Every generation, a band comes along to assemble the strongest elements of seemingly disparate sub-genres and refashions them together into an energetic sound greater than the sum of its parts. At The Skylines is that band, right here, right now. At The Skylines draw deeply from the underground, yet are poised to set the mainstream ablaze.
Combining soaring melodies, earth-shattering breakdowns, passionate screams, heartfelt and catchy phrasing and blazingly provocative dynamics, these six young men from SoCal have hit upon every bright spot of aggressive rock music across a wide spectrum stretching from Linkin Park to A Day To Remember. On their Roadrunner debut, The Secrets to Life, At The Skylines craft driving anthems interlaced with unique programming and atmospherics.
Shawn Yates, who has been turning heads with his unique and unusual approach to his instrument and style of play, and Billy Barber have perfected a guitar style that serves the song while displaying their ability; drummer David Angle keeps things moving with detailed attention to groove and substance; the dual vocal approach of Chris Shelley and Mark Barela ensures a constant interplay of all of the best singing and screaming styles modern rock n’ roll has to offer. At The Skylines is the perfect beginning to the next generation’s lifestyle mixtape.
Alt-rock, hardcore, straight-up rock n’ roll: with lead songwriter Yates’ background in classical and jazz and Shelley’s upbringing listening to classic rock hits with his dad (as just two examples from within At The Skylines), the diversity on display within the band coalesces into an exciting new sound onstage and on record.
“As far as I can remember I wanted to be in a band. I knew At The Skylines would go somewhere,” notes Shelley, the sole holdover from the group’s earliest incarnations. “When you really want to succeed, you have to cut out the personal problems and really be professional. With this lineup, we all met through mutual friendships and connections and we just clicked. We have all really bonded to become a more powerful unit.”
Shelley’s father constantly took him to concerts and encouraged him to try to meet bands, grab a setlist, catch a drumstick. Listening to everything from Led Zeppelin to Styx, he was a fan first. As an audience member, he knew what he wanted to see when a rock band gets onstage. All of the guys in At The Skylines are firm believers in the powerful responsibility that comes along with the art form and they attach thoughtful weight and meaning to their music.
“The Secrets to Life is about our band’s beliefs, how we feel about the world, how we connect with the world and how we plan to use our experience to better ourselves and to be a positive influence on people who listen to us,” Shelley explains. “The guys in our band are between the ages of 18 and 25, so we have a wide range of experience to draw upon. We’ve all had our troubles. I think we’ve covered the bases pretty well on this album.”
At The Skylines moved into a Huntington Beach, California house together to complete the writing process for their first album for Roadrunner. After a few months, they found themselves in North Carolina for another five weeks where they perfected the songs even further, before eventually heading all the way over to Sweden to record. Fredrik Nordström, best known for his work with melodic death metal pioneers like At The Gates, In Flames and Soilwork, helped craft the album with his keen attention to both heaviness and catchiness. His work with Bring Me The Horizon, for example, is a great reference point for how he helped At The Skylines to fully realize their potential.
Make no mistake about it: At The Skylines isn’t looking to be an underground phenomenon, the latest “scene” obsession nor a band that only critics and hipsters cherish. At The Skylines has world domination in mind. “I want to hear us on the radio. I want to play every country and every city in the entire world. I want to take over the world and I want everyone to understand what we’re about,” Shelley says.
At The Skylines recognize an opportunity to crack the mainstream and they are going after that brass ring. With Yates’ careful attention to diversity and melody setting their sound apart from the pack, the band’s blend of heaviness, melody and programming power have all of the elements to strike a nerve when the masses get their collective hands on The Secrets to Life. They also know that part of that possibility rests with their live show, as well. Both singers work hard to ensure their performances are spot-on, every night, regardless of the situation or the sound system. All of the members of At The Skylines take pride in excelling at the musicianship behind their chosen craft. They keep up their level of playing, always.
“We are all about the energy. We make our shows full of connection with the audience. We make sure people get involved, be it by bouncing, singing, clapping their hands or whatever it is,” Shelley explains. “We like to keep the energy up during the entire show.” The band has honed its live chops playing with the likes of The Devil Wears Prada, We Came As Romans, Emmure, Bless the Fall, and Oh Sleeper, to name a few.
At the end of the day, At The Skylines stands for connectivity. A connection with each other, a connection with their audience and a connection with their roots – these are the fundamentals of At The Skylines. The guys in the band want to make sure their listeners know they have value. There is more to life. Stick close to your friends, stick close to your family. Lift it up.
“We went through our parent’s divorces, we have brothers and sisters and we have experience and grown from all of that stuff and at the end of the day; we are well acquainted with many of the same struggles our listeners are going through,” Shelley says. “We want people to know you’ve got to be happy, you’ve got to love yourself before you can truly love somebody else.”
Those are The Secrets of Life to At The Skylines.