Southern Skies

Southern Skies is a fairly new band that comes from Argentina and pay their tribute to the heavy/power metal music o the 80s and 90s with great success and nice ideas. Grande Rock took the chance to talk with the band’s masterminds and composers, Lobo Heimdall (vocals) and Ezequiel “DraKKo” Scarlato about the new album, the “Part II” that’s already done and many other interesting things about the group’s story so far. Read more below…
Southern Skies pic
Hi guys and welcome to Grande Rock! First of all, congrats on your new album “Remnants of a Repeated Future, Part 1”. It’s already the “Album of the Month” on Grande Rock and it’s among the Best 25 Albums of 2019!
Lobo: Hi Grande Rock, here’s Lobo; thank you very much for making us part of this interview and even more, with the honor of being a band of the month.
Ezequiel: Hello! I am Ezequiel, I play keyboards, thanks for the great review of our second album and I am really glad that Grande Rock liked that much our album to put it on the Best of 2019!
First of all, do give us a brief bio of the band. When and under which circumstances did you decide to form the band?
L: Southern Skies is a metal band, formed in September 2015 and is led by Lobo Heimdall and Ezequiel “DraKKo” Scarlato, who in turn develop the whole concept of Southern Skies, both in music and lyrics. The line-up is completed by two Spanish musicians, of excellent musical quality such as Pedro J, Monge on guitar and Eduardo Martínez on drums. With this line-up the band released their first album on September 9th, 2016, called “Cradled by Oblivion Eyes”, a Heavy/Power Metal focused album with some progressive nuances, although it is not very marked. The album achieved a great impact in the USA and in Europe.
On September 18, 2019, the second album, called “Remnants of a Repeated Future (Part I)”, which marks a significant change for the band, ending its identity, which fuses the influence of Power Metal as well as the of the European Melodic Death metal, maintaining the vocal line of the first album. It should be noted that Ariel Galera is added to the training on guitar for this second release.
The band is based in Argentina, which was a complication at the time of the live performances, considering that two of the musicians live in Spain, to face this complication, Walter “Scorpion” Hernández joins the line-up of the live shows on guitar, Juan Tarconni on bass and Dyash Löwer on drums. The band has currently started their live performances with an excellent impact with the metal scene..
How did you come up with the name Southern Skies – is there any special meaning behind it?
L: We felt that the Southern Skies name is a good way to tell the people from what part of the world we are from. Argentina is one of the southern countries in the world.
Which was the music direction you wanted to take when you first started working on your own material? Now, that you have released your sophomore album, can you tell that you have achieved that?
L: We initially wanted to make an improved version of War Raven, a band that we had about ten years ago, although War Raven developed more in Speed Metal, it had part of the structures that we now use and conserve since then. The experience through time helps you to mature details and improve things, so at that time we decided to make a heavy metal power with the composite material until that moment and that was like fulfilling the goal that was not achieved then with War Raven. It should be noted that when we made and finished our debut album, “Cradled by Oblivion Eyes”, both Ezequiel and I were inactive and musicians, we did not intend to play live.
E: The idea was always do something that we enjoy listening, in that spectrum yes, we have archived that. But always we will work to improve ourselves as composers. We (Lobo and I) are a great team in composing, creating and enjoying music.
You released your debut “Cradled by Oblivion Eyes” independently back in 2016. What are the changes that you’ve gone through those previous 3 years till the release of your new album?
L: “Cradled by Oblivion Eyes” was released in September 2016 independently but months later, we reached an agreement with Alone Records, a label from Greece. It was a good option at that time and access to the material also for all European fans, since we won many fans throughout Europe, which surprised us a lot, as well as all the fans we obtained in the United States, to be honest, I didn’t think we were designed for such a musical world, considering that they consume more current things and very deferential to what we do.
I believe that the changes we had from the first release to “Remnants of a Repeated Future (Part I)” is that we have put aside the most classic part of heavy metal that the first one had and focused on bringing more of our influences from the Melodic Death, preserving the metal power as a common point. We also work more on musical compositions.
E: In the begging was only going to be “Cradled by Oblivion Eyes”, and that’s it. As Lobo say the response for that always was really overwhelming for us, so we go on composing material and ideas, but trying to mix power metal, with heavier things, like melodic death metal progressions and technics.
Which are the music similarities and differences between your new album and your debut?
L: The similarities I think are the same, the voices and the keyboards, considering that with Ezequiel we compose all the material. I think that the album sounds different from the first one because everything is more elaborate, we gave it a little more dynamic and emotional; it is more sensitive and we wanted to sound heavier and heavier.
Did you talk with any music labels to release your new album or you had in mind to do it independently?
L: We have released the album independently at the moment, which is very good to better control things, but we are analyzing the proposal of some labels. At this point of how things come for Southern Skies, we need the proposals to be useful in their highest percentage.
E: Being an indie group is a lot harder, but give us more freedom to blend out music as we like and as we pretend. For now is a good way to go forward. We are reviewing the proposal we have, and if we feel confortable we will take the correct one.
Is the new album available on CD or Vinyl or only digitally? Do you plan to release any physical copies at some point? Are you in search of any label to do it together or what?
L: As I mentioned before, the album is now available in physical format and can be obtained through our page on Facebook or Instagram. We will see what is the best proposal at the record label level in some more time
What does the album title “Remnants of a Repeated Future, Part 1” declare?
L: Basically it declares a concept that speaks about the different systems of dominance that apply to humanity, from the politician to the most common of our daily lives. For me it is interesting to analyze these issues, because you see them in every situation that is presented to you on a daily basis.
E: it is not a conceptual album, but touches some subjects that in one point unite.
Will there be a “Part 2” right? Any details on that or is it too early?
L: “Remnants of a Repeated Future (Part II)” is practically finished, but we are developing some ideas and bringing them a little higher, because we want to continue developing the direction of our music at a better level. My task in the voices and backing vocals will be the same, maybe I will include more guttural voices but until I am in the final stretch, I don’t know what will happen.
E: As he says the album is almost finished, but we have to give some touch, to make it even greater than “Part 1”.I think you will enjoy it even more that the first part!
Give us a hint about each track…
L: “Bending Light”: It is the intro of this album.
“Southern Skies (A Dark End)”: Tell a warlike moment with a probable unhappy ending but heroic! Sometimes adversity leads all to win but one cannot give up or even beaten.
“Borrow Dreams”: Sometimes you are oppressed in a way that you cannot escape and perhaps when you are not emotionally well standing, you suffer abuse until you manage to escape from all that and wake up.
“The Domino Effect”: There are very tragic stories in people’s lives; things that they should live with all their lives, often leading with sadness and frustration, problems that could lead you to take your life or become someone who only causes pain to others because of the pain that you received, it is in each person to be strong and fight to live in the best way.
“Supreme Domination”: People are subjected to various forms of domination, manipulation, indoctrination and although they know about these things, they are tied to them because it is how they were formed. Religions cause that, propagators of ideology cause that, large dominant groups tell us how to live, they tell us how far we can go or what will become of us and I think that “I won’t be your lamb”.
“Nothing”: It’s just a sad song of a love that wasn’t fulfilled…
“Ritual of a Blind Eye”: Here we can see that when pressed, the only way out is the uprising against the system, a system that will not allow you to do so.
“The Last Raven Flies”: When all you are looking for is inner peace you will have to get out of the darkness there where you trapped, the most difficult battles are those that you fight them alone and even if you have no more strength, you will have to make them and move on, although in appearance, everything will be worse.
“Glimpse of the Sun (A Soul’s Eclipse)”: The suffering we can live is immense, it can be really unimaginable, but history shows that nobody can steal your will or your heart; nobody can steal your love and your passion. Many people have died defending their ideals and principles and that is the law of the great martyrs, who are taken to the depths of darkness where they have always found a glimpse of the sun.
Where did the recordings take place and who is responsible for the production, the mixing and the mastering? What has changed in the way you record and what do you think of the final outcome on the whole?
L: We have made the recordings in our War Raven Records studio, here in Argentina. Pedro J. Monge is the one who has done the brilliant task of mixing and mastering the material, in addition to being an excellent and outstanding guitarist, unique for us, he is an excellent producer and in his studio in Spain, Chromaticity Studios. I loved the final result, it really is very good.
E: The work Pedro made in the mixing and mastering is outstanding, working with him always is awesome, he has the same perception as our and make things really easy for us.
Do you have any touring plans at this point? Do you believe that touring can help you become more known faster and in a wider audience?
L: We made our debut show on December 28 and it was excellent, our plans are to reach Europe and we are in some talks to achieve it, it is a matter of time and finding the right promoters
E: Yes, if 2020 goes as we plan, we will doing some nice gigs, outside Argentina, and some really good show here also.
What are your expectations from “Remnants of a Repeated Future, Part 1” and what do you wish to achieve with Southern Skies over the next years?
L: I think we have managed to release a great album, at least one that we like and that we are proud of and as a next goal is to be able to tour in all those places where we have fans and also make ourselves known more, reach new fans throughout the world because the more crowd, it is more easier reach to.
E: As any musician is to be hear everywhere (for us by all metalheads), that people enjoy out work as much as we enjoy doing it,
How would you describe your music style to someone that hasn’t heard of you before?
L: In my opinion, we have been influenced from the first Helloween album (“Walls of Jericho”) with some bits of “The Dark Ride” (in fact we have made that cover) and the logical influence of Death Melodic Metal. My vocal influences have been Tony Moore (Riot) Kai Hansen (Helloween) Claudio Gallo (Heimdall) and Carlos Escudero (Vhaldemar) among others.
E: I think we have a good mix of styles, that will make you always bang your head, lyrics that will make you think, and on top of that some melodic keyboards, that will give another dimension to the song. But is always better to make someone listen what you do, instead of explaining it.
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
L: Lol well… There are many but it should be noted that some promoters want all the benefit for themselves without giving anything in return to the band, perhaps the bad thing about this is that it is not equitable.
E: The promoters (not all of them), but a huge numbers, always what to win and leaving the bands without nothing
What do you think about the “downloading & streaming issue” of our time?
L: It is inevitable; on the one hand it is good that they’re downloading your music because that means that it is good, but on the other hand it is very bad because bands survive due to their merchandise. Don’t be a rat boy, I’d tell those damn (lol)!
E: It is something that I am not against off, but if you like the band you like the things they do, is nice to be support buying merch and physical media.
Which music kind can’t you bear to listen to at all?
L: The cumbia, reggaeton and bossa nova, with the first two I get in a bad mood, I really can’t stand the ideological burden of this type of music, they are detrimental to my values and principles. With the Bossa Nova it is a different story, because if one day the zombies attack us and we are trapped against a wall and that horde of zombie comes towards us, it is recommended that someone put Bossa Nova and I promise you that we will leave alive, because I become Hulk (lol)… is very irritating to me, even if it’s soft
E: Well same as Lobo, those Despacito songs and that shit, put us in our nerves, really really hate it hahaha, goes against everything we like and believe.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words:
L: Rockstar: Axl Rose…
Sci-fi: No one…
Eurovision: Lordi…
Music Realities: Osborne family…
E: Rockstar: Axl Rose…
Sci-fi: The Inception movie…
Eurovision: We don’t care at all about Eurovision here, but 2 years ago I was in Italy and I saw it is a really big thing there…
Music Realities: Supergroup…
Fill in the phrase… “Power Metal wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
L: “The Walls of Jericho” and “The Dark Ride” from Helloween!
E: Helloween with a doubt!
Which are the best 3 Power Metal albums of all time according to you?
L: “Walls of Jericho” (Helloween), “The Dark Ride” (Helloween) and “Lord of the Sky” (Heimdall).
E: “The Dark Ride” (Helloween), “King of the Nordic Twilight” (Luca Turilli) and “Episode” (Stratovarius).
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
L: Mmmm Helloween, I feel identified with the era of Hansen and Deris and with Riot for sure.
E: Well, I don’t listen too much power metal nowadays, probably the one that I would like is At The Gates or any of the Gothenburg waves bands (In Flames, Dark Tranquility).
Which do you consider to be the best male & female vocalist in metal history?
L: In my opinion Tony Moore is the best, there are great female singers but I’m not very adept at that, maybe Federica, the singer of White Skull can be one.
E: Tony Moore without a single hair of doubt, “Thundersteel”, and “The Privilege of Power” are 2 masterpieces thanks to his voice. As for the female singer probably Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy); her power is the vocals is second to none.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
L: I think I would give them the video where Alf, the alien is playing the guitar (lol)! I would surely give them a Dream Theater or Slayer album, but I don’t know as well because I have a certain resentment against them; I am already quite angry that whenever they arrive on earth they constantly attack us, or come to make battles between the aliens and the predators... there is no way to be able to give them anything since they just want to kill and kill, the only one of them that I like is ET, but I think he assault a supermarket store and now he’s serving a 15-year prison sentence in a maximum security pavilion.
E: “God Hate us All” by Slayer, “Vulgar Display of Power” by Pantera, they have to know that we have hate inside and we will not be conquer (hahaha)…
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
L: I missed seeing Riot with Tony Moore live, maybe I would return to that time, the “Thundersteel” or “Privilege of Power”, a magnificent Riot era.
E: Probably to the future to see how much more we growth!
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
L: Mmmm I would have to start watching bands with female singers (lol); maybe some of Arch Enemy’s!
E: Probably Alissa White-Gluz, she is really gorgeous!
Which is the composer/songwriter who influenced metal music the most?
L: I think In Flames are very great ones.
E: In Flames and Iron Maiden.
If you had the opportunity to invite any musician, living or dead, to play on your album whom would you choose and why?
L: Tony Moore, Kai Hansen, Andy Deris, Axl Rose, Tom Araya, Claudio Gallo, Carlos Escudero, Tom Angel Ripper, Dickinson and Michael Sweet.
E: Chuck Schuldiner, Tony Moore, Dimebang Darrel.
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
L: I think I would react like any great contemporary genocidal (lol)!
E: Hahahaha why she would do that, is she looking to die? (hahaha)
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview (guys). Say anything you feel like saying before we close. Take care!
L: Thank you for the interview and your time, for the diffusion and I hope that we will be able to turn around the world soon and if the aliens also want the album to play on their planets, write to our official page please (lol)!
E: Thanks you for the interview, for the review, and for the diffusion of out material, we are really grad you enjoy it as we do. And we hope we can see you in the road soon. Horns up!!!