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Interview with Skyharbor

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Skyharbor the progressive metal band of Delhi based producer Keshav Dhar is one of the most promising acts of emerge from India recently. The band generated a lot of buzz online when it started 3 years under the “Hydrodjent” moniker. Their set at the NH7 Weekender in November last year was one of the highlights of the festival for me. Earlier this week Basick Records, a progressive Metal label from UK released their debut album “Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos” and it kicks ass. Read my review of the album here.

Find out more about the album, getting signed to Basick Records and their future plans in my interview with Keshav below

Hi Keshav, how do you feel now that “Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos” is all set for release after 3 years in the making??

Keshav: Very, very happy and proud! I feel we’ve written a solid debut record and there is nothing that I would do differently in hindsight. The album was finished around the fall last year though, so I’m quite anxious to get cracking on the next one and plan ahead for the future.

“Illusion” features Dan Tompkins (White Moth Black Butterfly, Piano, Ex-Tesseract) on vocals and Chaos features Sunnieth Revankar (Bhayanak Maut, Providence) on vocals. How did you go about writing the songs with 2 different vocalists?

Keshav:Interestingly, the album wasn’t really written with the point of view that there would be different singers for different songs, or for that matter even that all the songs would have vocals. It started out obviously instrumental since it was my solo project back then. I had always wanted to collaborate with Sunneith on some material though, so around early 2011 he recorded vocals for ‘Trayus’ and I was absolutely blown away. We proceeded to extend the collaboration with songs like ‘Aphasia’ and ‘Insurrection’. He’s a phenomenal metal vocalist with an incredible sense of phrasing and groove. Then shortly afterwards I was contacted by Dan on MySpace, and he was interested in guesting on ‘Order 66’ – which I was really excited about since that song sums up the other side of our music quite well, the more delicate and proggy side. I sent him some more material along those lines and he enjoyed it and offered to sing on that as well. One by one we ended up doing 7 songs in total. Even some songs, which were meant to be instrumental from the get go like ‘Dots’, just sounded so, so much better with his vocals that I totally gave him free reign to do whatever he pleased vocally.

Basick Records has released “Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos“. How did you get signed to them?

Keshav:My good friend Aaquib from Rock Street Journal was in contact with Barley and Lisa at Basick, and he put us in touch. I described the plans and long term vision I had for the project with Barley, and we came to an agreement very quickly. The whole deal took literally just a couple of weeks to sort out.

Skyharbor’s only live performance so far has been at the NH7 Weekender in November last year. Tell us a bit about the whole experience.

Keshav: Ahh, where do I begin! What an absolutely fantastic festival and experience. First of all there was Anup coming all the way from the US to rehearse and play with us, then the actual rehearsals which was an incredible feeling as I jammed these songs that had thus far only been sitting on a computer, in a room with a full band! Then the festival itself – awesome organization, awesome crowds, awesome sound, awesome lineups – I can’t say enough, how much fun we had at the NH7 Weekender.

From “Hydrojent” to “Skyharbor” what has been your most memorable moment so far?

Keshav:There are so many – the numerous wonderful collaborations, all the good things being said about us online and in the press, etc – but I would say our getting signed to Basick Records was really very special to me. I hugely respect and look up to them and the bands on their roster, and it’s extremely inspiring to know that they enjoy our music enough to want us in their family.

You were in Another Vertigo Rush for a short period before the band split up. Have you been in any other bands previously?

Keshav:Another Vertigo Rush haven’t disbanded actually – just on an extended hiatus. We’ll start writing again when the time is right, but we all have our individual priorities very clear right now. Besides that, a couple of jam bands in college which was fun but nothing serious.

You are also a much sought after producer, what projects are you currently working on?

Keshav:Heaps of projects at the moment! I’m producing Dan’s solo EP for his project ‘White Moth Black Butterfly’ which is wonderful ambient mood music, Limit Zero’s (Bangalore) full length album – kickass prog metal band! – and an ethnic folk trio called Just Ittefaq. I’m also producing singles and EPs for a lot of other bands, but these are the real ‘bulk’ projects as of now and the most notable.

Now that you have a live line up in place, will there be any more gigs in support of the album release?

Keshav: We still aren’t quite there as a live lineup yet, and we will make announcements about this in due time, but there are definitely plans – keep an eye on our facebook page for updates!

Have you started writing for the second album? What can we expect from the new material?

Keshav:There is some material left over which didn’t make it to the first album because I couldn’t finish up the songs in time, but these ideas are the basis on which I’m going to start writing for the second record. I also have a lot of ideas which I’ve yet to record or demo, and I plan to take a couple of weeks off sometime soon and start writing earnestly. It’s too early still to judge what kind of shape the second album will take, but I can say that the writing process is starting somewhat from where we’ve left off last time.

Final words?

Keshav: Thanks for having me on here, and a ton of thanks to you and all our wonderful fans for all their support and patience! Keep those awesome messages rolling in on our social networks, and look out for some more exciting news from us soon!

Stream/Buy “Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaoshere

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