Photography by Gina Sinotte (ginasinotte.com)
Travel back in time with me to the Summer of 2014 for my Sky Country Band interview about their tour along the coast of California. Who is Sky Country Band? Sky Country Band is: Nico Georis, Adam Zerbe, Mikey Selbicky and Will Condon; a talented musical group, originally from and based out of Carmel, Calif. (who I am honored to call my friends). Cruising on it's own wave of genre, I'd describe the sound of Sky Country Band as, psychedelic rock n' roll meets ethereal chill waves. When I had my radio show at CalArts, EvaFish, I used to play their sounds on vinyl through the air waves. These men continue to inspire me and make me laugh and I want to share their music and their voices with you on the Huffington Post platform. The interview below will go into further detail about their adventures on the road and their inspirations. Be prepared for laughs and good conversation with friends:
Eva: How would you describe Carmel Valley?
Adam: Ridge lines, Carmel River, Oak trees...a nice central midpoint for California exploration
Eva: How would you describe your music?
Nico: I would use the term Rock n' Roll really, because that really embodies the spirit of our approach, you know
Adam: Ya the songs are written in the context of California landscapes and a coastal lifestyle, adventurous, with different regions and experiences inspiring us to write songs
Eva: You literally just got back from your tour?
Adam: Yes we just got back from 12days on the road. Los Angeles, 3 shows, one in Hollywood at Hotel Cafe, one in Pasadena at the Melody Lounge. Surfed every day down there
Eva: Ya you surfed with Gina (my sister)
Adam: Ya, we surfed in our trunks which was a treat
Eva: What was your most memorable part of the tour or something you'll never forget?
Adam: Should we start out with the negatives or the positives (they all laugh). Our first night in hollywood at the hotel cafe we loaded our gear into the cafe and came back outside and the Uhaul trailer was gone. Trailer and car got towed and impounded.
Nico: Ya it was like our whole tour budget was gone in one night, it just stunk.
Mikey: We hit the record heat wave.
Adam: Just being able to surf everyday and play shows was pretty, pretty damn nice.
Mikey: That was the best part.
Adam: And then our final show at Melody lounge, there were a lot of friends and a lot of other musicians that were out, so there was a really nice comrodery. Just support and good times and that was a rad way to finish Los Angeles.
Eva: Nice and you guys stayed on a cliff side somewhere on your last day?
Nico: We slept in a bush.
Eva: What? You slept in a bush?
Nico: We slept in a bush. For 45 minutes one time, me and Zerbe (Adam).
Adam: Like a bush ditch or a bush bunker, like a Point Dume Bush Bunker.
Nico: Like a real bush slot.
Adam: Ya we thought we were going to do a dawn patrol after playing the Melody Lounge, so we just charged up to Point Dume and then time it with the swell and dawn patrol and then it just wasn't really happening so ya know we ended up lying in a bush for like 45 minutes and then the sun started to come up and we got up and just ugh headed north to Big Sur.
Nico: We got woken up by a Virgo mens club, a Japanese Virgo mens surfing enthusiasts.
Eva: No way.
Nico: It was Japanese virgo men surfing together.
Mikey: It was flat.
Adam: Full virgo rising.
Eva: Right on.
Mikey: The weirdest thing, to wake up to, I woke up in the car.
Eva: If you could play anywhere in the world where would you play?
Nico: Byron Bay would be a sweet spot.
Mikey: I think a lot of people would dig our music over there. I think we would just have a memorable time.
Adam: And or Europe, would be fun to play the UK for sure, that's a goal, hopefully next fall 2015 we'll be playing over in there.
Eva: Hell yeah.
Eva: Individually what inspires you to make music and to write music and why do you do it?
Mikey: It's just a way to express yourself, it's like surfing, it's like a form of meditation, I don't know it's just really fun and it's a good way to express yourself and being able to collaborate with other people and write songs it's like a feeling that just keeps you wanting to do it more and more.
Adam: Well said.
Nico: I think it's like when you got a young child that discovers like he can make marble runs or f*cking build little toy cars you know, it's just like a child like fascination with structures of sound and words, you can kind of screw around and construct different things that give off different feelings that are intangible but very powerful and it's just kind of like really, it is kind of like surfing your just riding some other force of music you know and expressing yourself in a way that you can ride it, the predominant flow that comes through you mysteriously.
Adam: And for me, the feeling that music gives you, but then when I first got a guitar back when I was like 13, I just started playing and learning cords and then you just realize that you got a voice, that you can sing, things just kind of organically start flowing out of ya and then they can turn into songs, it just feels good. In the long run you're just giving that music back to people and it's just like this flowing energy amongst humans.
Adam: And it just feels good for everybody. It's a form of community and coming together, when you add the band element and the people that you connect with and vibe with and like to be around, friends you know when you play music with friends it just feels really good and it's just a super good time, so then you can bring that cohesion to other people, circles of people, just mingle, yea hahaha.
Will: I have a brother in law who inspired me when I was 10 or 11 he had this drum set and I would sit and bang on it for a while and kind of get really into it and started playing more and more and like all they said, it's just a good way to express yourself and it's super fun. Like this is my first band I've really played in and its like working with all three rad dudes and we're all good buddies, I don't know, cool bouncing ideas off each other.
Eva: I feel like music and theater are really similar in the fact that, and really in any performance, the fact that the essence of the performance lives on even after you finish playing, especially in improvisation, how everything lines up and often ends together or in alignment with one another, do you think that that form of essence is able to Iive on in recorded music? Does that make sense, anything of what I just said?
Adam: Recorded music helps the idea and its the action of the idea that gives it life to live on forever once it's recorded so you're putting it out there to find people. That's an essence of sorts I guess
Nico: It's kind of like taking a photograph and you can approach it either like you're posing for the photograph deliberately or you can approach it like capturing am what's that word, not lucid, but candid, candid moment, you know like a candid photograph, which is what I kind of think we've been doing a little bit more so far as trying to have a good time while recording, trying to have a real moment just setting up the atmosphere in the approach to recording, not in a studio where you're paying am with time limits approach in it, like a good time and just wait until the right natural moment occurs and you happen to get a snap shot of it kind of thing.
Eva: Yeah I know what you're saying. I can relate so much to that.
Nico: But I know what you're saying, I think you can approach it either way you can approach it. I think if it's done right it does live on if it's done wrong it's often times not as good as the live show.
Eva: What music are you guys inspired by? Do any specific tunes really inspire your sound?
Adam: For me the heart of 70's roots reggae is a deep deep feeling that I try to base my own feeling off of when I'm playing, because I feel like from Africa to Jamaica to New Orleans, there's such a deep element in the music, all of us are definitely inspired by, because it's really unattainable for us, but you can strive to deliver as much a feeling as you can.
Mikey: Bo Diddley.
Adam: Jim Sullivan who was a Los Angeles song writer, late 60's when he disappeared.
Will: Collectively that's one of our favorite albums.
Mikey: Topanga Canyon Dweller.
Eva: If you could play with another band, anyone, who would that be?
Adam: I mean I think it'd be fun to play with um... Link Wray, I think Link was from Tennessee.
Mikey: Is he alive?
Adam: No he's moved on.
Nico: I think it'd be cool to tour with like a...
Adam: Mariee Sioux.
Nico: Yea Mariee Sioux's a good buddy we've been talking about touring with.
Adam: She's from Nevada City.
Eva: Music feeds your soul that's why you do it right?
Adam: Yea totally it's just following what's inside of you, you know, listening to yourself so it's a part of you reflecting off your own self
Nico: It's a way of life
Eva: What do you say to people so enclosed in their own boxes and view points, who shut people down, who are inspiring innovative artists, what... have you come across people like that?
Nico: Like square people is that what you're talking about?
Eva: Like haters.
Eva: What do you say or what do you do?
Nico: You give em a scalp massage.
Adam: Yea we had a woman up in Sabastical that was interesting, that was yellin at us like we couldn't play our music in Sabastical, she was trying to yell us off the stage it was very odd.
Nico: She was saying it was NorCal and we couldn't play this music here.
Adam: But that was last year, it didn't happen this year.
Eva: That's crazy.
Nico: So fucking.
Adam: So I gave her, this 62year old Jewish woman a scalp massage after the show just to mellow her out and that's how I got the nickname two hands.
Eva: Oh mann that was a good one.
Will: She was a Sky Country fan after that
Eva: Is there anything you want people in the world to know?
Mikey: Do what you want
Adam: Ya follow yourself, like listen to yourself, don't be controlled by ugh large manipulative groups of people
Nico: Or small manipulative groups of people
Adam: Taking it all back to the Earth, Mike I feel like his roots come from the form of body hair and a good smile and positive vibes
Eva: Killer on a long board, oh yea
Eva: So you have EP's that just came out?
Adam: Yea two EP's
Eva: Mikey you were saying something about music as meditation do you practice meditation or stillness?
Mikey: I um, surfing and playing music, that's what calms me and thats my meditation for sure.
Eva: Do you all practice meditation or no?
Adam: I kind of meditate in a physical nature, like by hiking, biking or surfing something to stimulate, to gain that clarity of thoughts, I don't know, ideas, kinda flow in that instance for me.
Adam: Free style a lot of music when pushing myself.
Nico: He meditates by freestyle wrapping is what he's trying to tell you.
Eva: Hahaha awesome awesome, me too every now and then ya know.
Adam: Shower mediation.
Nico: Salt scrub meditation.
Eva: And you guys are playing in Fernwood?
Mikey: No transcendental.
Nico: I have meditated before.
Adam: And I've done Yoga a couple times.
Mikey: Yea I did Yoga once.
Will: My mom's a Yoga teacher.
Will: My sister and my Mom are Yoga teachers, they teach Yoga.
Eva: Cool I like Yoga. And you guys are playing at Fernwood on Halloween?
Nico: It's an all night affair and we're gonna have our buddy DJing some spooky vinyl too
Eva: Fun. Right on. Well thank you guys again
Nico: Thank you Eva
Eva: So nice talking to you!
Check ya later
Adam: Thanks again