NOVEMBER 29th 2013
Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Metal entertainment worldwide. We are here talking with a recently formed band out of Austin, Texas by the name of Škan. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.
The Wolves of Škan are;
Joseph Merino: Guitars, Vocals
William Ables: Guitars, Vocals
Daniel Alvarez: Bass, Vocals
David Baxter: Drums
November 2nd marked the birth of Škan, what made you decide to form this band ?
Joseph Merino: Škan was conceived in 2011. Dan, and I met through a listing for musicians in our area. We began working together on this music. It was difficult finding other musicians with similar perspectives to our own. Dan ended up joining a band to stay active live, and I was asked to join another band in 2012. This put Škan in the background for a little over a year. Dan, and I would meet periodically to work on material. It was something we were into, and continued to work on. Škan was birthed when William, and David entered the band. We had a complete circle once this occurred.
The name itself is interesting, tell us how you came to choose this name and what it means to you ?
Jo: The word Škan comes from the Lakota Sioux language. The meaning of it is difficult to translate, and often becomes lost in translation. It is the essence of all that exists. That which acts to cause all things to be set into motion. It is also the sky, and a deity or omni present spirit in Lakota religion, or mythology.
I have great reverence for Lakota perspectives, and the ways in which they connect to existence. I am not Lakota Sioux, nor do I speak on behalf of their culture, or represent the Lakota people in any manner. I was sitting one day in 2012, and it came to me. It was right for the music, and when it was presented to the others, they thought of it as a good representation of the nature of this band.
How did the members each come to the band ?
Joseph Merino: Guitar/Vocals -
I met William, and David in the band Skrew. They were already in that band when I was asked to join. After I was working within Skrew for a little over a year, everyone decided to resign after commitments were fulfilled. Dan was also departing from the band he had been in. All of us wanted to resume working on music, and continue to tour. When we met together to rehearse for the first time, we realized this was something of great potential.
William Ables: Guitar/Vocals -
I paid my way in with sex, and drugs (everyone laughing).
David Baxter: Percussions/Vocals -
When William, Jo, and I departed Skrew, it was a natural transition as there was material written and we all liked it.
Is this something you have always dreamed of doing, creating and playing in a band ?
Daniel Alvarez: I've performed in, and helped form many musical projects in the past. I feel very enthusiastic about this band, as well as an artistic freedom of expression not felt in the past. Another benefit of this particular group is the tremendous potential of our creative processes.
David: Absolutely, ever since I was 3 years old, playing my Donald Duck guitar to Def Leopard (laughs). I guess when I was around 14 or so I got serious about playing in bands and knew it was what I wanted to do.
William: I have wanted to play music from an early age but due to one thing or another I didn't even start playing an instrument until my 30's.
Jo: Creating music, and playing in a band was something that I wanted to do early in life. It has always been a part of who I am, and is something constantly in mind.
Why did you choose the metal genre ?
William: I like all kinds of different genres of music, but when it comes to performing I'm all Metal!!
David: Hard to describe it in words, it seems to paint the broadest and most detailed landscape of sound for me as a listener. I love 70s prog rock as well. As a drummer, it's definitely the most physically intense genre to play, which is a fun challenge.
Dan: Many forms of Metal music were introduced to me at an early age and most of those forms have had an impact on my playing style at one time or another during my career. I don't like to classify music typically, however I will say that this music is indicative of my personal feelings about life and my particular artistic vision so it was an easy decision to make.
Jo: I listen to many different styles of music as well, but extreme music is the vessel that best fits my creative expression. It is what inspired me to take up the guitar. I'm most grateful for it's existence.
When you create your songs, do you have some kind of inspirations to write them, and where does the inspiration come from ?
Jo: Speaking for myself, songs come from the sum of personal experiences, emotion, and that of nature. They seem to come on their own. I see it as if a space is made for them, they will naturally fill it.
Who writes the lyrics for Škan ?
Jo: I wrote the lyrics for the EP, "The Old King". Going forward, all of us are making contributions to what is written musically, as well as lyrically.
Do each of your members create their own music, like Daniel works on the bass riffs, David on drum blasts, then everyone pulls it all together, or does one person do it all and everyone learns it ?
William: All of Škan's music up to this point has been Jo's vision which is why I want to be involved with this. I can truly see us collaborating on future material because we share this vision and his style of writing is what I personally have been seeking.
Dan: When Jo and I started this, the basic foundation for the songs already existed. After Jo made all the final song arrangements, I wrote my bass lines during the whole creative process of the EP.
Jo: To add to what William, and Dan have stated, Jason Frankhouser of "Course of Ruin" also wrote, and recorded the solo on, "Beyond Thrones", and the first solo on, "Immortal Tyrant". David came in at the end of the recording sessions, and helped out on the drum arrangements, but he did not record on the EP. Going forward we will be composing, and recording the material together.
Do you think that being metal, that you have to bring a different sound to the table to get yourselves noticed more ?
David: Well, seems how there is 10,000,000 bands of every genre these days, having your own 'edge' is important. Škan doesn't specifically aim for that though, the whole process from thought to instrument just comes natural. What comes out comes out.
Dan: Our sound is unique. Many of our fans now have expressed this to us. New fans will pay immediate attention to that fact, and I believe that our progressive sound coupled with our raw live performance will definitely be enough to set us apart from most bands playing aggressive music today.
Jo: It isn't something that we really discuss or even think about. The sound we bring is what ever comes about in a natural process. I believe it is apparent that Škan is it's own. The EP is a small illustration of this, which is only the beginning.
Were you in any other bands before forming this one ?
William: I have been involved in a few different bands in Austin, Skrew being the latest. I feel drawn to this band because my input is accepted and not judged in any way.
David: I've always played in bands since I was 15. I was in Skrew, Cult of Discordia, and other bands back when I lived in Virginia.
Jo: In the 90's I played in a couple of different thrash/punk bands. In the early part of the 2000's I was in a group called I.C.U. for a few years, as well as Terminal 46 for a short time until it's end. In 2012, I joined Skrew.
You have an EP that will be released soon called “The Old King”, how did you come up with this for the name of the EP ?
Jo: "The Old King", is named after the artwork on EP cover. That art was done by Sylvain Lucchina of the graphic art company, Razor Images. His contributions to Škan are greatly appreciated. Sylvain is a phenomenal artist who has worked with other bands, and companies of all sorts. I recommend that people view his work at http://RazorImages.net.
You have 3 songs on this, do you have a favourite ?
William: Each song has different dynamics that pull me in but if I had to chose at this point I would say "Immortal Tyrant".
Dan: I enjoy and appreciate them all but "The Eye" is definitely an incredible track.
David: ''The Eye'' might be my favorite right now.
Jo: They each hold their own, but I am partial to "The Eye".
Did you have more than 3 songs done, if so, how did you pick these 3 to be on the EP?
Dan: Other songs do exist however, only three were appropriate for release at this time.
Jo: We intended it to have 4 songs on it originally, but only 3 made it on due to tight schedules. There are 2 more songs that have been recorded, and more coming. Those will not be released until next year, which will more than likely be on a full length album.
The EP was done at Sapa Studio, Austin, Texas, and The Tomato Farm Studio on Long Island, NYC, and the Killer Tone Studio in Dripping Springs, Texas, why all 3 studios ?
Jo: I recorded all the rhythm guitars, the vocals, Dan's bass tracks, and arranged the drums at my recording space in Austin (Sapa Studio). Jason Frankhouser recorded his solo parts at his studio in Dripping Springs (Killer Tone Studio). I sent all the recorded material to Greg Tomao in Long Island. Greg reamped the guitars, mixed, and mastered the EP at The Tomato Farm Studio. Greg also co-produced this EP with Škan.
It is fortunate that Greg, and Jason were involved with this EP, as both made tremendous contributions to the outcome of what one will hear on, "The Old King". Jason is a monstrous guitarist, as well as a formidable song writer. Greg is a bit of a sorcerer, and is highly regarded for his work as an engineer, and producer. This release would not have been what it is without their involvement.
I encourage people to check out Jason's band, "Course of Ruin" at http://CourseofRuin.bandcamp.com, and for other bands to check out Greg's work at http://TheTomatoFarmStudio.com.
So you have any plans to play some venues to promote your music ?
David: Hell yeah! We're working on a live set, can't wait to bring it forth to the people!
Jo: Yes, we've been rehearsing the live material. We will be performing early 2014. It will be a moment before we are ready to present ourselves live, but once we begin we will continue to play shows frequently With intensions of spreading our campaign throughout the world.
Dan: We are planning to perform our first show 2014, as well as the SXSW Music Conference in Austin (TX) in March, and definitely a tour to follow shortly thereafter.
Where do you hope to be in say 5 years from now ?
David: Touring the world and living comfortably.
William: Not sure where we will be, but writing and touring is definitely on the agenda.
Dan: Writing, performing, and touring with these gentlemen as well as entering a higher form of consciousness.
Jo: Without a doubt, the continuation of compositions, and touring. We look forward to the days to come.
Is there something that you would like to add to this interview that I might have missed asking but you would like people to know about Škan ?
Dan: We merely begun to harness our full potential and capabilities into this band. We're eager to write new music, and tour. Definitely keep up with us on social media site, and come see our live performances soon.
Jo: There is much to come from Škan. As Dan said, when we tour to your area, come out and join us.
Thank you so much for doing this interview with us here at Metaltitans, we wish you much success in Škan .
Dan: It's been an honor, and a pleasure. Thank you very much for your support, and admiration.
Jo: You're welcome, and thank you. We look forward to the not so distant future.
William: Thank you.
David: Thank you for the support.