Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Skaly. Together we discussed their relationship with music, their favorite spoken word poets, their influences, metaphysics, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing today?
I’m okay thank you! A little bit of stress because I’m currently visiting my family in Israel and there were bombs going down in the night, but it’s all quiet now and I’m focusing on my work at the moment, will soon go out to a friend’s birthday party.
2. Mustard wonders what your relationship with music was growing up.
I started songwriting when I was 4 years old. My Dad always played guitar, my brother played piano and my Mom wrote poetry. I used to sit my parents down and ask them to write lyrics, used my Dad’s old recorder to record melodies I came up with before I knew how to write words or music. Later, I started learning voice, piano and music harmony, and started doing band and strings arrangements at age 16, and moved to London at 19, graduated from BIMM London in 2020.
3. You are a composer, arranger, singer/songwriter, producer, and spoken word poet. Which came first? When it comes to your creative process, how do these intertwine?
I’m a songwriter and composer first, then a producer and arranger, then singer, writer and spoken word poet.
The song or composition is the basis to everything, it’s the thing that guides me how to sing and makes up the building structure of a musical arrangement. My productions also include music videos production and direction and styling / branding for photoshoots. I don’t always work alone, I had the pleasure of working with a few skilled and talented sound engineers, players, collaborative arrangers, cinematographers, video editors, photographers and more.
4. Who are some of your favorite spoken word poets? Who would you consider some of your influences?
Arlo Parks, Isabella Dorta and Halsey (whenever Halsey does spoken word). I’m inspired by their creativity and passion, their nature inspired metaphors and how their words paint an imaginary photo but also, are very clear and have a direct and bold emotional impact.
5. Is there a song, album, or poem that had a significant impact on you? Could you share more?
The 2nd Law by Muse, the incredible mix of electronics and orchestral musuc with that insanely powerful heartfelt voice of Matt Bellamy, that inspired me to go after strings arrangements more in my own music and to give my all with vocal performance.
Soviet Kistch by Regina Spektor for its daring anti folk approach, the unexpected songwriting, voice and piano techniques. It made me break boundaries in my writing and voice, get out of the box creatively and it inspired me to be playful in music, to really play.
Long Way Down by Tom Odell, Parachutes by Coldplay, Some Kind of Peace by Ólafur Arnalds, Infections of a Different Kind by Aurora, The Whole Story by Kate Bush and Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos.
6. Regina Spektor, Bright Eyes, and Bon Iver are some of your influences. Which song of theirs do you recommend humans check out? How do each influence you artistically?
Humans should absolutely check out Blue Lips by Regina Spektor, Ladder Song by Bright Eyes and Re:Stacks by Bon Iver. Careful, you might cry, but you’ll feel better after that, so whenever you’re ready.
7. Your debut single “Get Well Soon” was written during a difficult time but provides hope for the listener. What advice would you give to those who may be struggling from anxiety or COVID19? How did this song help with the healing process?
The best advice I can give to people suffering from anxiety is to allow themselves to be scared, not to block that emotion. Let the feeling happen, the crying, shaking, however your body responds, and then, after the feeling had passed, only then you can rationalise, try to understand if therapy is something you’d like to do, or maybe a relationship or a habit or even a job needs to change or be let go of. Be brave and find yoir balance of sensitivity to self and yet brutal honesty so you can truly heal.
Your health must come first to anything, always. Writing Get Well Soon was healing in itself, it calmed me down and made me feel validated that I can have a positive influence on people while I was experiencing a very deep level of insecurity.
8. Would you say your music falls underneath each realm of metaphysics? When did your interest in metaphysics begin?
My music is often a tool to process emotions and complex ideas, be it, a relationship I struggle with due to my neurodiversity or traumas, or a metaphysical concept like, if consciousness is a physical storm in the brain or an energy connected to a different dimension of space and interacts with the physical body. My fascination with metaphysics started when I was a small child but really expanded when I was 16, I discovered the book Cosmic Code by Heinz R. Pagles and I fell in love. Now, metaphysics is a guide, I always try to look at the world from the perspective of physical laws in nature, like inertia, gravity, quantum entanglement, thermodynamics and more, or in other cases through the lense of aesthetics, the philosophy of beauty my Dad taught me my whole life growing up, in music, styling, even jewellery making, and I take the values of balance, texture, drama and harmony to many more things life
(he’s a great artist and architect).
9. A call for climate action can be found throughout your discography. Why is it important for humans to take care of the environment? Could you share more about your connection with nature?
For me it’s not about humans taking care of the environment, we are the environment. We breathe it, eat it, drink it, see it, touch it, be it. I can’t even go out of the house without a mask anymore as I am especially sensitive to pollution. Of course, I care deeply for nature and animals as well, they are my friends, my connection with the world whenever I struggle in my relationships especially. But this is a crisis of human life, controlled by large companies and governments that know very well that they will already be dead by the time that this entire planet gets extremely more chaotic and difficult live in for us, the younger generations, and who disregard the already deadly influences of climate change on people in so.e parts of the world today. You can already see the misery of farmers all around the world, the struggle to grow food, the levels of dust and smoke in the air, the weather extremes even in a place like the UK, we just had the hottest summer and then the coldest winter in many years. And if I can’t reason with some people, maybe, maybe I can make them feel, and then they’ll be more open to understand, empathise and heal from their own pain, and to heal this planet and our society.
10. Your latest single “Snow for the first time” tells an incredible story. Was this inspired by an actual experience of yours? For those who have not seen or touched snow, how would you describe it?
Snow for the First Time is a story of an abusive relationship, and more specifically, a situation he and I had in snow. I realised he never saw snow so we took a trip to the only place with snow in Israel’s winter, mountain Hermon. What started as me wanting to do something sweet for him, and have fun together, quickly turned to him repeatedly throwing snow balls at me, much, much longer than the first minute of it being a 2 sided couples game. It quickly turned into bullying, I was in pain amd freezing but he didn’t care. Snow’s lyrics don’t make much sense, because back then, I couldn’t make sense, I felt as if I was going insane. I was in love with a person that abused me, and we were teens, I had no idea my pain was because of him, I just thought there was something wrong with me. With that said, if you’ve never seen snow, don’t be discouraged, snow is beautiful and soft, I love it so much, just go with someone you trust, someone who would care if you don’t feel well, and have fun together.
11. What is next for Skaly?
I’ve stopped believing I have control over life, instead, I have a direct influence, not control, so I don’t necessarily know the answer. My direct influence is that I will do the best art I can create with amazing people and reach as many more people I can reach with it every day. Release more singles, then the album and poetry audiobook, I’ll produce a very important music video this March and release it soon after that, working on my 2nd album and book already. I’ll influence life to be creative and successful in joy, health and positive influence on others to the best of my ability, and life, or the universe, will show me its response as the time passes and things progress.
12. Where can readers listen to your music?
Anywhere they listen to music! YouTube, Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, Deeper, Tidal, Napster and all else, just look for Skaly and the name of any released track: Hopes, Get Well Soon, Like a Stranger and Snow for the First Time.