A NateShealy.com Exclusive Interview
With Bryan Zimmerman lead vocals for Sky Eats Airplane
It’s about that time again, another exclusive interview this time with front man for Sky Eats Airplane. Sit back, relax and prepare for a great interview…
When did you really start playing music seriously?Zimmerman: I always loved music, but I didnt start playing until I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and lived with my Uncle, he is a musician and got me started playing the guitar.
Were family/friends supportive when you decided to attempt to make it in a band?
Zimmerman: As it is with anything else I think there were ups and downs in how my family reacted to my choice to pursue music rather than college for nearly 8 years. But my sisters and mother have always been supportive.
As a lead vocalist, how important is warming up/warming down your voice?
Zimmerman: I personally feel it is extremely important. There is not one show that goes by without me warming up.
As a musician, where do you stand on the topic of downloading music?Zimmerman: I feel it is a great thing, I strongly urge anyone to listen to my music by any means necessary. If you want to download it, please do, just listen to it! Considering you can’t stop the internet, nor the doors it happens to leave wide open regarding media.
What are your main musical influences?
Zimmerman: I have so much love for so much music it is hard to say. I don’t feel that I am strongly influenced in my writing vocals, I try to keep it as much mine as I can. But right now today I have been listening to Daniel Merriweather, Lower Definition, Kid Cudi, Rusko, Caspa, Dustin Kensrue, and a few others haha.
Sky Eats Airplane uses a lot of electronica effects, what are your thoughts of the auto-tune trend that seems to be going on right now in some hardcore music?
Zimmerman: I am not very happy with extremely or over auto-tuned vocals. I feel that if you cant sing it, and sing it live, you probably shouldn’t be including it in your music. If you’re going to front being a vocalist especially. Maybe thats rude, but auto tune is a trend that neeeeeds to die quickly.
Staying on the topic of the electronica sound effects, where do they come in as far as writing a song? Does the band write the music using natural instruments then add the electronic effects at the end?
Zimmerman: I am so glad you asked that question. With us writing in Sky Eats Airplane, as far as the new record went, Zack Ordway, our guitarist composes the songs in their entirety, using Reason, tracks guitars, programs the drums, and adds minimal glitching, synth, and other effects. The songs were then passed to me 1 x 1, and the songs on our new ep “The Sound of Symmetry EP” were actually written 90% vocally, while I did my tryouts for the band. Then, Travis Orbin, our drummer adds his ideas and changes, sent them back to Zack, via Guitar Pro notations. And after meeting at the studio, tracking everything, finishing all of my vocals, Zack works with Lee to add samples and sounds to all of Zack’s notation. In the past, I believe Zack had much more work to do but with this lineup the workload is much easier with the vocals being taken care of mostly by myself with Elliot Coleman writing most of his parts, and the drums being worked to their potential and played extremely well.
I’ve seen Sky Eats Airplane perform, you guys put on a hell of a show. How important would you say live performance is? More important than quality studio recordings?
Zimmerman: I think that depends on the listener, some people live for studio perfection, others feed off live energy. For me, I think it is extremely important to balance both because of the style of music we play. I believe our music pushes some limits and we want people to know that we are a real band, not just studio magic. We create songs, and we perform them.
What goes into writing a collaborative song? Where do you start?
Zimmerman: I couldn’t answer that as a member of Sky Eats Airplane, but in my other projects, I believe it starts with an idea, and you build. Whether it be a vocal idea, an intro on guitar, a beat, a chorus. You just have to build, and being open to critcism is key when working with someone else. You have to be able to accept it, and use it to your advantage.
If you could pick one band to tour with, who would it be?
Zimmerman: I would love to tour with Thrice 🙂 Or Beloved would be awesome too. Can’t pick one man, come on now!
With the ease of buying one song on sites like iTunes, do you think it’s less important to have a “flow” to an album? Do you think the fact we can buy one song, it is destructive to concept albums?
Zimmerman: I do, I believe the destruction of the “album” has already taken it’s toll. People are no longer buying albums nearly as often as they used to, even when it’s free to download, people are only getting 1,2, or 3 songs off of a record. But that won’t stop me from trying to create the music we make for an album to work as a whole.
Justin Bieber, thoughts?Zimmerman: Congrats and best of luck to him, people tend to hate a lot more than I can.
What was the best place you’ve played at while on tour?
Zimmerman: Probably Anaheim California, I love that place.
I’ve heard many horror stories about bands who have toured (lost equipment, horrifying technical difficulties) any specific disasters you can think of that you would like to share?Zimmerman: Ask me this question in a year and I will have a good answer for you I’m sure. My luck has not been so bad when it comes to being on the road so far, (knock on wood).
What advice would you give the kid who is torn between college and full dedication to music? Do you think it’s possible to balance both?
Zimmerman: I don’t really believe it’s possible, at least it wasn’t for me. I would say to this person, ask yourself if you really want it, and if you want something, then, you go after it. I’d much rather try to reach my goals, rather than look back and feel regret. Me and regret aren’t friends and I’d like to keep it that way. (And touring for just a few weeks prior to making this decision could also help influence your decision greatly, a lot of people won’t like tour life, and you don’t find that out until you’ve experienced it. Personally, I live for the live show.)
What are some of the hardships of being in a band with 4 or 5 other people?Zimmerman: Essentially, your bandmates, tour manager, and merch guy, all become your family. You all share a 1 bedroom apartment with wheels. There are fights and bickering about stupid things like where to eat, where to sleep. But also an abundance of good times, laughs, moments that money can’t buy so it ends up being far more than worth it for me most of the time.
Many people think that our music industry is flooded with “cookie cutter” bands who all sound the same, would you agree? If so, any suggestions to fix this problem?Zimmerman: I honestly can’t answer this question very well. I don’t go out and search for new bands very often. If someone shows me something and I like it, then I’ll buy it and support them and spread the word about them. But I can say that I haven’t heard much of anything different with people showing me bands recently. So that may be a clue to what you’re asking.
What are your thoughts on side projects? Can they be detrimental to a band?Zimmerman: I am involved in a few, I feel like as long as you balance your time correctly they are fine. You also have to know which one takes precedence over the rest.
With today’s technology and ease of marketing yourself, do you think record labels are necessary?Zimmerman: Yes, because otherwise it would just be so unorganized and you would have no idea where to look for good music. It would be roulette, which may result in some bands breaking through to you, that wouldn’t have before, but it would be so lame if we didn’t have all the idie labels out looking for good bands to sign and promote.
Sky Eats Airplane released an EP not to long ago, is there any plans for another full length album in the works?Zimmerman: Yes we are meeting with producers and engineers to find a match for our full length, we have a lot of new material written and waiting to be recorded. So I hope to record this year by October, but don’t quote me on that haha.
What are some ways we can support un-signed/non-mainstream bands?Zimmerman: If you hear them, and you like them. Post MySpace bulletins, post about them on Twitter, force people to listen to them in your cars, go to their shows and PLEASE BUY MERCH!!!
How important would you say networking is for a band?
Zimmerman: I’d say unless your music says it all for your band, networking is very important. Some bands have it where they can just play their songs and people love them, but for most you need to put yourself out there.
Do you play any instruments besides vocals?Zimmerman: Yes I can play the guitar and piano. I write and arrange my owns songs, I’m working on a folky kind of poppy acoustic project right now.
At what point as a musician would you say you’ve “made it” (have become successful)?Zimmerman: I guess when you can pay the mortgage? BUT, I feel I’ve made it, even though I’m broke. I get to travel the world, and play live shows, and record and that makes my life worth living, soooo…I made it.
Lady GaGa, thoughts?Zimmerman: Is she really a dude? I like dance music, and pop haha.
I’m sure you’ve been involved/witnessed your fair share of band drama, what would you say to the other people experiencing the same type of problems?
Zimmerman: Can’t everyone just get along?? Haha no, just separate yourself from the situation, forgiveness is sooo key.
What are you most disappointed with when it comes to mainstream music?Zimmerman: Probably the rock department. So many similar sounding bands, when there is an ocean of wayyy better bands in the underground. Literally putting these songs you hear every day to shame.
How can we stay in touch with current events in Bryan Zimmerman’s music career?
Zimmerman: You can follow me on Twitter @bryan_zimmerman,
On my blog, I have something called Nate’s Mix Tape Monday in which I feature one song, what would your feature be that you would like the world to hear?
Zimmerman: Blood and Wine by Dustin Kensrue or To Satellite by Lower Definition please!
What would you like to say to the world? Give us some musical advice.Zimmerman: Strive for being yourself and noone else. Strive to do something different.
That’s it! A big thanks to Bryan Zimmerman, lead vocals of Sky Eats Airplane, for taking the time to interview and help promote music that means a lot to me and many people I know. I wish him luck with Sky Eats Airplane and I can’t wait to watch him perform in the future!