By Daniela Garcia
Blog Content Contributor
You may have heard about KTSW’s Bookstore Blowout event that took place Tuesday, August 25th, 2015 rocking out with a couple of local artists performing for students making purchases. Among the brief lineup were The Questions so I asked lead vocalist, Skyler Sands if he could sit down for an interview over his music.
- When and why did you start playing?
“I really started playing in the 7th grade to make girls like me,” Skylar laughs somewhat nervously.
“I wanted to get back at this guy who also played guitar and I really just wanted to beat him at his own game. And now I really love it.”
- Which instruments do you play?
Harmonica, guitar, bass, drums. Drums are really different than the others, all rhythm but I can keep up to tempo.
- What was the first tune(s) you learned?
Mom played clarinet in band while her sisters were drum majors. She made me try trumpet. My dad was not musical. At all. But he is a really admired man at his jobs and it’s really nice he’s able to have me here going to school. It’s a blessing.
- Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Bob Dylan. He’s…ah man. He’s too good to be a human being. But I think I’ve gotten away from that sound, personally. And Lou Reed. There’s an authentic sound, dirty, gritty, totally not overproduced. Older music, really.
- Which famous musicians have you learned from?
The Beatles. Our band is trying to harmonize and I think that’s going well. It’s progressively sounding better. And that’s something that The Beatles were really good at.
- Who was your first teacher? Other teachers?
Miss Johnston. She was my choir teacher and was incredibly supportive. When I was in the choir,I was told I had a unique texture to my voice that wasn’t so much appropriate for a choir but I guess more for rock n’ roll.
- Describe your first instrument.
*sighs*. Trumpet. It hurt my face. My parents would say it’s too loud when I would practice but then they would get upset when I didn’t so it wasn’t a very pleasant experience.
- What are your fondest musical memories?
I had a really bad show at Triple Crown early June this year. I was ready to get off stage because we were just no synchronized as a band but then it turned out really well. It turned out to be a great harmonizing sound and we all really just kinda bonded as a band.
- Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?
Highway 61 by Bob Dylan. Loaded by the Velvet Underground, and Rubber Soul by the Beatles.
- Who are your favorite more contemporary musicians?
The Strokes, first 3 albums. The White Stripes. And Weezer.
- Have you been in any competitions? Any prizes?
Yeah, I’ve done the last two Battle of the Bands, and we were received very well but no we haven’t won anything as a band as of yet. But I did win a talent show in middle school by playing Green Day’s Brain Stew, which has like only two chords.
- Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions? Concerts, radio, TV?
I do perform usually at Triple Crown, Wake the Dead, Cheatham St. Warehouse and we actually have another show coming up on September 30th at Triple Crown so that’s something we’re looking forward to.
- Do you play for dances? Step-dancers?
We haven’t really done anything like that but there was something I went to at Tantra that I taught was really interesting and it would be something cool to do but no nothing like that yet.
- How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
I used to handle it poorly but I’ve gotten better. I have two problems to overcome and they are anxiety and dyslexia. But I just like to express myself. I feel more comfortable now though.
- Do you get nervous before a performance?
I usually don’t get nervous beforehand but sometimes during if I feel it’s going badly then I do become somewhat anxious about the situation.
- What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?
Do it. A lot. Play for dozens or two people. It’s all good experience.
- Do you attend sessions?
I do. I go to Cheatham St. Warehouse’s Songwriter Circle pretty religiously, every Wednesday so that’s really nice and always welcoming.
- How often and for how long do you practice?
Everyday. I try to write everyday. I don’t really put a time limit to it but it usually runs for about an hour or two.
- What do you practice-exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.?
Scales. Theory is really good to know but mostly to write and recently I’ve been trying to do more covers. I’m trying to get better at remembering words.
- Do you teach music?
No. But I would be willing to.
- How do you balance your music with other obligations-mate, children, job?
Well. No girlfriend. I’ve been married to music for a long time. I basically kind of ignore everything else. *laughs*
I have a lot of confidence that we will go places. But no, I am doing good in school.
- Any other hobbies?
Videogames. And I probably podcasts way more than I listen to music.
- How did you come across this Bookstore Blowout opportunity?
The Halloways! They called us up to fill in a slot and through Dilan Hutyra, sound engineer who produced our EP.
- Is this your first on campus gig?
No, we’ve done Battle of Bands twice now and occasionally we play at George’s.
- And finally, how do you feel about playing at the Bookstore Blowout this week?
I’m really excited! The other bands are just so good so I’m honored to be playing with them. We’re also changing our name so this might be our last performance as The Questions. But we really like our new name, Fourth Time Around.