Anova Skyway- You might think that sounds like a new Boeing prototype, but you’d be wrong. While their guitar riffs have the progressive propulsion of a jet engine, and their vocals soar high above the clouds, they’re no airplane. The prog-ternative quintet from Houston, TX is making quite a name for themselves on the local circuit, and for good reason- they freakin’ rock. The dynamic and highly-addictive vocals of frontman Garret West can shift from seductive and dreamlike to angry and downright scary, all within a few seconds! Guitarists Mike Palacios and Andrew Alvarez cook up some tantalizing guitar riffs together, highlighted by the tight, in-the-pocket rhythm section of Michael Marksberry (drums) and Cory Miles (bass). The entire band seems to play to each other’s strengths, making every song able to stand on its own, a rare quality these days. The concept of their latest record, A Light in the Darkness, fascinates me to no end, so we spoke to the band about their latest offering, their touring plans, and, uh, elderly female stalkers. Yes. You read that right.
Rob Gomez– Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, fellas! We always appreciate your time. How’s life been lately for Anova Skyway?
Anova Skyway– Life has been pretty good lately. We’ve been doing some really fun local shows as of the last few weeks working with our friends in Dead Set Red and just came off of a really good show helping our friends in TWIM celebrate the release of The Great Filter.At the end of this month, we’re doing a small run with dates in Tennessee, Ohio, New York, & then back down to Louisiana.
RG– You guys put out A Light in the Darkness in October of last year, your follow-up to 2015’s A Great and Sudden Change. There is so much orchestration to your new record, very progressive… lots of great guitar fills! Tell me about the writing and recording process for this last record.
AS– Well this record was done 100% different than the first one. We made the decision to recruit a producer and we found a great mentor and friend in Louis Abramson from the band Jolly out of NYC. We spent many hours sending songs to him and having them sent back repackaged and re organized. It was a fun process and he opened our eyes to styles we didn’t even know we could play. A Light in the Darkness is a huge departure from A Great and Sudden Change both in production and planning.
RG– The songs on this record are pretty long, by today’s standards. You definitely take the time to build scenery and background to your songs, and there’s an emotional investment to every song on the part of both the listener and the band. It’s like the old days of putting on a record and dropping out for a while. Were you guys trying to create a more visceral experience for the listener?
AS– I think we’ve always attempted to create that feeling for listeners but never quite got it right. So working with Louis he was able to help make that possible for this record which is one of the main reasons we reached out to him. There was something about The Audio Guide To Happiness Vol. 1 and 2 that did that to us, so we just knew we had to contact him. Thankfully he was into what we were doing and made it happen. BTW if you have never heard those records you really should. We also made the decision to release a concept album using dead loved ones as actual characters in the story. So it was very much an emotional effort. Both painful and therapeutic. If you take the time to dive into the story you will see that it’s a deep and dark journey that is worth taking.
RG– What do you feel you all learned from recording and touring for the first record that helped you shape A Light in the Darkness?
AS– The first album was a mash of different sounds and a lot of chaos. I’m not sure we knew what we wanted. We got reined in by our producer on this one and really discovered a more focused sound.
RG– So where did the name Anova Skyway come from? Definite points for creativity.
AS– Honestly, It’s a nonsense name that rolls off of the tongue. Ha-ha it literally means nothing. Just sounds cool and is unique enough that if you google we will always be the first thing that comes up without us having to pay google adwords. That was our focus when choosing it.
RG– What’s the best crowd you’ve ever played to?
AS– Every crowd is special. I can’t speak for everyone but I think the crowd we played for at our album release for this cycle was tops up to this point. They made us feel really loved.
RG– What are some of your favorite songs that you feel really represent what Anova Skyway is about?
AS– They’re all special but we have favorites. “Flutters”, “Wishful Thinking”, “A Light In The Darkness”, “1991”, “The Martyr”. With A Light in the Darkness, its hard to choose because so many of these songs are personal tributes to our loved ones passed. They all deserve a listen.
RG– What are some of the bands you guys look up to? Have you gotten to play with any?
AS– Locally it is probably Oceans Of Slumber and To Whom It May. We have played many a show with both bands. Outside of home we look up to bands like Karnivool, Leprous, Haken, Faith No More, Dead Letter Circus, and Pain of Salvation (the latter two we have played with).
RG-Who would you guys like to share the stage with one day?
AS-Any of Mike Patton‘s bands and any of the aforementioned bands
RG– What’s on the agenda for the rest of the year?
AS– The east coast run and then we move our focus to the writing process for the new record. We’ve scratched out demos for most of it. Now its time to decide our production team and let the magic happen.
RG– Is there any advice ya’ll could give to all the young aspiring musicians out there?
AS– It is hard and a drain on your finances, but it’s worth it. Don’t quit.
And now, it’s time for our favorite game! WOULD YOU RATHER….?
RG– Bust a string/lost a stick/drop the mic onstage -or- have your pants fall down in the middle of a breakdown?
AS– All the above. Drummer loses a stick that hits the guitar and busts a string which hits the singer in the eye who already has his pants down for some strange reason during the breakdown.
RG– Have a flat tire and chance being late to the gig -or- catch a ride to the show…in a bus from the local nursing home on their way back from a trip to Souper Salad (so much fiber!)?
AS– I’ll take old people for 300, Alex.
RG– Get hit on all night by a fan’s Grandma -or- meet your stalker’s parents (who were forced to come to the show)?
AS– Our stalkers are grandmas man
RG– Go home at the end of the night with one 10 -or- five 2’s?
AS– We are five 2’s. So we do that alot
RG– Hit the horribly wrong note in the middle of a sick solo and seeing everyone cringe -or- forget what song is next and play the intro to the wrong song?
AS– We have done both of these on more than one occasion so can we skip this question?
RG– Have the rest of the band cut your hair any way they wanted for 1 year -or- have them dress you however they wanted for 1 year?
AS– We would be nice to each other. Except Andy….fuck that guy. He’s getting a George Jefferson haircut. Also Mike has a Skrillex hairdo already so don’t think we could top that.