Known as Dave-from-blue-skies around the Tube, this one man show is an amazing meld of indie, rock and acoustic music. Drums, piano, guitar, bass, vocals – he does it all, and watching him play is just as fun-filled as hearing his music.
The recordings online and on the albums are relatively low-fi. The music can be appreciated more fully with the combined YouTube experience as his personality gives added depth to his music. Here is a perfect example of a musician using YouTube to compliment their music.
Check out this if you want to know what I mean:
The combination of genres gives Blue Skies a broad range of styles from the piano based “Alone Again” to the melodic “Another Day, Another Motorway” to the full band rock style shown in “One Track, One Mind”.
This week I had the pleasure of asking the man behind Blue Skies some questions.
Who are your influences?
There are quite a few obviously - Bright Eyes, The Libertines, The Kinks, M. Ward, Bob Dylan, Eels... One band that has probably had the most impact on my life is Rook and the Ravens. But they're cheating a bit because we were friends before the band existed. But still, being close with them gave me a good inside look at the music industry in the years before I started Blue Skies, and without that experience I may not have had the confidence to put my own music out there.
Why did you decide to create your own label to release your records? Do you plan to sign other bands up?
Mainly because I thought it would be cool to say I owned a record label. At the moment it is mostly for my music, because that takes up the majority of my time and money right now, but I do want to get other people involved in time. That might not mean 'signing' them in the traditional sense - I just want to help friends with their music in any way they need. For example I'm already selling Rook and the Ravens' CD in my shop right now, but they're not signed to the label or anything, they just had a CD and didn't have an online store... I did, so I offered to sell their album for them. I also have a friend called Tom who's one of my favourite musicians, so I've pretty much said that he can use Scratch That Records in any way he wants, whether it's for a full on CD production and release, or as a distribution company or if he just needs to borrow my piano... It doesn't matter to me, I just want to hear his music and if there's anything I can do to help him make it, then I'd be more than happy to.
What’s your favourite song that you’ve written?
Hmm that's tricky! I think it's between The World's Still Ending (but it's cool), Untitled and Blackout. Oh and I like Alone Again too. I'd say those are the ones with the best lyrics and that's what's most important to me... And what I'm the most self concious about. I don't care if people don't like my voice, but the lyrics mean a lot to me.
So, 24th most subscribed musician in the UK of all time, how does that feel?
Those lists are pretty meaningless to be honest. Obviously it's an indication of something good... But being on the most subscribed list in itself is not the accomplishment. I mean there are loads of amazing video makers on youtube that are nowhere near the top 100, and there are plenty on the list that are so bad they're unwatchable. What's great is that people are listening and enjoying the music... I've only recently started selling music, so the fact that people are willing to pay me for doing what I love is an incredible feeling.
Has your affiliation with YouTube helped publicity, if so, how?
Not really. I just see it as a platform. Youtube themselves don't seem to be interested in their users, apart from those who get millions of views and make the site money, which is understandable. And old media either don't care or don't understand... If I tried to get an article written about Blue Skies it would probably help my chances - mentioning the social media side of things, but I've never tried. I'm not really good at or particularly interested in publicity... It's a problem! But YouTube kind of supersedes the need for old fashioned publicity because you can make yourself findable on there. What YouTube has done is given me an audience directly. Of course it would help to have people write about me, but I'm hoping that I can make music that people will want to write about... That people will want to share with their friends. Then my audience can grow all by itself!
What are your plans for the future?
Keep making music, build up the audience, record albums, get a band and play live more, launch a website for STR. Long term, all I really want out of life is to be able to afford to live off selling music. I'm not that bothered about being rich... Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't say no! But it's not important. As long as I can afford food and guitars I'll be happy. If possible I'd like to avoid becoming famous because that sounds rubbish. I don't imagine that'll be too difficult.
You can buy Blue Skies EP “Aim for happiness” on iTunes including my favourtie track “What’s wrong” as well as the albums “The Blackout Sessions” and “Rarities 07-09”.
I'm also sure, we will endure, the world's still ending but it's cool.