Lives in: York; graduated from York High School.
So you just go by Skyler? Yes, it’s my given first name. I’ve asked my parents before where it came from, and they just said they liked it.
Let’s start with the standard musician question: How would you describe your music? Everybody seems to hear whatever they want. It’s rock and roll, but rock and roll means so many things—it’s an amalgam of folk and country and blues and bluegrass and jazz and R&B. The people that really like country music who come to our shows have said, “Wow, we really hear a deep country influence.” The people who really like ’90s alt rock have said, “We hear ’90s alt rock in your music.” I just call it rock and roll.
And you guys just released a new album? Our first EP is “Long Gone.” It’s on iTunes, available at all of our shows, and on our Myspace and Facebook pages. When I was in high school I released five albums of original material recorded in my bedroom. I saved up all my money—I did lemonade stands, bake sales—to get a computer and a little recording device. I used that all throughout high school.
So when did you get your start? I started playing when I was very, very, young. In 6th grade, I started playing guitar, and within a few months I had gotten a band together with other 6th graders and we played our school talent show. My performing really took off in high school. I started playing with a bunch of high school bands, none of which did anything besides a few local gigs. I decided in order to get myself to the next level, I needed to start playing solo acoustic shows every chance I got. I did private parties, bars, I played outside the Bagel Basket in York. After a while, the Scharff brothers (Adam and Michael) asked me to play drums with them. They started featuring me; I’d jump up and play guitar and we’d do a couple of my songs. After awhile, when I was finally looking for a band, it ended up just falling right into place that they joined and we found the other members. I usually do guitar and vocals; I sometimes play piano and drums, and every once in a while I’ll do bass.
Where have you played? I’ve played at least 250 shows, might be at least 300 by now. We had a pretty good weekend recently where we opened for Ryan Cabrera at Noble High School. We also did the CMJ Music Festival in New York recently. We’ve played a number of times down in Boston, throughout New Hampshire, a bunch of different places in Maine. Doing solo shows, I’ve gone as far down as Washington, D.C., Nashville.
How often are you playing? It all depends. We try not to over-saturate any market, just because if you play too many places in a row, people will say “I’ll just see them next time.” We try to hit up every market every 6 to 8 weeks. We’re in Portland on Dec. 19 opening for Sparks The Rescue; we’re playing in York on Nov. 14, and probably won’t be back in York until May. We’re doing our first Vermont show in January at Higher Ground, one of the big venues in Burlington.
What musicians inspire you? The Beatles are definitely my earliest inspiration; Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty; lately I’ve really loved Taylor Swift’s music.
So what’s on your mp3 player right now? The latest songs I’ve downloaded are from Taylor Swift, The Eagles, John Mayer, Pearl Jam, The Jonas Brothers, Lyle Lovett, Green Day.
What are your songs about? It all depends on what’s inspiring us. For the most part, it’s love songs. That’s what gets us the most.
Do you have a favorite song you’ve written? Choosing between my songs is like choosing between children. It all depends on the moment and the mood I’m in.
What’s the songwriting process like? If something strikes you, you’ve gotta write it down. I’ve written stuff on my hand, on napkins, on the backs of gum wrappers. Other times we’ll just sit down and say ’What do you want to write about?’
What are your hobbies beyond music? Right now, I have to be so focused on my music, I’m really not able to do a lot of other stuff. But I really enjoy going to see movies. This summer, I blew all my money on movies.
What movies have you seen recently? “Despicable Me” I thought was awesome. Also, “Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World.”
What’s your all-time favorite? “That Thing You Do!” It really hits the nail on the head of what a manager is supposed to act like, what it’s like to have overnight success, and then to see it all disappear very quickly.
So where would you describe yourself in terms of success? We’re right at the beginning, we’re constantly looking up.
What do you think are the misconceptions about being a musician? It’s a lot of hard work. We’ve been going into schools and playing, and one of the questions we were just asked was, “Are you rich?” Because they think if you’re in a band, you’re going to make tons of money. The reality is, not so much. Yeah, there can be the sex, drugs and rock and roll thing, but if you want to make it, you really have to stay focused.
What’s your philosophy on life? There are a number of things I have going through my head, like, “someone’s always willing to work harder than you are, so you constantly have to be working.” Or to keep myself up, I say, “It’s all happening,” which is a quote from “Almost Famous.”
What do you like about York? It’s a beautiful little town. It’s got the beaches, so it’s awesome during the summer, and it has beautiful foliage in the fall.
What would you do if you weren’t a musician? I honestly can’t imagine myself doing anything but music