- Style and substance: Hydrogen Skyline will be celebrating their new album at the Black Sheep this Saturday.
Most bands spend plenty of time working on crafting their sound — or at least one would hope — but it's always exciting to find a group who goes the extra mile and pays attention to the visual aspects of their presentation, recognizing what a powerful effect artwork and video can have on molding a band's aesthetic.
Local indie electronic-rock band Hydrogen Skyline has plenty of style to go along with their musical substance, which is on full display on their new album, Photovoltaic. The music video for their lead single, "Inhale/Exhale," features an array of striking imagery and attention to detail, including vocalist Asher Hittle performing under a variety of elaborate makeup effects.
"Our band has been kind of a fluid concept over the years as far as members go," explains keyboardist Norman Hittle, introducing the band for those not yet familiar with them. "Our core songwriters and constant members are Asher on vocals, Mark Young on guitar, and myself handling synths and programming. We've adopted a mentality of just having people fill in on drums and bass or other instruments as far as what's needed live, and that structure has made life much easier — we've had the amazing privilege of playing with Charlie Milo, Ethan Mills, Sven Johnson, Jeff Kreiger and Stu Pray as live players in our band."
The core trio of Hydrogen Skyline spent plenty of time experimenting with their synth-driven sound on the new record, which they will celebrate at the Black Sheep on Sept. 17, joined by The Midnight Club, Compass & Cavern and Wrestle With Jimmy.
"Photovoltaic was an amazing journey for us. We were successfully funded by our Kickstarter contributors, which was an amazing feeling to have so much support. We really owe them all the thanks for making this album possible! The songs had been written over the past year, and we just decided to throw out all our inhibitions with our old music and how it sounded in relation to what we were coming out with. We hired Jeoff Harris as our producer, and from the first day of recording, we tried everything possible to make the music come out the best it could, whether it meant adjusting the tempo, chords, or totally changing the style. Our overall goal was to make music we enjoyed and that had meaning to us. We really want anyone who listens to just enjoy the music in whatever way possible!"
Hittle says fans of the band will have plenty of shows to choose from in Colorado Springs and Denver during the remainder of the year, as well as a few side projects. He also teased the possibility of a regional tour in early 2017. One thing that's for sure, however, is that the band will continue to dedicate attention to music videos.
"With music videos, we've wanted to have a different approach than we have in the past, or even that we've seen with other bands. Photovoltaic has an emotional journey embedded into the songs, and we wanted to emphasize that with representative videos. With the video for 'Inhale/Exhale,' we wanted to express a lot of symbolism and metaphors for feelings of anger, confusion, insecurity and innocence lost. Asher and I did all her makeup to save on costs, which turned out to be a fun time of experimenting with what mediums would produce the visual effects we were looking for. We definitely want to complement our music with stunning visuals and storylines, so we are planning on putting out at least two more videos before the end of the year. If I had my way, we'd have a video to represent each song, but that may not be realistic ... but we'll see!"
With that, a look at more live music for the week:
On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Flux Capacitor is host to a full night of hardcore, featuring Utah's Liar's Tongue, Alabama's Dismal Dream, Arizona's Easy Money, Casket Path and Plague Dogs.
Sept. 15 brings the fast food-themed Black Sabbath parody act Mac Sabbath (see interview, p. 27) to the Black Sheep. Also performing is Austin rock trio Residual Kid and Night of the Living Shred.
Also on Sept. 15, you can catch eclectic Nashville-based artist Spoken Nerd and Denver electropop act Bashful Hips at the Modbo, supported by a bevy of local hip-hop talent, including Stoney Bertz, Earsiq and BullHead*ded.
On Sept. 16, acclaimed San Diego Johnny Cash tribute band Cash'd Out hits Stargazers Theatre.
Finally, you can get your hardcore, emo and indie-rock fix at the Flux Capacitor on Sept. 20 by catching South Dakota's Seeing Red, Missouri's Histories, Remain and Sustain and Actress Eyes.
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