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Attending the debut album launch of pop rock band Skylight was a sweet, impressive surprise. The album, Made For More, already has interest from some radio stations.
The band are a breath of fresh air on this commercial scene and certainly have the potential to rise to the heights of popular bands like Gangs of Ballet, Just Jinjer and Prime Circle. The launch was held at Tanz Café in Cresta, Joburg and the place was packed.
“What do you think?” I whispered to a colleague. “They’re great for a frat rock band,” was his reply.
Lead singer Greg Jorden is magnetic and compelling on stage. His lyrics stand out as unique and quirky. The band were also suitably tight and gave an uncompromising, confident performance.
When I meet them a few days later Greg confesses that, unlike most lead singers, he is not really one for the limelight.
So why choose to be in a band and release an album?
“When I play music I feel alive. Growing up, music opened doors. It changed my life. I wasn’t really happy at school and by age 15 I wanted to be a musician. I started writing songs with my voice and guitar. I loved what it felt like, being original and coming up with something new. I felt like I could be someone if I could make music, because I couldn’t relate to other kids.
“Music gave me something to be excited about. It felt like it was more relevant than a maths exam, in terms of who I am.”
Drummer Bradley Cummings grew up with musical parents: “My dad was recording with a group called The Lemmings. I went into the studio and started playing around with instruments. My parents heard me and saw potential. I am a sound engineer by day and couldn’t imagine a world without music.”
Peter Klein says that he was always attracted to the bass: “I was always fascinated by the bass because it is the most soothing of instruments. It’s so relaxing.”
Unlike many other bassists, Klein says he never took up bass as a second guitar: “It was always a release. It was only when I met the rest of the guys in Skylight that a music career was on the horizon.”
The band, who are confirmed Christians, met at a Christmas carol event and their formation, in December 2008, led to them entering Highveld’s Road to Joburg Day, which they won – they say that playing in front of 18 000 people is a highlight of their short career.
They spent about two years in the studio with producer Darryl Torr, resulting in Made For More, which they are proud of.
“Lyrically, we tried to be real about the struggles we go through – but we remain hopeful,” says Jorden.
The group say that working with Torr was a great experience and that they learnt a lot through the recording process. They aimed for an album of international quality, and put a lot of effort into making it.
The result is a commercial rock album with lashings of passionate pop.
Skylight are a potentially big band in the making.