In a time when prog rock bands lineup changes resemble a revolving door, Skyharbor are testament to some amazing commitment from people making music from five different cities in three different countries. While founder, guitarist and producer Keshav Dhar works from Delhi, Krishna Jhaveri (bass) is currently based in Mumbai. Currently studying music at Berklee, guitarist Devesh Dayal hangs out in the States at the moment, along with drummer Anup Sastry. Right in the middle of it all, more or less geographically, is Nottingham, UK-based singer Dan Tompkins. This is the lineup that has used the Internet for its original, two-decade-old intention – to share information quickly. Or like it is in their case, sharing song ideas and rough mixes for their upcoming second album, Guiding Lights, which will release worldwide on November 10th on Basick Records. The album was funded with help from a crowdsourcing campaign on PledgeMusic. Keshav said in an interview, “We are extremely grateful to our fan base for putting in the amount of support and funding they have. None of this would be possible if not for them.” While those lucky folks over in Europe have already got a taste of at least four new songs – from the single ‘Evolution’ to stuff like ‘Halogen’ and ‘Patience’ – India is lucky enough to get first dibs on experiencing Guiding Lights in all its album launch glory in November, with shows at NH7 Weekender in Delhi and Pune and Fireball in Guwahati, with a Bangalore show as well.
Skyharbor are also prepping for the release of their second music video off Guiding Lights, ‘Patience’. Keshav has explained the band’s choice of song, saying, “It was the most realistic choice at 4 and a half minutes long (the rest of the album being mostly long songs). It’s also a vastly different song from anything we have ever done before, there’s no distortion guitars or pounding grooves or heavy bass lines in the song – it’s a delicate, emotionally compelling story, and what’s very interesting is that the feel of the song is quite positive and melodic, while the film is very dark indeed. It’s a great contrast. The lyrics and the story of course were the biggest reason. I won’t go too much into the details of the story though as we would prefer for people to draw their own interpretations of the film.” Skyharbor brought in UK animation director Jess Cope to create the video for
‘Patience,’ loosely based on a story Dan came up with. But let’s turn this around and make it less about hungry fans and more about what’s riding on Guiding Lights for Skyharbor. This is technically their first album together, considering all the members were not yet fully permanent when Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos released in 2012. Keshav has mentioned Guiding Lights is a concept album of sorts, and all this sets up that challenge for fans to accept the band minus all their star collaborations and already-popular songs, like ‘Dots’ and ‘Catharsis’, which kicked off Keshav’s popularity as Hydrodjent. Speaking of other projects, another thing to factor in is Dan rejoining TesseracT, which most fans welcomed, although not necessarily indicating that they didn’t want Dan to keep going with Skyharbor. But there’s no place for such ill will among metalheads anyway. Even then, TesseracT being much more established than Skyharbor, it remains to be seen how the vocalist will prioritize when it comes to touring. However since we’ve seen a just-as-busy Anup Sastry handling Intervals and Skyharbor tours, perhaps it’s just a matter of scheduling.
The decision to launch Guiding Lights in India is not so much convenient (since probably nothing is convenient if you have members in three continents) as it is an emotional one. Almost all publications consider Skyharbor an Indian band and their run of shows in the country is much required, since they last performed in Delhi in 2012. Keshav has always been open about the fact that they never get enough support from Indian fans and promoters, so here’s hoping at their Guiding Lights launch shows, Indian metalheads can show up in numbers and really make it count. Let’s give Skyharbor the homecoming they deserve for making what might become one of the most important albums in Indian metal history.
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