While we were all locked down in isolation, baking banana bread and binge-watching Netflix, Alienist …
Rising from the depths of a dark, forboding place, SKYND are here to expose the dark nature of humanity through true crime storytelling.
Comprising of front woman Skynd and multi-instrumentalist Father the industrial tinged duo quickly caught the worlds attention with their unique dark concept, imagery and sound. Despite being a very new band, they have already collaborated with big names such as Jonathan Davis, supported Rob Zombie and scored massive festival slots, including Download and Wacken Open Air. They have currently released two EP’s, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, with Chapter 3 due for release very soon.
Hysteria caught up with the front woman herself to learn more about the mysterious duo, discuss their rollercoaster of success and delve into their most recent single Jim Jones.
You recently performed at Download Festival! How was that experience?
That was really awesome to be honest to you! It was our first ever festival we played. The first festival experience we made, father and I, and it was better than expected. It was so awesome to see people singing along to all of our songs. People were dressing up like SKYND, like, doing makeup and everything! That made me shiver. That made me emotional on stage. I was like ‘Fuck! Wow!’.
It didn’t take long for you to gain a legion of fans. People have been very intrigued by your project. Were you prepared for it to take off like it has?
You’re actually the first one asking me that question. No, I wasn’t prepared. How can you be prepared for something like this? I mean… when we started making music, Father and I, we didn’t expect that much. We thought it takes much longer to get people into our music. That people would understand that we are not glorifying serial killers; That we are not glorifying true crime. We are not saying murder is good. We thought it was going to be more negative, to be honest! I always believed in myself, Father and SKYND, but, we thought at first it was going to be more critical. That’s what I expected. Now everyone is super positive and people are really enjoying my music. No, I wasn’t prepared for that. But, JD (Jonathan Davis) helped us to gain more attention, more quickly. Maybe because of him I was a bit more prepared. Because, I knew when I get his name on one of my songs, it will get attention. But I thought with Gary Heidnik, that would be the only song that people will be interested in. But now, we’ve released Jim Jones and everyone is like ‘Oh my god! I love it!’, for me it’s a big relief. It’s a big success for me as well, that people love my music. I wasn’t prepared. I was hoping for it but I didn’t expect any of it.
Speaking of your collaboration with Jonathan Davis, what was it like working with him?
It was great! He’s one of my idols! So for me, it was unbelievably great. When I heard his vocals for the first time, on Gary Heidnik, I was close to tears! It is unbelievably great that he wanted to be a part of it. It was an easy collaboration. He had some ideas and he put it into the music and we did some videos together. It was great to work with him. I learned so much from him. He gave me so much great tips and everything. So, that was awesome. It was awesome to be one room with him.
That’s amazing man! It must be crazy to be able to collaborate with your idols! I saw that you also recently supported Rob Zombie. What was that like?
That was awesome too! Wow… there’s one word that I keep using all the time! ‘Awesome’. But, I’m grateful for all these experiences. When they requested that we support Rob Zombie, I was like, of course we’re going to do that! I’ve seen all his movies. I listen to his music. He’s one of the artists I’m listening to, like, an all time favourite! I was really, really curious and a bit nervous to to meet him. But, unfortunately, I couldn’t meet him because we had to leave and he was pretty busy as well. But, just to perform before his show and know that he is around, to feel his spirit somehow, that was amazing to me. I knew that he is in the same building. That was already awesome. To Father and me it was really, like, just to know he is around… that meant a lot to us. That we had the opportunity to call his name in the same sentence as our name, that felt amazing.
That’s just surreal.
Mmhmm. It is surreal. It was really surreal. It was great. This experience is just great.
I’m curious, how do your live shows work at the moment? You’ve got four released tracks, how do you fill that time?
We have released four songs, but we are playing more than four songs. We just haven’t talked about the songs yet because they will be released in July. We got more than four songs, we can fill a set of forty minutes easily. The good thing about my songs is that they are really long and we can play them out. Like, Richard Ramirez and even Jim Jones, with looooong chords in the back. We can repeat it and people won’t get tired of it because the chorus is so strong. So, we try to fill the breaks. We do have songs. We can play. We think about the songs we want to play and how we want to play them, like, do we want to put in a drum solo or not? Do we want to repeat the chorus? I think that’s the experience of live, you can try out things live. As I said, you can put a bass solo in, you can out a drum solo in, you can put an intro in, which makes the set longer as well. You can try out lots of different things. That’s what we are doing at the moment. We just try out whatever works best for us.
SKYND has a very clear concept, taking inspiration from true crime. What inspired all this?
To be honest, my imaginary friend. I got an imaginary friend that came to me when I was around three years old. When I grew up with him, he showed me all the cruelties in the world. He made me interested in true crime. He was like “There is good and bad in this world and you need to see that”. There is just not only good, there has to be bad because otherwise we’re not balanced. That’s how I got interested. It started really early. He showed me death, we talked about death. I was afraid at first, but, when I starting writing about it and getting it off my chest, it got normal to me. I could handle it much better. That’s how everything started, because of him. He called himself, when he came to me at three or four years old, he told me that his name is Skynd. I asked, “Why are you calling yourself Skynd?”. He said “Because what I want to tell you is going underneath your skin. It should peel off your skin.” Because, these horrifying true crime stories are so bad that they go underneath your skin and they should make you shiver. That’s what they did! So I had to write about it. That’s how everything started. Now, I love true crime! I can do research for months! If something is really interesting, if I’m really interested in something, in a true crime topic or story I can do research for months!
I would like to tell all my supporters, the people who like my music, I would love to tell them that they have to keep their inner animal tamed by expressing yourself through art, music or whatever, because we are all capable of doing inhumane cruelties.
How do you select which cases to write about? Do you have a list of cases that you are interested in?
I got my diary, yes. I got a diary where I write true crime stories or just the names of the victims or the murderer or whatever. I got a diary that I write all my ideas into. But, there are so many new cases that you can read about! There was that one case of Chris Watts, in America, he killed his wife and both daughters because he had an affair and he wanted to get rid of his family. That happened last year! So, there are so many new cases coming in! It’s hard to fill your diary with all these stories. But, to begin with, when I wrote Chapter 1, I had these stories already written down. I knew what I wanted to write about. Chapter 2 also. With Chapter 3, I’m deciding do I want to have newer cases? Or do I want to write about the cases that I’ve already been writing about? It depends on whatever mood I’m in and if, when we’re writing songs, we’re droning. We drone first. We get into a vibe and then I do my research. Or I did my research already and then we drone and come up with a vibe. It depends a bit.
That leads very nicely into my next question! I would like to talk about your song writing process. Maybe we can talk through Jim Jones as an example, because that is the latest single. How did you approach the songwriting for that?
Jim Jones was in my head for a very long time. *Sings- “drink it, drink it, drink it”* that was in my head for a very long time. Then I was listening to the audio tape of him, that you can listen to on Youtube. It’s a 40 minute audio tape. You can hear babies and toddlers scream because they got poisoned. It’s so bad! For two days, I was depressed because it made me so sad. That’s how, with this depression and with this sadness, I got into the songwriting with Father. This is how it started. It started with this audio tape. I knew I want to write about it, but, the vibe started with the audio tape because it made angry, it made me sad, it made me depressed and that’s how the whole vibe got together. When you listen to the vocals in the first verses, *Sings- “Come with camaraderie”*, I sing it, how do you say? I sing it a bit bored. I wanted to sing it really laid back and depressed, so the people can hear the feeling that I had that day. I wasn’t super happy. I wasn’t super energetic. I was really low and depressed. That’s what you can actually hear in the verses. I was in a bad mood and you can hear it. That’s what I like about Jim Jones because it captured how I felt while songwriting.
There is also a visual element to your project. From what I’ve seen, most is inspired by horror imagery. But with Jim Jones, the video was a lot more artistic in comparison. But I felt like it captured the story very well.
Exactly. If you ever get time to listen to the audio tape, I would suggest to you that you do that, then you will understand why I did a more artistic way. It’s so horrifying that children died! There were babies dying! They didn’t want to die! They got killed by their parents or by the followers of Jim Jones. That made it really hard for me to visualise that. I wanted to make a video that respects the victims. I mean, I want to do that with all my videos of course! I never want to disrespect the victims! That’s the last thing I want to do. But, with Jim Jones, because of the children, because of the babies, it was really hard to make a documentary about it or to film it like a story. I wanted to work with colours. That’s why the red, white and black is really… argh! How do you say that? I started off with the white, the white stand for all the victims who had died. The red is the cyanide poison. The black is the mass suicide, which explains the crime behind it. I wanted to explain it with colours. I think people really get it! Without me explaining it. It is always a thin line between being disrespectful and being respectful. I tried to be really, really, really respectful because it is such a horrifying crime, 1,100 people died! 300 children! It’s really hard to capture that in a video. I wanted to explain the story in an artistic way. I think that in the lyrics the story is really well explained. So, I was like, maybe we can make more of an artistic video so that people are like, maybe have to think about it more? That was my main goal. I think we achieved that. I think we did really well.
I came across information that this project bloomed in Australia! So, could you please give me a bit more background information on how all this started?
Yeah! I was in Australia at a party on the beach and father was sitting on a rock; he was sitting on a rock close to the ocean. He was rocking back and forth. I was like ‘That’s a weird dude…’. But, I felt somehow connected to him. I sat next to him. He was looking at me and I was looking at him and we felt like we had this twin flame connection. It’s nothing romantic, more like a brother. We were just talking and was like ‘Oh! You got the same interests as me!’. So we talked and talked and talked. The next day we went to the studio and started making music. We felt like ‘Okay. This is it. We gotta make music together’. That’s how it started! Australia was very interesting for me because I was interested in Katherine Knight, you know, the cannibal lady from Australia? That’s why I went to Australia! Because I wanted to interview her. That actually never worked out, but, that’s how I found father, so that’s good! *Laughs*.
Are you planning on playing any live shows in Australia, in the near future?
We would love to! It would be an honour to play in Australia. We haven’t planned anything yet, but, we will work on that. It would be a dream come true if we could play in Australia. Where we started, that would be awesome! If we could tour or something, that would be great.
What message do you have for your supporters so far?
I would like to tell all my supporters, the people who like my music, I would love to tell them that they have to keep their inner animal tamed by expressing yourself through art, music or whatever, because we are all capable of doing inhumane cruelties. That’s really important for me to tell them. That’s the message of SKYND as well. That’s what I want people to know. I’m writing about these crimes so that we are not turning a blind eye. Because, I know that these crimes already happened and they can happen again. Just keep your inner animal tamed.