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MASS SKY RAID // Breaking Through 2020

It goes without saying that 2020 was a massive year for the music industry; for Gold Coast prog act Mass Sky Raid, there has been a silver lining to this dark cloud of 2020.

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It’s been a couple of years now since their last full-length release Science of Fiction in 2018, but 2020 saw the release of two massive singles for the band, the most recent of which was the anthemic new single Breakthrough.

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“I think for me, and I am sure a lot of people, there is a constant battle between a life that may have security and possibly another more unstable path which inspires you and has more meaning and purpose. It’s sometimes hard to breakaway and take this path. That’s the message that connects me to this song,” says singer Adam Lomas about the new track.

Following up from their recent single Not Alone earlier in the year, Breakthrough is another new taste of what’s to come from Mass Sky Raid, with the future looking bright for the band.

“Me and the Alex [Kewley, guitar] worked on [Breakthrough] together and probably have slightly different interpretations of the meaning. However, for me lyrically, it’s about trying to find self-truth and exploring the challenges we have when trying to break away from a systemised existence, and the burden of society’s expectation of how we are meant to exist.

“We might have a vision of a life we want and a type of person that we want to be, however, the journey in making this life can sometimes come with many trials and consequences both good and bad.”

While Breakthrough has the familiar anthemic Mass Sky Raid feel, I think it also shows different aspects of our sound and is quite progressive musically even for us.

While lyrically the song carries quite a philosophical message, the instrumentals layered behind these lyrics are just as complicated; and while the end product is more rewarding for of it, this combination didn’t come without its own set of challenges for the band.

“We had the basis for this track for quite some time, and Alex had musically built a strong foundation. However, from a melodic, vocal and lyric perspective it definitely was one of the more challenging songs we have worked on. We wanted to justify the energy of the music and me and Alex spent a lot of time experimenting with vocal melody and lyric combinations, drawing on a lot of our individual influences while also keeping it original and fresh.”

Another challenge when it comes to writing new music is the inherent struggle of differentiating from previous tracks. While Lomas and the band aren’t trying to re-create their sound from scratch by any means, these latest tracks definitely show a clear progression in their already proven alternative rock / prog sound.

“Alex creates a lot of the foundations of instrumental layers of the tracks and is quite a wizard when it comes to this. As a band you create different formulas for writing and it’s just about fine tuning it over time. We write songs from all different angles whether it’s a musical bed or an initial vocal melody and writing the music later.

“While Breakthrough has the familiar anthemic Mass Sky Raid feel, I think it also shows different aspects of our sound and is quite progressive musically even for us. There is a lot of light and shades throughout the song which hopefully gives the listener an interesting journey while also keeping them engaged.”

Comparing this new track Breakthrough to the previous release Not Alone, Lomas doesn’t believe one track to be more representative of the band’s sound than another, but rather each track showing off a different side of the group.

“I don’t think it’s a stronger representation. I just think it shows a slightly different side of our sound. We are definitely trying to experiment with our direction, which is awesome as it keeps it interesting for both us and the listener.

“What excites me going forward is that we have recorded a lot of songs this year and our up and coming releases really will show a completely different side of Mass Sky Raid as we bring in new musical styles and elements, such as acoustic guitars and violins. I really can’t wait to see what people think.”

Of course, 2020 had its own set of challenges for the band, with plans changing for everyone in the music industry and all around the world in the wake of the global pandemic. Just like everyone else, Mass Sky Raid had to adapt to the crazy year happening around them.

“I think it probably has affected most bands and other musicians to some degree. Trying to adapt to the lock downs and the basic closing down of society as a whole was extremely challenging. Musicians seemed to adapt as best they could by doing a lot of online streaming in the light of not being able to tour and perform live. Our plans changed and we postponed releases, as doing the additional content around the release such as music videos was virtually impossible at different times throughout the year …

What is definite is that we will be continuing to release a lot of new content throughout 2021, whether that is through singles or a full-length album.

“We were extremely fortunate to receive a RADF grant which saw a lot of 2020 spent productively in the studio recording songs with our talented producer Luke Palmer. We were also fortunate to be able to release two of these as singles this year under extremely challenging circumstances.

“For us, these challenges if anything has made us even more passionate and determined to get our music out there in 2021. We have a lot of unreleased content which we are proud of and we can’t wait for people to see in 2021.”

With a year as fucked up as 2020 even managing to see the band release two new singles, 2021 is sure to be a big one for Mass Sky Raid; but the band don’t have any release set in stone just yet.

“Nothing is concrete yet and I think we will try and evolve with the ever-changing situation regarding the world pandemic. What is definite is that we will be continuing to release a lot of new content throughout 2021, whether that is through singles or a full-length album.”

In terms of goals for the new year, it’s clear that Lomas’ ambitions for 2021 are simple yet vital to the band.

“Just to expand as a band and to continue finding new listeners who connect with our music, both recorded and live when we start playing again.

“Also, we have a lot of content ready to release, however, I think for us another huge goal is keeping two steps ahead by continuing to write new songs that inspire us and keep us engaged in the process.”

Until then, Lomas and the band just hope listeners can take something away from Breakthrough and find something in their music to connect to.

“We just hope [listeners] connect with what we are doing both musically and lyrically. We love writing and hopefully fans and listeners can feel the energy and be inspired. We can’t wait to release the rest of our new music which shows completely new flavours and different parts of our musical identity …

“We feel we are only getting started and have so much more music to show you.”

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