Discover The Undiscovered: Skyline Pigeons
By Staff on May 23, 2012
Skyline Pigeons is a shoegaze-rock/psych-pop group from Los Angeles, CA. Members Roxanne and Caroline originally hail from the Northeast cities of Philadelphia and Toronto. On the East, the musician-sisters began playing classical piano, violin, flute and guitar. In 2001 they moved out West to Santa Barbara, CA and in 2009 they migrated to Los Angeles, CA and formed “Skyline Pigeons” with Andrew Harrison, Ben Potter, and Orly Gal. Their musical style seeks to reflect personal stories of romantic fury, social contemplation, and lived experience. While the sound of the Skyline Pigeons draws from elements of pop, expect to hear strands of country twang and driving force of post-punk, as well as the silky hue of psychedelic rock rifts.
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Check out the video for “Lucid”
A brief conversation with the band….
Who are your main influences?
We are very much influenced by memories and the recognition of capturing a moment through song. We tend to write most freely when we let the creative juices flow like a stream of consciousness without placing any boundaries on the song’s structure or lyrical content. We like recording these processes and labeling them with dates and times just as one would do with items of nostalgia. This also helps us try and remember what we’ve written while in a transcendental mindset that lacks hesitation and promotes a “sonic libido” or a notion that feels gratifying to the senses.
In terms of style and vibe I feel like we are mostly influenced by the harmonies and melodies of the late 50’s and early 60’s and psychedelic rock and folk music. We’re inspired by the cultural consciousness and atmospheric projections of Bob Dylan, The Doors, The Velvet Underground, Elton John, and Leonard Cohen. The way Leonard Cohen grasps and chills an audience with such undying resolution and delivery is so consuming and inspiring. Mazzy Star, PJ Harvey, and Cat Power are more contemporary groups/songwriters we have grown up listening to as budding songwriters and have been influenced by their husky reverb meshed voices, instrumental choices, and simplistic and atmospheric musical arrangements.
How did you meet?
Caroline and I (Roxanne) are sisters and so we’ve been writing music and lyrics together since adolescence and teenage youth. At the start of our collaboration Caroline would often write these beautiful piano compositions in her bedroom, and then we would try to match some of my (Roxanne) post-modern poetry to the tunes with simple melodies. This method evolved over time as I picked up the guitar and we formed a five-piece band in Los Angeles with Andrew Harrison (lead guitar), Ben Potter (Drums), and Orly Gal (bass). We met Andrew in college and he introduced us to his Colorado hometown friend Ben, who is studying percussion at the Music Institute in Hollywood. From constantly playing in the Los Angeles music scene, we soon met Orly and she began playing bass for us. Mostly with our songs we try to tell stories and communicate a vibe that is authentic yet accessible. “We write the songs in their most raw form and then we can all work meticulously on the arrangement but only after the spark of conception has occurred” – Caroline.
What is your biggest achievement as a band to date?
Our biggest achievement was working with Ryan Hadlock and recording a full-length album at Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville Washington. Ryan Hadlock has produced some of our favorite bands like Blonde Redhead and the Black Heart Procession and it was an honor to make a record with him. It was a life changing experience to record in such a peaceful studio with so much soul and history. After we lost our house in a wildfire in 2009, making this album and finally recording many of these songs that were inspired by the traumatic experience of loss and rebirth, felt like a huge accomplishment for us both personally and musically. We are very proud of these songs but they are only a byproduct of a beautiful and painful journey. The journey of House of Mysteries feels like the biggest achievement in that sense.
Where did the band name originate?
We are huge Elton John fans and the band name came to us while listening to Elton John’s first record Empty Sky (1969). There was a harpsichord version of the song on the record called Skyline Pigeon. The song is one of Elton and Bernie Taupin’s first really beautiful lyrical and musical collaborations. This collaboration reminded us of the way Caroline and I work together as songwriters and so came the band name—The Skyline Pigeons.
Some of our favorite bands rotate daily but mainly consist of: James Carr, Can, The Fall, Elton John, The Doors, The Zombies, The Velvet Underground, The Ronnettes, Spacemen 3/Spiritualized, PJ Harvey, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Blonde Redhead, and The Breeders.
People I’ve been particularly obsessed with lately are Gregory Alan Isakov, The Crocodiles, The Warlocks, Brandi Carlile, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. There hasn’t been one day in the past three years that I have not listened to Gregory Alan Iskaov; I (Roxanne) think he’s a prophetic lyricist and amazing folk singer. I also just love singing with his voice in the car when I’m constantly stuck in Los Angeles traffic.
I’ve been grooving to James Carr—rhythm and blues music from the South really does it for me (Caroline). I feel like I could just listen over and over again kind of the way Thora Birch’s character does in Ghost World after buying that blues vinyl.
Plans to Tour?
We plan on playing a Northwest Tour, starting at the beginning of June with our album release party show at Molly Malone’s June 3rd.
Santa Monica—The Central S.A.P.C – May 23rd @ 8:00 PM
Los Angeles, CA—Molly Malone’s Irish Pub and Import Room— June 3rd @ 9:00 PM
Santa Barbara – SOHO—June TBA
San Francisco – Hotel Utah – July TBA
Plans for next release?
We are self-releasing our full-length album –House of Mysteries –June 5th, 2012 on almost every online distribution website. We are having the official album release/showcase show June 3rd @ Molly Malone’s Irish Pub and Import Room.