How would you describe your music?
Paul – so how to describe the band well, it’s a fusion of Americana and Rock without being too heavily influenced by any genre or artist. Although people have likened us to Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Crowded House and The Pretenders.
Tell us about how the history of the band?
The band was initially formed via Janie and Paul Britton who met in 2001 after Paul advertised online for a singer ( which back then was extremely rare) , and they started going out, they later married Dec 5th, 2003. Janie and Paul, came up with the name of the band in 2014 whilst sat in a cottage on a croft in a place called Hungladder on the Isle of Skye.
We (Janie and Paul) go up there to write our songs and we draw inspiration from the beauty of Skye’s views, environment, way of life and being there really made us think about how we wanted to move forward musically. So, we decided that we’d use the Skye as in Isle of Skye and the Ladder from Hungladder and then meshed them both together to form our bands name Skyeladder.
Janie sings lead vocals, plays keys , percussion and guitar and Paul plays rhythm guitar , keys and backing vocals. Both Paul and Janie are the song writers for the band.
Paul – Initially we played our songs acoustically, attending open mics to hone our craft and when we felt ready we decided to add a drummer, Lead Guitarist and Bass player to further expand the sound that you hear now.
Janie and Paul at the start of 2016 added Nathan (Drummer), Adam (Bass player) and Ewan (Lead Guitarist) to the band and more recently Bill who replaced Ewan as Lead Guitarist.
Skyeladder have performed at some memorable places including Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. The British musical Fireworks championships in front of 10,000 people. Darwen’s Library Theatre Auditorium stage at Darwen Live and Manchester’s O2 and also the Apollo Theatre. They have also appeared numerous times at Carfest North, organised by Chris Evans (Radio 2) the event sold 20,000 tickets, raising money for BBC Children in Need. Janie and Paul have also made numerous radio and TV appearances.
Janie – Unfortunately, Paul developed bowel cancer and had an operation in Sept 2016 meaning that we were off the gigging circuit for a while. Luckily, he recovered fully (thank goodness).
But the following year November 2017 we were struck by another blow in that our dear Friend and Lead Guitarist Ewan died in a very short period of time from bile duct cancer.
We suffered yet another blow in January 2018 in that Paul (Janies hubby and the rhythm guitarist and joint songwriter in the band was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, cancer again) But being the strong chap that he is Paul is determined to push through and continue with the music even whilst going through intense chemo.“ “ The band are great in that they are so supportive and are rallying around like real troopers x”
Paul – We out of respect to Ewan only started to look for another Lead Guitarist recently and have only just added a nice chap to the band lineup called Bill who will be making his full rock debut at Darwen Live.
Janie – Songwriter/Lead Singer/Rhythm Guitarist/Keyboard/ Percussion
Bill – Lead Guitar
Adam – Bass
Nathan – Drums
Paul – Songwriter/Backing Vocals/Rhythm Guitarist/Keys
What are you influences/ musical heroes?
Janie – I love Damien Rice he’s got such a beautiful calming edge to his voice that makes you drift away his songs are just so gorgeous. I’d also love to sing with Tom Jones, he’s a feisty one with a fantastic voice. I just love KT Tunstall she’s got amazing songs and she’s so sweet and really knows how to tell a story.
Paul – I guess we’re all influenced to a degree by what we hear as we grow up, although neither of my parents were musical. My mum had the strangest reaction to music that I’ve ever known, if a song of piece of music was playing that she really liked, she had to switch it off, she said that it affected her so much. I’ve never had that feeling but I do wonder that maybe that’s where my love of music ultimately stems from. So, yeah influences, for example on the radio, tended to be UK rock, (led zep) , US country, (Jim Reeves) , that kind of thing. My musical heroes? They’d have to be the great song writers, not the ones who claim to co-write just cos they put an “a” in a song. But the truly great writers, Neil Diamond, Carol King, Neil Sedaka, Randy Newman, through to more recent blues people like Chris Rea, great story tellers, troubadours like Chris De Burgh, Damien Rice. Neil Finn. Sure, they may not be “on the edge” but they write and have written some of the greatest songs in history. I’d like to dream that one day, if someone else is asked a similar question, I’ll be included on their list.
What inspires you?
Janie – For me its what’s around me, life, things that happen on a day to day basis, how I feel personally, things that effect me that make me happy and sad.
Paul – For me its also life, but also wanting to make people understand , its about wanting music to be listened to and not just heard
Do you write on the road? or do you prefer to write in the studio?
Janie – I remember writing an interview years ago on different song writers before I got in to song writing and people where saying all sorts around where they wrote. – link to the interview I find the best place for me funnily enough is when I’m in the shower, I love to sing and all my best tunes and lyrics come out of having a shower. I guess being clean inspires me lol.
Paul – I prefer to write whenever I feel a song coming on. As long as I have my travel guitar with me, I’ll write anywhere
What is your favourite song to perform live?
Janie – I love singing Look into my eyes its such a happy soulful song and it really makes me feel good. Its one of those feel-good songs that seem to inject a bit of shine and happiness into the crowd as well.
Paul – I have 2.Name of the game because it’s our opening number and means that the show is underway, plus it’s a got a great driving best. The other is Til you spoke to. Me, I love the guitar riff, the funkiness of the track, the lyrics – staying forever, yeah, those two for me, are very special.
Adam – Probably Til You Spoke to ME, this is the song we usually end the sets with as it’s usually the one with the most energy.
What would be your dream tour to be a part of?
Paul – Our own world tour, taking in festivals of different sizes in different countries and stadiums throughout the world.
Janie – I agree with Paul and Adam, our own world tour would be amazing, but I’d also love to support Elton John because I love his piano playing and maybe sing one of his songs as well. Or somebody like Garth Brooks amazing performer.
Adam – My favourite band is Modest Mouse , if we’re talking being a supporting band, for sure I’d pick them. That band’s got a lot of meaning for me. Otherwise of course I’d love to have a globetrotting tour of our own someday!
What are your current thoughts on the music industry?
Paul – Back in the 60s/70s/80s record labels were in charge but they were run by music people, people who loved their music, lived for it and signed artists based on talent. As we moved through the 80s into the 90s the music people where moved on and replaced by the corporate bigwigs who only saw the bottom line. Music was no longer the thing that mattered to a label, their first question used to be are you good? . It then changed to can you make us a profit? But still the record labels were in charge.
Then we moved into the bright new dawn of the internet – it was a new day for music and musicians, the balance of power was changing. Suddenly the musicians were gaining the power. We were told that musicians had never had it so good and suddenly we didn’t need a studio to record an album. We didn’t need a load of fancy equipment, we just needed a pc.
As things moved forward a few years we didn’t even need a pc, a laptop, hell, even a phone will do the job these days. The labels were no longer in power, in fact they weren’t needed at all, but that’s where the problems started. In the early days it was the label that had the quality control, these days it’s the musicians themselves who have the quality control and that basically means that there is none and that’s a problem. If only there was a middle ground, which I suppose there was at one point but it passed through very quickly.
The trouble with musicians having their own quality control is that most are good musicians /singers/songwriters but not record execs. The problem these days is that there is too much music available and far too much of it is just not that good so you have to fight your way through it to get to the really good stuff. So if you’re an OK writer, singer, musician, but a great marketer, you can get your music noticed whereas a great writer, singer, musician who isn’t that good at selling themselves because they’ve spent their lives becoming great musicians, they get lost. They can’t be heard, despite our ears being assaulted everywhere we go.
So yes, apart from the record label using puppets and models who think they can sing because they’re auto tuned. The main problem we have today is too much music with no quality control. Next question
What is the funniest/weirdest experience you have had on tour?
Paul – I guess, though it’s not really funny, the most surreal experience would be being evacuated from the Darwen Library Theater. No, not for taking too loudly, it was actually due to a suspicious package being left in a weird place. The who place was cleared and we had to hang around the street corner waiting or the police to give the all clear. We overheard a group of friends describing us as folk, so when we saw them in the audience we gave it a little extra push, made the songs just a tad heavier and their faces where a picture.
Adam – Tough one. I think the most memorable for me was when our drummer went AWOL before a gig, so we plucked a drummer out of the audience to play with us – who ended up becoming a permanent part of the band. Otherwise it was hearing a loud crash on the stage and seeing the Lead guitarist’s amp had toppled over, I couldn’t stop laughing.
What are your future plans?
Janie – Our aim is to play as many shows/festivals as we can as we love to gig. We’d also love to get a song on Radio 2, BBC Introducing and Six Music and get our songs published and heard globally.
Paul – we’ve recently engaged a PR company to help us to raise the profile of the band, which we hope will make our music more accessible. Another one of Janie and Pauls specific dreams is to head over to Nashville to play. Personally, my future plans are to get better, get this myeloma into remission for as long as possible. That will allow me to concentrate on the future plans for Skyeladder, which include making sure we continue to grow, write, record and evolve.
We do have an EP coming out later in the year called “Life is for Living” and the first single “What in the World” will be out in August 2018.
However you can still buy our first album “Yeah Yeah Yeah” in our online store.
You can also listen to our music via various methods and contact us on our Social Media below.
Band Publicity Page – https://soundcloud.com/skyeladder-publicity-page
Crowd Funding Campaign – https://rocketfuelhq.com/skyeladder
We also currently have a mini tour touring around some of the festivals this May – August in order to promote our new EP and Single. We’ve called it the “Life is for Living Tour” see dates below.“
Skyeladder “Life is for Living” Tour
19/07/2018 – 7pm – Breaking Bands for Macmillan Cancer Support’ Cunliffe Hall,Chorley
21/07/2018 –Yewstock ( Acoustic Stage) – The Yew Tree ,Cauldon
29/07/2018 – Time TBC – St Annes Festival, The Pavillion Ashton Gardens
04/08/2018 – Time TBC – Big Congo Festival Liverpool
25/08/2018 – 2pm – Nedwood Festival Main Stage – Leicester