Discovery: Slow Skies

Published May 7, 2013

ABOVE: SLOW SKIES’ KAREN SHERIDAN

Slow Skies lead singer Karen Sheridan’s voice isn’t easily forgotten. Dreamy and haunting vocals begin each and every Slow Skies track; and tend to stick around in your head thereafter. The Dublin-based band makes atmospheric music, which is accompanied by gorgeous harmonies and acoustic guitar. Slow Skies’ unique sound is driven by trans-coastal band members Karen Sheridan, Conal Herron, and Patrick O’Laoghaire, who make music that invites such diverse comparisons as Björk and Daughter. The title of the band’s sophomore EP, Close, also lends its name to the EP’s first single [below], which is imbued with lovely longing.

We spoke with Sheridan about her love of Foals, the closeness of Slow Skies, and sounding like Julia Stone.

FINDING THE RIGHT WORDS: Slow Skies. I don’t know, I kind of made it up one day. I think I read it somewhere. I just liked the way the two words looked together. I was trying to think of a band name for ages.

ON BEING JULIA STONE’S VOICE TWIN: Yes! A lot of people actually say that to me. I didn’t know who she was for a while. I really like her. I think she’s great. I don’t know if I think that myself. I was just talking with somebody yesterday about this. When I was studying music in London, we made the decision in my band that we sounded like a baby or granny: just a mix between the two. So, I don’t have an accurate description.

INSPIRATION: I don’t know. I often listened to musicals when I was younger. I would be singing around my school. I was in choirs. When I was living in Dublin, me and my friends made a band. We used to practice every week, and we were really bad. We loved it. It’s a really nice thing to be bonding over it—music in general. I was always kind of writing songs when I was younger. That’s when I decided I really liked making songs with other people and just creating music.

RECORDING AND EXPERIMENTING: We’re hoping to start work on that sometime soon, but we don’t know when. We really just want to keep doing as many gigs as we can. We want to record and keep experimenting, so hopefully we’ll be working on that soon. Just thinking about it, I can’t think about a day where I can’t write anything else.

SPREADING THEIR WINGS: We actually haven’t toured. We’re hoping to gain a lot more now. We’ve kept it in Dublin, and played a bunch of gigs over the years. We’re hoping to do more shows in Europe and then in America.

COMING TOGETHER: “Close” is about a togetherness, I suppose: of shared feelings and experiences, mostly about loss and change. It’s about the people in my life and the bonds I have with them and how they are sometimes difficult and strained, but ultimately so important to me. This EP is really personal to me. It started out with me writing in my room where I wrote “On the Shore” and ends with the song “Close,” which I wrote in a much more open way with Conal and then finished the lyrics in my room. It’s really indicative of a growth in my music and my life, I think. I feel such a closeness to Conal, and Patrick too, so really it’s just another step for us musically and as friends. I’m really excited about it. I write a lot of songs, but I don’t think about what they’re about. Then they disappear. Then I look at them afterwards and I’m like, “Oh yeah, that could be about that,” but I don’t really know.

IRISH INFLUENCE: Yeah, definitely. I think it’s so relaxed. I actually live in Dublin, which is a city. We do a lot of recording on the west coast. It’s really, really beautiful. It’s very easygoing. It’s very slow. It’s very quiet. The people are so nice. There’s no real pressure there. It’s a very creative place to work.

FAVORITE SONG ON CLOSE: Probably the song called “Close.” It’s what the EP is called, as well. It’s my favorite, because it’s a story of life and loss. I just really like that.

ON MEETING: Well, it started out as, I wrote all these songs. I wanted to add music to them. I had a lot of songs, and I wanted to record them. I literally needed a producer. So, Conal and I decided to record them together. It was an interesting way the project started. I didn’t want a singer/songwriter thing: I wanted a band. Then we met Patrick and we started recording. Pat just started playing with the vibe. Then we made an EP.

TOUR DREAMS: I’d love to tour with Foals. I think I’d tour with anyone that would tour with us. Anyone like Foals.

THE NEAR AND FAR FUTURE: I don’t have an idea of what we’re trying to do or if we’re trying to be serious. We are who we are. In the future, if we’re going to New York, I’d love to play in Radio City. I’d love to go to a Broadway show, maybe. Then go to a really cool gig somewhere in Brooklyn.

SLOW SKIES’ EP CLOSE IS OUT TOMORROW. FOR MORE ON THE BAND, PLEASE VISIT ITS FACEBOOK PAGE.