Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Interview with James Pratt from Countless Skies

Recently James Pratt from the band Countless Skies took the time to answer some questions I had for him about the group's recent single "Solace." Also, he talks about their appearance at the Bloodstock Festival and what they plan to do moving forward. Check it out...

Q: Hey there! Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. I would like to begin by asking about the recording process of, “Solace,” your brand new single. How long did the writing and recording process take? Who was the main songwriter, or was the entire band involved in the writing process?

A: We wrote the song as part of the writing process for our album. For this one in particular, I took a couple of riffs that Ross had been working on and expanded them into a full song, but it wasn’t until we got into the studio that the song took its final form. In particular, the acoustic interlude that Phil played and his vocal parts weren’t written until we came to record them. The whole experience was great fun, we travelled down to HVR Studios in Ipswich and spent the day with Danny B (of Criminal/Pentagram Chile).

Q: Now that the single has been out for a bit, what responses have you been getting from your fans? Most importantly, give us your thoughts on the single and the overall experience of having a recording available to people across the globe?

A: The feedback has been great, people are really liking the song. One of the most common criticisms of our EP was the sound quality, because we recorded it by ourselves, so the top priority this time round was to get everything recorded professionally.


Q: I think readers might be interested in a little background information, so I was wondering if you could tell me when Countless Skies formed? Also, is “Solace” the first official recording that the band has released? 

A: Ross and I have been mates for years, and started jamming together when we were about thirteen. In 2009 we wrote an EP under the name Hatespire, and Phil agreed to record us and provide clean vocals for one of the tracks. Phil joined us permanently on bass, and Nathan found an advert we’d posted online looking for a drummer. We played a few gigs but then all got too busy, so left it for a few years. After a while we got the urge to carry on, so Ross and I started writing music for what would become our self-titled EP under the new name Countless Skies. We put that out at the end of last year, and Solace will be included on our first full-length.

Q: Being a fan of progressive rock along with heavy metal, I really enjoyed hearing how you guys took the songs into a variety of directions. There was definitely a progressive rock element in the song with that solid metal side too. Could you name some of your musical influences that have shaped your own possible musical identity? 

A: We’re huge fans of Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum, and I think that shows. Also, our name is taken from a track by Be’lakor. That said, we all listen to a variety of different genres so we’re always open to take tracks in different directions. Personally, I’m a huge Genesis fan, so it wouldn’t take me long to get bored if all of our songs just stuck to a predicable structure.


Q: After looking at your Facebook page, I noticed Countless Skies was booked to play Bloodstock Festival. That must have been extremely exciting and I was wondering if you might share that experience? How did you guys react when first being told you would be playing Bloodstock? Any bands playing the festival that you were excited to see?

A: We got to play Bloodstock by winning our local Metal 2 The Masses competition, hosted at The Castle in Luton. We were so surprised, the bands we played with throughout the competition were incredible. I had no idea there was so much great talent in the area. We’ve all been to Bloodstock just as fans (for Ross, this was his tenth time!), so playing it this year is a dream come true. Unfortunately, because of when we played, we had to miss some great acts like Ne Obliviscaris, Enslaved and Ihsahn. We did catch Opeth though. There were some awesome bands in the Sophie and New Blood tents this year - King Leviathan, Ageless Oblivion and Fleshgod Apocalypse, to name a few.


Q:With this question I want to possibly get a glimpse into what the future holds for Countless Skies. Are you working on a full-length album or maybe an EP? 

A:Yeah, we’re working on a full-length right now, and it’s coming together great. We’ll be going back to HVR Studios later in the year to record it, so you can expect it to be out in the first few months of 2016. In the meantime, we’ve got a few gigs lined up to keep us busy. The one I’m most looking forward to is with Stone Circle at B2 in Norwich. 

Q: Lastly, explain why you think fans of heavy metal should check out Countless Skies? What separates you from the other bands? 

A: That’s a tough one! If you like the bands mentioned above, or you just prefer your death metal more melody-driven, check us out. I guess I’d recommend everyone go to our Bandcamp page and download Solace, then you’ll know for sure if you like us.

Countless Skies Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CountlessSkies/info?tab=page_info

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