Skydoll are a brand new band hailing from Minneapolis and together with Timotha Lanae, they’re seducing soulful fans with their outstanding debut single, ‘Feel You’. DMCWORLD checks in…
Interview by Ratha Gud
Hi Skydoll welcome to DMCworld! Where are you in the world right now?
Hello DMCWORLD! We are very happy to be here! Paul is in his adopted second home of Amsterdam and the rest of us lads are keeping things funky back in Minneapolis.
What was the first piece of music you heard today?
Paul: “Candyman” by the Mary Jane Girls. Great track! Some days, I just gotta hear it. Immediately puts a smile on my face and a groove in my booty.
Brandon: “29 #Strafford APTS” by Bon Iver
Mac Gregor: “Not Human”, a newer track from Swedish musician and visual artist, Jonna Lee (Ionnalee). I really admire both her vocal and visual output as a solo artist and her collaboration with Claes Björklund, (Iamamiwhoami).
How did you first get together?
First, it was Paul and Mac Gregor who started getting together on Monday nights to blow off steam and have a little fun over some LinnDrum beats, analog synth patches, many Peroni beers and even more nicotine lozenges. Side note, Mac Gregor is aspiring to be a nicotine lozenge user in recovery. Then Paul ran into Brandon who was dj’ing in a club in downtown Minneapolis. Paul and Brandon knew each other from being in local Indie Rock bands. They discussed their shared love of old skool disco, funk and electronica. Paul invited Brandon to drop by the following Monday night. Things clicked and we started creating ideas for songs immediately. Skydoll was born.
How would you describe your sound?
Skydoll’s sound is Modern Soul with some Soulful House and Lounge/Chill Out elements mixed in for good measure.
So you’re all from Minneapolis, this must have had a profound effect on your music living in a city so culturally rich in music?
Absolutely. Specifically, “The Minneapolis Sound” was and is a huge influence on us. We were awed by Alexander O’Neal, Andre Cymone, Morris Day, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis of Flyte Tyme and many others in that scene. Growing up in the shadow of such monster talent was inspiration unmeasured. And, of course, the most influential of all was Prince. You cannot live in the same city as an artist like Prince and not have it shape you as a musician. The bar is set so high by him that all local musicians strive for that degree of musicianship. None of us ever get there, but because of Prince, we know where we should be. Prince’s talent, drive and genius were one of a kind. Skydoll and likely all Minneapolis musicians are better at our craft because of working in Prince’s massive and glorious purple shadow.
You’ve just self released your beautiful debut single ‘Feel You’ with renowned soulful songstress Timotha Lanae. How did you hook up with Timotha and what can we expect to hear musically?
We had actually seen Timotha perform months prior to meeting her. She was singing with soul superstar Alexander O’Neal at First Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis. Side note, First Avenue is the club that is featured in Prince’s movie, Purple Rain. We were dazzled by her and often discussed how amazing it would be to work with a vocalist such as that. We thought it would be incredible to meet her one day and have her sing on something of ours. We had mostly put this notion out of our minds when months later we were hanging out at Creation Studios in South Minneapolis with famed bassist Billy Peterson, who played on Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks.” Billy urged us to drop by the music venue Icehouse later that evening to meet a vocalist he had been working with. We got to Icehouse, Billy was at the bar, and in walks the vocalist. Timotha, the very singer we had been amazed by months earlier at First Avenue. How is that for the law of attraction at work? So fortunate! With “Feel You,” you can expect a soulful groove, soaring strings, warm Rhodes piano and lots of ambient synth ear candy sprinkled in just the right spots. All accompanying the stunning vocal performance by Star Soulstress, Timotha Lanae.
Do have you plans to work together again with her in the future?
As a matter of fact, we are excited to announce exclusively here on dmcworld plans to work on a follow up release with Timotha Lanae! We had such a blast working together on “Feel You,” that we all jumped at the chance to collaborate on new material. Hoping for a late 2017 release date if we can all coordinate our schedules.
You’ve also got some super remixes on the single package from Sandy Turnbull and Opolopo, was it important for you to reach the dance music market and are you pleased with the results?
We are big fans of Sandy and Opolopo. It is an honor to have them remix our debut single. We love House, Deep House, Soulful House, Disco, Nu Disco, and Tech House. It is very important to us to reach the dance music market. We really want Skydoll to be part of this exciting scene. Sandy and Opolopo smashed their remixes out of the park! We couldn’t be happier with them. Sandy got real deep with his mix and it complements the original mix beautifully. Opolopo delivered the grooviest, funkiest remix we could have imagined. We are still buzzing over his outro to the track!
How do you go about the writing process and who does what in the studio?
It is usually Paul who comes up with the core idea of a song, often composed on his Rhodes piano at 3am when he can’t sleep, jetlagged after flying in from Amsterdam. Paul then brings the track to Mac Gregor and Brandon and together they flesh out the track.
Why was it important to release the record yourselves as opposed to releasing with an established label?
We all come from the Indie Scene in one way or another and wanted to stay true to our Indie roots on this initial debut.
Is Skydoll purely a studio based project or are you looking to build a repertoire and do live shows?
At the moment, Skydoll is a studio based project. We do have aspirations; however, to make it a live experience as well.
Who else would you most like to make a collaboration with or remix for?
We would love to work with Joey Negro, Lisa Shaw, Sean McCabe, Kaskade, Detroit Swindle, Miguel Migs, Richard Earnshaw, Late Night Alumni, and our Minneapolis hometown compatriot, Chuck Love.
Looking back, what piece of precious advice would you give to yourself when you were first starting out as musicians?
Just have fun with it! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your project. Enjoy the process. The best material will come out of having a blast creating it.
Which top 5 artists are currently rocking Skydoll’s boat at the moment?
Joey Negro’s latest release, “Produced With Love,” Opolopo’s new “Bits n Bobs” EP is slammin! Late Night Alumni and Kaskade’s “Love Song,” Sean McCabe and DJ Spen’s “This Hot,” and a track we literally get goose bumps to every time we hear it, Thomas Blondet’s “Blue Birds.”
We come to your house and raid your record collection, which embarrassing record do you need to chuck out the window as we arrive?
Paul: “Christmas with the Chipmunks”.
Brandon: “Ten” by Pearl Jam.
Mac Gregor: Oh my….hmmm. I’m admittedly rather unrepentant in the curation of my record collection. Some may scoff at discovering such “brazen” indulgences like Modern Talking or Sandra, “In the Heat of the Night.” I believe everyone should have “guilty” pleasures. Why not have Liza Minnelli’s “Results” comfortably nestled right next to Throbbing Gristle’s “Something Came over Me” or a Charlie Parker record? I’d rather put the kettle on and let dmcworld have full access. I would expect nothing less than the occasional furrowed brow.
Which record makes you say “Damn, I wish I’d made that”?
Paul: Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On.” Few can create a masterfully beautiful album musically that also acts as a social commentary for the times.
Brandon: “Damn the Torpedoes” by Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers
Mac Gregor: David Bowie, “Scary Monsters.”
What’s next for Skydoll is there an album in the pipeline?
Definitely! We are writing a lot of new material that we are really excited about. We can’t wait to get it out there to our fans! Thank you for the opportunity to talk with you DMCWORLD! May peace, love and GROOVE be with you and all of your readers!
Skydoll ft Timotha Lanae ‘Feel You’ is out now on Skydoll Records