September 02. 2011 | By Jennifer Shields

Skysaw may have initially gained notoriety through former Smashing Pumpkins and current Skysaw drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, but their debut album Great Civilizations quickly drives attention to the chemistry and talent of the entire band. Fresh off their first headlining tour, frontman Mike Reina gives us a look inside the creative machine that is Skysaw. No bells and whistles here. It’s all about the music and what you see is what you get.

The Owl Mag: How would you describe your sound to people who’ve never heard it before?

Mike Reina: Melodic rock with a progressive feel.

The Owl Mag: When writing music where do you turn for inspiration?

M.R.: The closest guitar or piano. If I’m writing lyrics, I turn to the closest shower.

The Owl Mag: What is your songwriting process?

M.R.: For most of the songs, somebody came to the table with a general outline of the song and the band worked to tighten up arrangements and incorporate different tones through instrumentation.

The Owl Mag: What was the first show you ever played?

M.R.: We played an L.A. showcase at The Echo in March 2011. The first proper show was in Baton Rouge, the start of our tour with label-mates Minus the Bear.

The Owl Mag: If you could choose any band to tour with, big or small, who would it be?


The Owl Mag: Now that you’ve been on tour, what song do you find has the biggest impact on your audience?

M.R.: “Cathedral.”

The Owl Mag: How do you determine your setlist?

M.R.: Setlist is a balancing act of consistent dynamics throughout the set, me not having to jump up and down from piano to guitar too much as well as coherent key changes from song to song.

The Owl Mag: When you’re not making or playing music what are you doing?

M.R.: Thinking about making or playing music.

The Owl Mag: If I asked you to make a playlist for me what bands would I expect to see on it?

M.R.: Elliott Smith, Dylan, Lanois, Sparklehorse, Bowie, Wilco, Grandaddy, Radiohead, My Morning Jacket, Roger Waters, Eno.

The Owl Mag: Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?

M.R.: I never went through a metal phase, so… I think that means no.

The Owl Mag: What’s the one thing you really want people to know about Skysaw?

M.R.: We don’t try to sound a certain way. The music is what happens when we play together. We try to just let it be as natural as possible.

Listen to Skysaw‘s “No One Can Tell” here:

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