Berlin based four piece, Big Skies, are definitely ones I tip highly for the sound of 2014, a very exciting band. Their sound is expansive and anthemic, they know exactly what they want to achieve and they aren’t afraid to shout it, Big Skies are a band that will steal your heart from the first listen. They make psychedelic Britpop sound so good, with the release of their début EP last year, they aim to go one step higher in 2014 with the release of their début LP, and all the best to them, I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
I caught up with the band’s frontman, Jim Cubitt, to talk about everything from their recent UK tour to what’s next for the band and much, much more.
Firstly, I’d like to say thanks for this interview. What’s one thing that we should all know about Big Skies that we might not know about you now?
We’re pretty nimble on the table football pitch.
You relocated to Berlin to pursue your music career. I understand that Berlin is known for being a very creative city with a thriving music scene. What are your thoughts on the music scene in Berlin and do you think it was the right move for the band to uproot and make the move to Berlin?
We actually didn’t move over to Berlin as a band. We just moved over as friends with the hope of starting something new, not necessarily music. The band came a lot later after living there for a while and it was born very naturally…partly because we’d always wanted to play together for many years and partly for something else to occupy us during the cold dark winter.
The music scene is great in Berlin, it’s very supportive and laid back. It’s not over saturated with any bands of one particular genre and I can feel extremely comfortable going to watch anything…you never feel like an outsider or that you don’t belong. I think that’s most inspiring thing, the acceptance of anything and anyone goes.
You released your début EP in 2013. How has the response been to that so far?
It’s been really positive! We went on tour at the tail end of the summer around Germany and just recently have been around the UK, both audiences seemed to love what we are doing. We were extremely excited for our first release and to be honest it couldn’t have gone better, we did what we set out to do and most importantly made a piece that we’re proud of.
Can you give us an insight into your songwriting process. Where do you start and how do you put a song together?
It’s very fluid, there’s not one particular way in which we write. A lot of the time I will write the basis of the song, chord structures, melody and lyrics and try to record a simple version on my computer. I’ll then email it over to the other boys and generally go into the studio with Jack the lead guitarist to start playing around with new ideas that he can bring to the table.
We then start running it full band and it grows from there. Sometimes they take months, other times they just click and it’s done in a day. Other times Jack will write one and bring it to the table and we’ll do the same from there. You never know what’s round the corner, it’s pretty exciting.
Who are your musical influences and do you feel like they have any influence on your sound?
There’s four of us in the band so there’s a lot of music influences in there. Alex our drummer loves Jazz as well as many other things. Jack’s got a big love for west coast stuff such as Deerhunter, Adam has a whole eclectic mix but really likes stuff like The National to name but a few.
I have a big love for the old rock n roll guitar bands such as the Stones and the Beatles. It must all influence the sound…I’m not sure how but I think when you listen to our music there will be elements of all that you can find in there.
At the end of 2013, you headed back to the UK for a tour. How did those shows go? Is there a big difference between a UK crowd and a German crowd?
It went really well! We love playing the UK cause it feels like playing to your home crowd…as well as having a home crowd in Berlin. We’re lucky to have the two.
What’s a show normally like for Big Skies?
Loud, energetic….a lot of sweat, a lot of smiles and a lot of fun.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Daytime / Nighttime….it takes all of about 30 seconds to play, not entirely sure how helpful it is but we like to play it. Apart from that it’s just the usual stuff like biting the heads of bats and drinking rotten milk.
We’re big supporters of new music here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies. Having said that, are there any new artists that have caught your attention recently that you’d like to share with us?
I’m a big lover of CHAMPS from the Isle of Wight…very talented.
What was your highlight of 2013 and what can we expect from Big Skies in 2014?
My personal highlight was touring the EP…we love playing to people so that for me was awesome. 2014 we’ll release our début album! So make sure to keep an eye out for that!
A special thanks to Big Skies for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below.