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Clear SKIES Ahead

Alie Albury & Jericho Tozer are the two constituents that together form the band SKIES. I met them while they were on a short tour, they dropped into Farnham for a show and I caught up with them at the venue.

They are probably currently at their most prominent point in their career having released an album called Is it all in our heads? plus an exciting show they have announced in their hometown, this is to present their album with a backing of a 30 piece 'Bradstow Symphony Orchestra'. This is on the 11th May at Quarterhouse in Folkestone. I asked the pair how did this show come together?

  Jericho: It was inspired a long time ago when we discovered a notated music piece written in 1895 by a family member who died when he was 23, I felt inspired by that, feeling my musical connection. Then long story short, I thought I'd love to conduct some kind of orchestra and over time we were getting the contacts together.  Then we sourced someone to turn all our backing tracks into compositions he also got in touch with someone with an orchestra

  Alie: It was just that someone said they wanted to work with the band to do this type of event and we approached him and it all came together quite strangely.

  Jericho: We worked with someone from Manchester who did something similar and we thought we could do something bigger so we we booked this.

  Alie:  We're quite a part of a creative core in Folkestone of self help artists where we get help with venues and it became a lot more doable and affordable, that has really helped.

  Jericho previously explained that he had a relative from the 19th century who was not only his inspiration for the Orcehestra Show but also has a track credited on the album called Prelude. This was in fact Jericho's Great Grandad's Nephew called Gilbert Tozer so the family musical line seems to run true from Victorian days to the current time in 2024.


Skies started out about ten years past, with varying group members and numbers but narrowed down to just the two of them in about 2017

RTS: how did  it become just the two of you?

  Alie: Jericho was the 6th member of my band as a synth player and then we ended up that we had a similar vision and we kind of down sized then we had session guys in until we played a gig somewhere the session guys couldn't make, so we did the gig using backing tracks.  Afterwards a lot of people said we prefer the sound you're getting with just the backing tracks so from there on that's what we did putting all the backing tracks onto an ipod shuffle.  

RTS: Who is the lyrical engineer for your songs?

  Alie: I write a lot whereas I like Jezz’s style more the way he writes. I like his style as my lyrics are more obvious I can see us using his lyrics more in future but up to now it is a case that Jezz is the music and I am the lyrics.

RTS: What musical direction do you see yourself going in next?

  Jericho: A similar sound with maybe a more Lenny Kravitz type drums, a bit more “chuggy”

  Alie: I think there's going to be a lot more balance there is more open space though it is hard to explain exactly, it feels more refreshing but still us. I can't see us changing that much. 

  Jericho: We have always written songs not in any particular style just how it comes but since about 2015 we have worked with a producer, mostly mixing what we have recorded with a more rocky sound which has given us the sound of SKIES. We tried different producers previously but now have a producer we can trust and pass our songs to and say Ok you do your thing.


RTS: With the new album out for a few months now, are you seeing an increase in footfall at gigs and more interest?

  Alie: I think it has created a change, as there is something in an album where people can have enough time to get to know you. Up to now we have released something like 30 songs over EP’s. It feels different now people think you mean business with an album. It is also an investment, we have invested in an album so in return people invest their time in us which is a good thing, we hope to get into the whole album cycle thing. It buys us time to look at what we want to do next. In terms of footfall,  the album tour we just did on returning to venues we have been to before we see people coming to see us. There are pockets and gaps that seem to be being filled where more people now have heard us and say they have seen us somewhere else. I think we are getting more connections.


RTS: On the new album is there a song that you both feel that you have nailed what you are about and makes you proud to have produced?

  Jericho: Pretty much all of the songs on this album were written 10 years ago, some of the recent songs we have released were written later than the songs on this album, there was a backlog which then became this work. Whited out window the last track which is like a poem and builder, that for me has emotional depth. 

  Alie: I think you can only get away with doing tracks like that on an album where as an EP you only have say 4 songs when they only want to hear the single off it. For the album we felt we could include songs we wouldn’t normally and Whited out windows is one I am really glad we got to do. Though I am proud of the album as a whole Whited out window is the one with a special place in my heart.

RTS: That has to be a good sign that you both agree on the same track.


RTS: Who are your musical heroes and influences? 

  Alie: I feel that Chris Martin would be the one for me, short and snappy.

  Jericho:  I’d like 3 one being Chris martin, we recently saw him at Wembley, he is at a level I would love to get to, second would be my dad who took me along to all of his gigs as he is a singer, so he took me to a festival when I was 4. Third would be my uncle who made tapes for me of bands that I hadn’t heard of who are still some of my favourites such as Jimmy Eat World, All American Rejects, Brand New and Weezer plus Funeral For a Friend.


RTS: Favourite TV show

  Jericho: Any of Rick Steins programmes

  Alie: I really like Friends and I have to mention Murder she wrote which I used to watch when I came home from sixth form.

RTS: Reading any books of late?

  Jericho: The first book I enjoyed was a star wars book though I also enjoy self help books

RTS: Best new artist in the world rock today?

  Alie:  I’d say The Lottery Winners

  Jericho: For me I’d say Sam Fender, he is something different and telling a different story.

RTS: What is your favourite place you have been to in the UK?

  Jericho: Wells in Somerset, there is the cathedral and there is a Garden called the Bishops Palace Garden.

With those quick fire questions to finish, we are complete and have hopefully learnt a little of the duo's personality to add some colour to their wonderful music.Thanks to Alie and Jericho for spending some time to chat in a Farnham Pub.

Their show with a 30 piece orchestra is on Saturday 11th May with Tickets available here


Photographs by Dan Reddick

Review by Dan Reddick on behalf of RTS

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