Sky Talk is a 3 piece progressive rock band out of the New York area. It consists of two brothers - Jordan and Talor Steinberg, and drummer Dan "Ello" Costello. They met while studying at Purchase College in upstate New York. The three musicians quickly discovered that they were all into the same type of music, and shared the love of the pioneering bands of "Prog"... such as Rush, Yes, and Genesis. They began to write their own material and are about to release their debut EP "Days in the Sun". Drummer Ello Costello explains the message behind the EP "Be yourself, not what others want you to be. Be unashamed of your depth and spirituality. Be open minded and accepting to everyone". Sky Talk is now booking in the New York area and are soon to release a full length CD. I recently corresponded with Ello Costello.
R.V.B. - Congratulations on your upcoming EP release "Days in the Sun". How did the writing process go with the album? Did you guys go into the studio with the finished songs or did you have ideas, and piece them together?
D.C. - This EP was written in an interesting way. When I met the boys, they had some ideas they had already been working on, a sign of real change within them compositionally from where they had been dwelling, which I then was able to integrate my own compositional style into to form the bulk of the EP. Days and Fall Awake especially had been thought out to an extent before I joined, so the process of finding my place as the drummer of the band took place while forming parts to those songs. When we got to the studio we had planned it all out pretty well, but it was funny - when we started recording for the full day session to get all the drums done, we realized halfway through that there were a few things we were unsure about rhythmically and transitionally so in that respect we started changing things last minute in the studio. I improvised a few fills that the boys later wanted to match, so in that way the studio versions changed the way we now play most of those songs.
D.C. - The title of the EP and the song itself came from Jordan. When we started writing those lyrics, he expressed his feelings on his college experience and how people plant these ideas in your head about what that stage of your life will be like and how it rarely lines up with the eventual reality you experience. Those days of youth are usually hyped up and are considered by most to be your “days in the sun”, but can really be very difficult and dark as you find and transform into who you are meant to be.
R.V.B. - What were some of the bands influences? The early 70's Prog bands?
D.C. - Well, speaking for myself, the big three will always be Rush, Yes and Genesis - nothing is left to be desired in music if I have those three bands to listen to. I know Talor has been really getting into King Crimson and Jordan’s listening has been very Yes centered as of recently. But, as a band I think Rush is the biggest for us to bond over - we really bonded right when we first met on Rush’s music, especially the 80’s stuff which will always be our favorite. As far as other prog goes, I’ve always been a huge Kansas fan and I’m also a very big Porcupine Tree fan and Steven Wilson fan in general. We are always looking for new music and influencing each other’s listening constantly.
R.V.B. - Are any of these songs live tested or are they born in the studio?
D.C. - With the exception of a few keyboard overdubs, these songs are meant to be played live as a trio.
R.V.B. - What would you say the general message of the album and songs are?
D.C. - Be yourself, not what others want you to be. Be unashamed of your depth and spirituality. Be open minded and accepting of everyone. The message reflects the trust that was born between the three of us getting to know each other down to the very core. So in a way, another theme could be friendship.
R.V.B. - How did you come up with the name Sky Talk for the band?
D.C. - Its funny, the name’s spark came from Talor and I watching an episode of the anime Sailor Moon. If i remember correctly, I was explaining the story to him (which can be unnecessarily complicated at times) to him when we mentioned “this is a lot of moon talk”. We were going to go with Moon Talk when we realized it had been taken already, so we tried a few other “(Blank)Talks” and SkyTalk was the best. The way I interpreted the name even when it was Moon Talk was that it represents our lyric writing process - always starting with a deep conversation about the Universe in some form, never shying away from “grand” or “out there” concepts.
R.V.B. - What was the spark for you to take up the drums and who were your early drum influences?
D.C. - Drums themselves were the spark, it just made sense the second I sat on a drum kit. The early influence was Bonham - I loved Bonham and became really obsessed with the way he could change his drum part and the whole mood of the music would just shift. Phil Collins was another big one, Carl Palmer, but no one influenced me more than Neil Peart. Learning a Rush song in those early days was like unwrapping a Christmas present - so profoundly detailed and even loving, understanding and eventually playing those parts pushes a drummer’s limits and gives him or her a sense of real control over the instrument. Learning Neil’s parts made me feel very creative and free, mostly due to how much he was able to “get away with” in a song.
R.V.B. - All three of you guys are music instructors... how do you enjoy sharing knowledge and watching your students grow?
D.C. - It’s awesome. The goal is really to make SkyTalk the full time gig but teaching has given me a confidence that took me a while to realize it was never there. I love watching kids get excited about learning a challenging song the way I do.
R.V.B. - What are your plans to support the music?
D.C. - We have been having Glass Onyon promote us and really get the EP out there. We continue to push the EP and we are looking to release more and more videos to keep the excitement going on our Facebook.
D.C. - Our friend and recording engineer/producer Jeremy Kinney was a huge help and really brought the whole EP together - recording with him was so much fun and was an unforgettable and exciting experience. Other then that, our parents were a big help with a bit of the financial expenses for writing physical CDs and such. My friend Katie Williams who designed the cover for the EP was also a life saver as we needed the artwork really last minute for the release.
R.V.B. - Are you guys still currently writing to make a possible full album?
D.C. - The full length is done and has ten songs. Every song on this record makes me excited to release it, I think this record will really be there for people to give them strength on their journeys, as that’s really the vibe of the record. The recording process will begin in early March with the drums and that’s all we know for sure. The search for artwork has just begun as well, so we are in the middle stages of this record.
R.V.B. - Thank you for considering answering these questions and good luck with the EP.
D.C. - Thanks so much.
Interview conducted by Robert von Bernewitz
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For more information on Sky Talk visit this website www.facebook.com/skytalkband
Thanks to Glass Onyon PR
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