the
newest one. After the release of Colours Of The Desert we got busy
with heavy touring. We plan to release a new album soon but I never
ever will force myself into rushing. So Id rather wait another
20 years to write one good song than just give birth to bunch of mediocre
ones. And as a philosopher I love to think we will try to deliver
the best we can for the next one. Superbly recorded in both
Lithuania and the UK, Journey Through The Skies offers a number
of good reasons why progressive rock fans should give The Skys a good
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Jonas Ciurlionis and Bozena Buinicka of
The 2016 Skys CD, Journey Through The Skies CD starts with
One Saturday Of The Spring. The song speaks of refugees
and having war on our menu. Does the song a commentary of the current
events going on in Lithuania or a broader scope involving worldwide
events this past year? Are the Skys inspired mainly by news and current
events which seems to be dominating our cultures these days?
Jonas Ciurlionis: Well, the song was written back in 1994 but
I guess you can apply the war and refugees theme to every century
and every decade. If in 2016 one can associate with this song then
it seems we hit the target. The Skys do not try to be fashionable
and speak about current eventswe rather sing about eternal themes,
which are important any time.
Bozena Buinicka: War is always a favorite dish on a menu though
it contains many more things such as faith, love, peace. However,
when people strive for victory in war and wealth it brings tears,
blood, pain and death. Thousands of years we would just fight and
make warsancient wars, world wars, civil wars, drug wars, wars
for diamonds and new territories. All this leads to self-destruction
of humanity and spiritual poverty. Its a shame that today people
don't know how to forgive each other as only then can real peace prevail.
mwe3: Is track 2 on Journey Through The Skies, The
Rain a metaphor for something else? Theres some great
harpsichord work on the track. How are we like the rain?
Jonas Ciurlionis: Yes, The Rain is a metaphor.
I think art must speak in metaphors and symbols rather than having
direct straight into your face approach. I won't be explaining that
metaphor as it would take pleasure from the listener.
Bozena Buinicka: Rain is life. Humanity needs rain, which washes
away the dust and brings spiritual, instead of material thoughts.
Our homes and hearts are full of dust. Money, cars, material junk,
our thoughts are all about them. And we always strive to sink in this
pile of dust. We need storms and colorful clouds, which would make
people see the beauty of the sky instead of dirt of this ground.
This Is What You Got is sure to be one of the more controversial
songs on the Journey Through The Skies CD. Is this the price
we have paid for a technology-based culture that moves faster than
people ever imagined? How are we going to cope with all these fast
moving problems of the 21st century or will we not? How do you compare
diamonds and gold to what we really need in the world?
How is life in Lithuania different from other European countries in
coping with problems of the 21st century?
Jonas Ciurlionis: Oh well, life is controversial. This song's
about what we have in our contemporary society. We have various things:
banks and technologies, economical and technological progress, various
social and gender rights movements, lethal diseases and drugs to cure
but we are never satisfied with anything. We strive for diamonds and
gold but never have enough. I think Lithuania, like most of Western
countries have similar problems: drugs, and crime, poverty and economical
issues, gender and social movements. So this song is kind of the mirror
of contemporary problems of our societies.
Bozena Buinicka: Technologies are an endless abyss, which we
try to measure. Nietzsche once said if you keep on looking for a long
time into an abyss it will start staring back at you.
mwe3: Take A Look Inside is a great segue to This
Is What You Got. Are the 2 songs connected and why is Take
A Look Inside so short?
Jonas Ciurlionis: "Take A Look Inside" is the answer
to "This Is What You've Got". Both songs come from our first
concept album Civilized (released in 1997) which deals with
civilized versus natural themes. So, "Take A Look Inside"
says that we have to see inside us instead of just rushing, progressing,
fighting, getting involved, becoming, blaming everything. I think
one of the major issues of mankind is inability to be happy. So, we
kinda have everything in "This Is What You've Got" but we
are still unsatisfied. So why don't we take a closer look inside?
Buinicka: "Take A Look Inside" is a short song where
everything that is important is being told. Inner vision is important
for understanding our goals. Is our main goal technological progress,
diamonds and revolutions? Don't you think it leads to child prostitution,
drugs, AIDS? Doesn't craziness of humanity start sexual revolutions?
Is this what we want? If yesthen congratulations "This
Is What You've Got, if not, then Take A Look Inside".
mwe3: Is track 5 on Journey Through The Skies, The
Ancient Indians Song a song about the American Indian?
Is there somewhat of a contrast or dichotomy between the ancient people
and todays exposures to religions that we all live in fear of?
I like the sitar guitar sounds on the track, which mixes with the
American Indian vibes and the Indians of India. It does get confusingright?
What did you learn and appreciate most about the American Indians?
Jonas Ciurlionis: You are right! When I hear theword Indian
it gets confusing. American or Indian Indian? (lol) The song pictures
that confusion. However, is this the only confusion? What about religion?
We tend to mix everything here too. It gets confusing too. This song
also develops further the theme of civilization and nature. Are these
uncivilized and uneducated Indians of India or America or maybe Africa
and Australia or Europe worse than deaf civilized people? We've toured
quite a lot in The US and Canada and met many Indians who were just
the most wonderful people, far more advanced than ordinary Americans
or Canadians or Europeans.
mwe3: Should Stop Now is another controversial
song. Are these problems you speak about universal and have you noticed
them in Lithuania too? Are there too many problems in the world now
to try to focus on anyone one problem? How can we help the homeless
and hopeless while still living in sin or even greed? Theres
a great guitar solo in the song!. Whos playing the guitar solo
in Should Stop Now?
Jonas Ciurlionis: This song about us closing our eyes in front
of contemporary social and moral problems. We see a blind homeless
woman and we can associate with her because this is in fact us. We
close our eyes in front of child prostitution, drugs and pornography,
teenagers becoming killers. How long would it take for our governments
to end the drug business? Human slavery? Prostitution? I can answer
you a month at most. However, the political marionettes often are
same political prostitutes that close their eyes because it is huge
mafia industry with huge money involved. And they know if they start
doing anything against it they'll be killed. Therefore all those dirty
businesses exist and are cancer of today's societies, countries and
Bozena Buinicka: The guitar solo on this song was recorded
by Snowy White. When sending him the track we planned a much shorter
solo but he recorded it twice longer. However, it was so beautiful
that we decided to leave it and prolong the song instead.
mwe3: Is The Wings Of The Night a different kind
of song that deals less with obvious social issues? Is it a kind of
love song, or love that is here today, and then gone too quickly type
of song? Is that a more obvious prog-rock song? Again, great song
but its too short!
Jonas Ciurlionis: You are right it is a love song, and its
short as some of our "loves" tend to be. And then one can
say, yeah it is a great love but too short! (lol) In fact I don't
believe in short or long songs. I believe in good or bad songs. This
album goes, in fact against all so called "prog rules".
But I don't care because for me it is not a song length that makes
it great. Would "Yesterday" by The Beatles be greater if
it was a bit longer? Most of the times, those who speak a lot have
little to say. With music its the same.
Bozena Buinicka: Everything that is good ends quickly.
Dreams is a much more progressive rock type song. Where
do your dreams lead you in both sleep and wakefulness? Through
closed eyes you cannot see The Skys is a great line. What
is the message in Dreams? Do you still dream in sleep
or is it better to dream when awake? Are we safer in sleep, wakefulness
or even in death? Whats your interpretation of dreams and death?
Are they connected or do we secretly hope they are?
Jonas Ciurlionis: Well this is a bunch of philosophical questions
here. What is a dream? Is Life a dream? Is death like
a state of dream? Humanity for centuries was looking for the answers.
From Indian, Mayan to Aristotles writings on dreams and on to
Jung and Freud and Lacan. We are still not sure what is a dream. Here
we also have a double meaning of this word; one meaning dream when
we sleep and another dreams like goals and fantasies in our lives.
We have to open our eyes to see beyond the light. But can you tell
others what you see? Will they be able to see the same things? Do
we all see the same? Do we all dream the same? Everyone has to find
the answer himself.
Bozena Buinicka: Dreams are our second life. Things we see
in our dreams are symbols of feelings we experienced. We can interpret
them with our intuition. Dreams and music are linked and veiled by
mwe3: Is Broken Sounds Of Truth another socially
pointed song? Great keyboard sounds on the track. Can you get too
socially satirical in songwriting or are there just too many social
ills these days and that makes sure theres no end to broken
truths and endless songwriting ideas?
Jonas Ciurlionis: Do you remember that fairy tale by Hans Christian
Andersen, which speaks about pieces of broken mirror in some people's
eyes? So this song is about that. About reflected and distorted reality
full of relative so-called truths. I guess some themes are just eternal.
Bozena Buinicka: Today we often hear that my truth is this
and your truth is different. However, isn't there one truth? How it
can be two different truths? Truth is one even if some don't recognize
it or don't agree with it. It is one and unchangeable. You cannot
sink water or burn fire itself and you cannot destroy truth. We must
separate opinion from knowledge.
Virtual Reality is track 10 on Journey Through The
Skies. Is Virtual Reality the life we created for
ourselves because real life is just too painful and treacherous? Is
it easier to stare at the petrified screen than to try
to deal with reality or real people 24/7? Were we born to live this
life and where will this world lead us humans by 2099?
Jonas Ciurlionis: Virtual reality is like a drug where we sink
with our psychological complex of reality. How many friends do you
have on Facebook? Wait
but are they real? Some of these people
I have never met. How many likes does my new video generate? How much
money do you have in your virtual bank account? What are your relationships?
Do you fell in love on the internet? Do you have virtual sex? Are
you a real hero in your virtual online game? Pokemon Go. We can destroy
an entire real city with a virtual press of a button. We can ruin
lives with just virtual bank transactions. I think Jean Baudrillard
and others successfully raise those kind of questions. What is real
nowadays? I don't know where all of this going to lead but the sense
of reality in 2099 will be entirely different for sure.
Bozena Buinicka: Virtual reality gives us possibility to create
another self. You can become somebody you are not. It lets you create
another personality, fake identity. One can develop himself like a
hero of a computer game. And a human being, instead of developing
himself develops his imaginary I (self). At the same time it becomes
more and more difficult to survive in a real world. There's no responsibility
for ones actions in virtual reality while it is one of the most
important things in real world relations. In 2099 we might have a
society where everyone will be a hero for himself. Virtual reality
lets human beings compensate real life complexes satisfying himself
with a created image on a computer screen.
mwe3: Do you feel that track 11, Is This The Way
is high point of Journey Through The Skies? What way have you
found to be the best way? Clearly we wont be able to bomb our
way towards moving civilization forward although some may crazily
argue that point. Do you struggle with these issues and why dont
you think people dont discuss these issues further? Can we live
happily in the future while (not) forgetting the past?
Jonas Ciurlionis: Well we always tend to forget the past. Just
think how long ago was the holocaust or Stalin's repression? Some
70 years ago? Did we learn the lessons? I doubt it. Look what is going
on in the world? Ukrainian war, terrorist attacks that seems to me
that people are thirsty for blood. And they just cannot stop. Why
people don't discuss all those issues? Because closing our eyes is
rather a comfortable strategy. We don't like speaking about those
things. We tend to put our happy life glasses on and be sweet politically
correct like good boys and girls.
Love Of Life closes Journey Through The Skies. Does
the song speak of the repetition of life and how perhaps money isnt
the root of all evil, in fact maybe it doesnt exist at all?
Does the song speak of reincarnation; How can I change this
game, which will be again and again. Do you believe in human
recycling until we finally get it right?
Jonas Ciurlionis: I'll let Bo answer this. Generally, this
song about greed.
Bozena Buinicka: This song was inspired by one of the people
we met during our Canadian tour back in 2013. One evening we took
a walk in streets of Dawson City. And we saw a man with a hat. I immediately
thought that this guy looks like a hero from the books of Jack London.
We started talking and he invited us to his house where we met his
father. The old man was real gold miner and survivor. He couldn't
walk. He told us a story how people died in search of gold and he
himself lost his legs during one of expeditions when he spent 3 days
in freezing cold and three of his friends died. He showed us gold
and guns and pelts and antlers. Guns that kill people and animals.
And gold still makes people go crazy and leads them to death.
mwe3: What can you tell us about the incredible Journey
Through The Skies artwork by Rezo on the new CD? Does the artwork
reflect the songs subject matter? Tell us about Rezo.
Jonas Ciurlionis: Oh, Rezo is a great artist from Georgia,
the country not the U.S. state. I think he did just what we needed.
The surrealistic approach is full of symbolism. In fact, I don't think
we asked for any corrections. He just fell for the music, the ideas,
the concept and it really perfectly matches the song lyrics. He was
able to see far more than I could have expected. At the same time
the artwork is full of Rezo himself. And yes he has a great sense
of humor. (Lol)
Bozena Buinicka: Our album cover design was made by Rezo according
to lyrics. When I first saw his project for the album cover I was
amazed and thought to myselfthis is what we need!
mwe3: So where does Journey Through The Skies lead the
Skys next? What were some of the bands highlights since Colours
Of The Desert came out just about four years? I hope youre
planning a lot of new musical adventures so we dont have to
wait four more years for a new Skys album!
Jonas Ciurlionis: Journey Through The Skies is a kind
of retrospective sum up album of The Skys Journey. It starts with
very early compositions and ends with the newest one. After the release
of Colors Of The Desert we got busy with heavy touring. 2012
- whole summer in Poland, 2013 - UK, Canada and USA, 2014 - USA, 2015
Europe, 2016 USA and UK and probably Japan. The schedule is heavy.
Highlights? Well I don't remember. Some awards, some songs in the
charts. We plan to release a new album soon but I never ever will
force myself into rushing. So Id rather wait another 20 years
one good song than just give birth to bunch of mediocre ones. Again
it takes time to collect money as an album recording is a very expensive
thing unless you DIY of course. Da Vinci was working on his Last
Supper for years driving abbey monks crazy who most probably
expected art to be something like macaroni with cheese. Well it takes
time to think as giving birth to spiritual things takes much longer
than just simple 9 months of pregnancy. And as a philosopher I love
to think we will try to deliver the best we can for the next one.
Bozena Buinicka: After the release of Colours of the Desert
we toured Canada and the USA and for several times, Europe. All
touring was very intense. After the release of the previous album
we had a new member who joined the band. We wrote couple of new songs,
one of which was recorded and included in Journey Through The Skies.
At this stage we are waiting for inspiration from the muses for
our new album.