Multi-talented and hotly-tipped BIMM Class of 2021 graduates Sky Atlas will release their debut EP ‘Stone’ this Friday 5th November, supported by a live EP launch show at The Grand Social, Dublin on Thursday, 11th November.
The four-piece has been relishing the return of live music and has already played a sold-out joint headline show with Valium Funk in Belfast. This Thursday 4th November, Sky Atlas will support Vernon Jane in Whelan’s Main Room in Dublin.
Sky Atlas is made up of Louis Younge, a wildly versatile multi-instrumentalist as adept with a violin as he is with a wind organ, Deftones-loving drummer Ryan McClelland – an “absolute monster behind the kit who can play anything”, bassist Danilo Ward; a “mystery man” who grew up in a French commune, and who, in his own words, grew tired of playing in the church band all his life, moved to Ireland and wound up pursuing music full-time in BIMM Dublin alongside his future bandmates, and lead vocalist and guitarist Lughaidh Armstrong-Mayock, who cut his performing teeth as a teenager in a Leitrim rock school. Heading up an act as musically diverse as Sky Atlas is in Armstrong-Mayock’s blood, given his mother Dee Armstrong’s storied career as a member of revered Irish folk group Kíla. Having developed his voice through singing cover songs as a teenager, Armstrong-Mayock is beginning to embrace his roots. A recent stint in David Keenan’s band while touring in support of the Dundalk troubadour’s debut album ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Bravery’ helped unlock new aspects of his songwriting personality.
The band says: “We can’t wait to get this EP out into the world! It feels like our first step forwards as a group and it’s great to finally capture the songs on record. Most of the tracks haven’t been played live yet, so the opportunity to showcase this music in a venue like the Grand Social is very exciting for us. That feeling you get from a good crowd is hard to beat and we really want to give people as much energy as we can on November 11th.”
The title track of the EP, ‘Stone’, is, at its core, a love song with Armstrong-Mayock’s sensitive vocals building to a beautifully-layered crescendo with all four band members’ voices contributing to the song’s cinematic feel. It has received airplay nationwide from the likes of RTÉ 2fm, Radio Nova 100, KCLR, Beat 102 103 and Dublin’s 98fm. Hot Press commented that the “vivid track showcases the band’s diverse influences, and highlights a stunning orchestral instrumentation.”
The band’s next single ‘Threads’ further cements the extraordinary musicality of the band. This is a classic four piece set up but is in no way typical, with additional strings (violin from Louis Younge and cello from Laura McCabe) augmenting the lush soundscapes that Sky Atlas create. Armstrong-Mayock says of the song, “‘Threads’ is definitely one of the heavier tracks on the EP and one of my favourites to play live. We were kind of thinking Jack White meets Radiohead in terms of the shredding violin parts and large orchestral sections towards the end.”
On Friday 5th November, alongside the release of the EP, Sky Atlas will release their next single ‘Dream On’ – an emotionally-driven ballad with a 90s rock tinge reminiscent of songs like Jeff Buckley’s ‘Lover, You Should’ve Come Over’ that make use all of the instruments available to them to maximise the emotional impact and sheer cinematic scale of the song.
As for the EP itself, the band’s multi-instrumentalist Louis Younge is confident that the material represents a compelling prologue for those looking to find the frequency. “It’s a true reflection of us, musically, as a unit,” he says. “And it’s music that we really like playing and listening to. First and foremost – I know it sounds kind of stupid, but we want people to enjoy it. They’re not little nuggets of energy, it’s not a pop album, it’s a little bit deeper than that. I would love to get into bed and close my eyes and stick on my nice headphones and just swim in sound for about 25 minutes. That’s what I want this to mean to people.”
That taste for adventure, that shrinking and expansion of space, is present throughout the ever-evolving Sky Atlas – music to accompany the swirl of the stars above.