“….Student Life: How’s the tour going? I know you’ve been touring with Skylar Grey for a few weeks now.
Atlas Genius: She’s pretty awesome. This is very different than what we do. Normally, you tour with bands that sound kind of like you, but she’s very different….”
As an interview piece for Student Life (Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri), Alberto De La Rosa interviewed both Ms. Grey as well as Atlas Genius‘ Keith and Michael Jeffery regarding their current Spring Tour.
Check out a couple of selections from both interviews below, and click the Student Life logo to read both interviews in their entirety and find out which songs off her new album are currently Ms. Grey’s favourites!
Skylar Grey x Atlas Genius Interviews w/ Alberto De La Rosa | Student Life ::
“….I spoke with each Skylar Grey and Atlas Genius’ Keith and Michael Jeffery in the comfort of their tour buses as they got ready for their show at the Firebird in Midtown St. Louis. Each act reflected on its personal journeys and shared its musical influences.
….Student Life: Has the writing process for your upcoming album been the same as [the one for] “Moving Mountains”? Will the album have the same feel as the song?
Skylar Grey: Actually, no. “Moving Mountains” is what I like to call the “ear-break” of the album, so you get a break from drums. Most of the album is drums. Ironically, “Moving Mountains” had drums originally, but I thought it took away, so I pulled the drums off last second for the mix. Mike Elizondo and Mark Batson are two of the producers of this album, and they are known for a lot of their hip-hop producing, and they produced “Moving Mountains,” too. So, it’s kind of like a mix of genres that I love in the album.
Student Life: You cross over between genres in many of your songs.
Skylar Grey: I came from a really folk background. When I was growing up, I played folk music with my mom. But then, in the 90s, I got really into grunge. Then, a little bit later, I got into hip-hop. It’s this weird mixture of things. And I also grew up in a very eclectic musical family. And then I worked with people like Kaskade [and] David Guetta in the dance world. I pretty much worked in every genre, so it’s really hard for me to land on one sound. But this album, aside from “Moving Mountains,” the rest of the album is really cohesive and trying to find a sound that is unique to me and tries to combine all those elements in a way that’s kind of its own thing.
Student Life: Your first album, “Don’t Look Down” dealt with some dark themes.
Skylar Grey: You think so?
Student Life: Yeah, I feel like some of the songs deal with heavy subjects.
Skylar Grey: Yeah, there’s definitely some darker songs like “Final Warning.” So, yeah—they’re dark. But this new album, I feel, is actually darker. Not in like an “emo” dark way. It’s more positive—lyrically, it’s more positive but sonically, it’s darker.
Student Life: You’ve worked with a lot of high-profile artists but have managed to stay away from the spotlight through it all. Is that something you do intentionally?
Skylar Grey: It’s funny that a lot of people ask me that question. I don’t try to stay away from it but I don’t reach for it, either. I just do my thing and work on my music and whatever happens, happens. For some people, that means getting followed by paparazzi and for some people, that means having a private life.
….Student Life: What’s your favorite song to perform live?
Skylar Grey: I love performing “Straight Shooter.” It’s always my favorite to sing.
Student Life: You have mentioned in other outlets that Bon Iver is one of your favorite artists. How has his music influenced your own?
Skylar Grey: Yeah, what I’ve been trying to do is come up with a sound that is unique to me. Like I said, that uses a lot of the genres that I’ve worked in. Bon Iver, for example, does this beautiful vocal layering with harmonies. And also, the harmonic structure of some of his chords that he brings into the vocals is really unique. That type of stuff really influenced me. On the other hand, I’ve worked with a lot of hip-hop music. One of my favorite artists right now is Kendrick Lamar, and so I’m trying to find a sound that’s almost like Bon Iver and Kendrick Lamar—but the female version. So you get these beautiful layered vocals but then hip-hop beats underneath it. That’s where my heart is.
Student Life: You also learned how to produce your own music. Are you doing that for your upcoming album as well?
Skylar Grey: Yeah, I always do my own vocals, pretty much. Not always, but a lot of times. I was kind of forced to learn how to produce my own music because, for a while, I couldn’t afford studio time. So, I had a little studio set up and was able to do it myself. I wrote “Love The Way You Lie” in my s—ty studio, and that was a huge hit, so I really think it’s not what you have but what you do with it. You can have a s—ty camera but if you have a good eye and find the best shot—you know what I mean? Or you can be the dude that buys the most expensive gear but still has s—ty photos….”
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