Drammen, Norway’s Skybrudd are a determined band. Their dream is to play music and music they will play but they also understand the band meetings and logistics needed for being in a band. Last year I got to chat with Joachim Isaksen from the band to chat about his musical upbringing, the band’s origins, the troubles of being in a band and their music.
Jack: Good morning, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Joachim Isaksen (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar): Good morning! My pleasure! I’m doing quite good thanks!
Jack: What was the first instrument you picked up?
Joe: I think that must have been my grandma’s piano. However, the first instrument I bought myself was a guitar, and that’s what I focused on getting better at.
Jack: What bands got you into music?
Joe: Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, and Pink Floyd.
Jack: How did you discover metal music?
Joe: My father played me a lot of metal music (aforementioned artists) when I was younger, and as I like to say about metal; It is like drugs. When you’ve started listening to metal you just wanna go harder and heavier. So I started listening to Black Sabbath, went over to Metallica, and ended up with Cannibal Corpse.
Jack: What was the first album you got?
Joe: I think it was Metallica’s Ride The Lightning. What a great album…
Jack: How did Skybrudd form?
Joe: Well, it started up as just another band from Secondary School in 2009 under a different name. We started out playing cover songs before we begun writing our own material. People seemed to enjoy it, and over the years we made more and more stuff, got in contact with professionals who gave us some feedback, and then changed our name to Skybrudd. When we changed the name we wanted to be something else, be a real band, and develop our very own sound. Skybrudd consists of me on vocals and rhythm guitar, Fredrik on lead guitar, René on bass, and Sander on the drums.
Jack: What does the name Skybrudd mean?
Joe: Skybrudd is a weather phenomenon. It is a Norwegian word, and could be translated as cloud burst or heavy rain.
Jack: Was the sound you play now what you had in mind when you joined forces?
Joe: No, not at all. We’ve always been pushed into different directions, and trying out different sounds and genres. This one time we made an American Death Metal song, because we sort of wanted the Lamb of God sound. Let’s say it like this; that song is not gonna be on the album, [Laughs]! Anyway, it seems like whatever we make, it just gets this “Skybrudd-sound”, and it is so interesting working with the other guys in the band, because you’ll might have an idea of how that riff you just made is going to sound, and you show it the other guys, jam on it, and it just goes the complete opposite way, which often is positive, don’t get me wrong!
Jack: There seems to be a strong Opeth meets tech metal sound in your music. Would you say this is accurate? What bands influence your sound?
Joe: You’re actually not the first one to say that, so I guess I would say it is accurate! Opeth is a big influence, well for me and the bassist at least! Other bands that influence our sound must be Mastodon and Satyricon, maybe with a touch of Abbath and Gojira as well.
Jack: What are the themes of your music?
Joe: The lyrics are slightly political, but with a psychological direction to the problem. The lyrics and music complement each other nicely in the same way the mind works. Even though you’re angry, mad, or feeling down you’ll look toward the positive, and vice versa. However, the current state of mind changes the other feeling as if you are “looking at it from afar” without actually having those emotions. And I would say that’s how our music changes around the theme as well, if that makes sense? [Laughs]
Jack: Are you happy with the respond to your Shield EP?
Joe: In fact I am! However, it’s not really the sound we want. We think it might be slightly over-mixed. We want a bit more organic sound. So the soundscape is going to change slightly on the album, but for the better!
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Joe: Intense! It was a lot to be done in three days, but we got through it, and learned a lot! Our sound engineer was unsure about us recording all three songs due to the given time. So that gave us one day with drums, next day with two guitars and bass, and the last day with vocals.
Jack: How did your recent show with Keep of Kalessin and SAHG go?
Joe: It went really good actually! Got a lot of great feedback and new supporters. For that show we hired a percussionist to play timpani, gong and a gran cassa. The festival is called Massive Destruction, and we thought to ourselves; Yeah, let’s make it fucking massive! Because of the great response to the percussion we have decided to use it as a part of our soundscape.
Jack: Did playing with established acts make you nervous at all?
Joe: To a certain degree, yes. As we were the “youngest” band there, we wouldn’t be known as the weakest link of that festival. But when we were sitting backstage having a laugh with Tombstones, understanding that we’re all human, and all we can do is just to walk on the stage and give the best performance we ever had! The second before we entered the stage, I was literally shaking, but as soon as we started playing every drop of it disappeared. It’s like entering a sort of trance, and we did play the best show of our career so far.
Jack: With members based in the UK and Norway is it hard to find time for the band?
Joe: Yes, and no. Is it difficult for me to join rehearsals? Yes. But being in a band is much more than just rehearsals, and occasionally gigs. So when we are apart, we focus on writing new material, as well as do the “paperwork”, make plans and arrangements, etc. Being in a band you want to succeed is a full-time job with extremely bad pay (when you first start out, at least). [Laughs]
Jack: When can we see a follow up release?
Joe: Hopefully in 2017!
Jack: What are your plans for 2017?
Joe: Gigs, gigs, and more gigs! We want to play as much as possible on different venues, different places. We’re also gonna try and head into the studio, record our debut album, and mix/master, etc. etc., and hopefully release it as well!
Jack: Finally, what is the best Opeth album?
Joe: Oh, that’s a tough one! Hmm.. Deliverance is a great fucking album, but I would probably say Watershed! Heir Apparent and Hessian Peel, two absolutely fantastic tracks!
Jack: Thanks for your time mate.
Joe: Thank you!