FRIDAY FIX: Interview and Playlist with SKULS

The idea of leaving everything you know behind in the pursuit of a passion, be it art or something else, is terrifying but certainly admirable. Not many can do it, although us young people these days warm up to the idea of “doing what you like / screw money” more easily than our older peers. If you do music, sacrificing a lot is the norm, and regardless of whether we here at HighClouds dig your music or not, major props to all artists and hustlers in the music industry who work hard every day doing something that might never be a stable job. It’s brave.

SKULS is an electronic duo originating from the Bay Area and this past year, they’ve made some big changes in their life in the pursuit of music. Since moving to LA and releasing their new “Terminal EP” yesterday, it’s clear from the quick Q&A they had with HighClouds that while doing what you love is fun, it’s most likely never going to be easy.

Check out our words with SKULS below and also take a listen to this week’s Friday Fix playlist which they have so kindly curated for us.

1) How has your year been? Kind of a big question but I’m really curious about some of the ups and downs you guys have faced while pursuing this music thing.

Honestly, it hasn’t been our best. We moved down to LA from the Bay Area after high school with some friends and it didn’t go as we hoped it would. Nothing was happening with our music, I (Seamus) could not find a job, and our friends all became very depressed after coming down because they realized it wasn’t what they expected. Eventually, one of them went back to the Bay Area and the other one joined the army. A lot of stuff happened in our personal life and it really felt like we were heading from a great place in our lives to a really dark one. The truth of the matter is that chasing after your dream in general will take everything out of you. But as long as you truly want it you’ll always be able to get through it. Nothing big has really happened for us yet but we’re hopeful about the future because we’re confident in our vision and the work we put into it.

Eventually, one of our friends left us and moved back home and the other one ended up joining the army. A lot of stuff happened in our personal life and it really felt like we were heading from an amazing place in our life to a really dark one.

2) What is the inspiration/backstory behind one or two (or all) of the songs on the Terminal EP? What is your guys’ creative process like?

Our EP represents everything that happened to us in that first year of moving out of our hometown and pursuing music.

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‘1501’, the opening song on the EP, was our old address of the house we made our music in and it was sold right before we left the city. We wanted to open the EP with an epic and sad feeling song that includes hints from our past in it. It even includes sounds that we recorded inside the house when it was emptied out.

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‘Power’ is the song that represents the move from the Bay Area to LA. This excitement of the unknown and the beginning of our new lives. The song is pure adrenaline, and represents our feelings the night we packed up and left.

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‘Lotusville’ was made when we got to LA and started to first feel the darkness in our situation. The song is suppose to represent the anger we felt as well as the coldness we felt from our new home.

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‘Movements’ was a song of acceptance. We locked ourselves in our room for a day and just expressed all of our pain from the past year and made this, and, although not everything became better in our lives, we slowly started to accept the change that we were experiencing, and this was a major moment in that acceptance.

3) Is there anything you wish listeners knew about you that just wouldn’t be apparent on first glance/listen/impression?

We really want people to know that for us, this music is more then just finding a “sick drop”

We use producing as a way to vent how we feel. It’s our most effective way of communicating and whether there’s a story, a mood, or a vision, we want the listener to know that our music goes deeper than sound.

4) Who are some of your inspirations? Musical or in general?

We will always be inspired by artists who mix their integrity and vision with their work. Musically, there are so many great artists out right now who treat music as a channel instead of a lifestyle. There are also a lot of great music scenes that embrace that ideology, such as the Bay Area rap scene or the UK electronic scene. Both have created a culture and a style around the artists which makes it a comfortable community for artists to express themselves through their music.

5) What has been one of the coolest music-related experiences that have happened to you guys this year?

We played a show last Halloween alongside Lunice and Danny Seth. We found ourselves on the stage with Danny for his performance and the energy from the crowd was crazy. At one point Danny was in the crowd and then hopped back on stage bleeding and he just kept going. I think it was memorable for us because we realized that this was the exact energy we want for a SKULS set. We also played a Mixmag event this month, which was crazy because we remember watching their livestreams back when we lived in the Bay Area.

6) If you could give one inspirational quote or line (yours or someone else’s) for people to remember, what would it be?

My dad (Seamus) always says that slow progress is the best. What he means is give your craft the time it needs to develop and don’t be worried about everything you haven’t done. Its always inspirational to look back on where we were a year ago compared to where we are now. Slow progress also puts you in a place for handling success better.

7) And lastly… any other cool news you want to share with listeners besides the release of this EP today?

We have so much music on our hands right now, and our quality and direction seem to get better and clearer everyday. We’re really excited to show you everything and we hope you enjoy the EP as much as we do.

You can stream and download SKULS‘ “Terminal EP” here.

Ruth Jiang
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