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November 24, 2015Feature

A singer/song-writer who evolved with the producers she came in contact with, Karen Sheridan explains how Slow Skies was born

There’s a magical feel to your music, but was this the type of music you started out making?

Oh cool, thank you. No one has ever said it’s magical so I’m delighted! Well I’ve always written songs really simply on my guitar or piano and then from that really paired back place I wanted to create something more when it comes to production.

When I first started writing songs most of them were terrible so I couldn’t really do anything to make them presentable when it came to production so I just scrapped them.

Over time and working with Conal (Herron) I now pretty much know what I want things to sound like and what songs I want to get rid of and what songs I want to keep.

I’ve always been drawn to creating soundscapes and visuals with music and I’m really inspired by film scores and orchestral music so I guess that might feed into my music having that feel to it.

Essentially I always want to get away from the singer/songwriter thing because I just find that a bit boring. I love working with other people and playing in a band set up!

How did your relationship with the rest of the band start?

Well when I went to study music in London I knew I wanted to create a project for my music. I wanted a fuller sound than just guitar and vocals but I didn’t want to be locked in to always having drums, bass and guitar if you know what I mean? So I sort of created Slow Skies with that idea in mind so I can work with people but it’s not fixed and it can involve anything depending on the gig or recording.

I met Conal in London and we started working on producing the first EP and we have worked together ever since. I also play with Pat from I Have a Tribe and Micheal and Brian from Meltybrains?. They are so great and I love what they all bring to the rehearsal room.

Everybody is so different and brings something new and that’s what’s exciting for me. Once I have the songs written the best part is hearing them with a band.

We also have a lot of fun when we get together. Way more fun than I’d have just playing on my tod!

"I've always been drawn to creating soundscapes and visuals with music and I'm really inspired by film scores and orchestral music so I guess that might feed into my music having that feel to it"

Feel Good Lost and Slow Skies looks like a glove-to-hand combination. How did this relationship start?

Haha that’s a funny one. I actually emailed Brendan Canty a couple of years ago because I stumbled across his website and I loved it so much.

The design was so nice. I was looking at designing my own website at the time and wanted to ask him a few things about how he had done his. I actually never ended up getting my website together but we made a music video together soon after that and became really good friends!

Are there any artists associated with Feel Good Lost that you’d like to collaborate with?

They are all deadly… how is a girl to choose? I mean I pretty much have “Sweet Dreaming” by Young Wonder on repeat so if I could sing that with them some day, my life would be made.

I also love Talos’ new song “In Time”. It’s a real gem.

There’s a distinctly folk element to your music, laced with many other sounds! How would you describe the Slow Skies project?

I would say it’s atmospheric, slow burning indie folk. Or something like that, haha! I’m not sure… there is no motive in the way I write or want things to sound like I just go with a hunch and then wherever it goes from there that’s what it sounds like. But if you were gonna call it something I would say it’s soft and fluffy and full of feelings.

Nowhere else in the world seems to be producing the same calibre of strong, ambient music. Why do you think Ireland is home to producers and artists like yourselves, Mmoths, Young Wonder, Kobina… The list goes on!

Hmmm… I would say that it’s because Irish people are class really! The landscape probably has a lot to do with it actually and the music tradition here is really strong. Even just in Dublin, every second person you meet is a musician so you can be influenced by the people around you and inspired by them. It’s like a knock on effect.

Also I kind of feel like everyone helps each other out here so it’s not very competitive or anything so that probably leads to more and more people feeling brave enough to do what they want when it comes to making music.

Your music seems like it’s made for festivals like Body&Soul, how was your summer of gigs?

We did Body&Soul this year and we also played Mitchelstown caves which was epic. Yeah, I love festivals but I kinda think that Slow Skies is for a certain time at a music festival. Probably when you’re hungover and just need to sit there and close your eyes… that’s when we should be playing.

We played Friday night at Body&Soul and I kinda felt like people wanted to go a bit crazy and we don’t allow for too much craziness at our gigs, so in hindsight it would have been better to play later in the weekend.

We are about the festival chill time not the festival crazy time.

"I would say it's atmospheric, slow burning indie folk. Or something like that"

You’ve played Other Voices, HWCH, the main stage at Body&Soul at EP, you’re sort of running out of Irish accomplishments! What’s next?

Haha! I would love to tour Europe at some point and just play for new people so hopefully that will be next!

There have been three Slow Skies EPs, all receiving a great response. Is there an album coming?

Yes, yes, yes! I reckon I’m between half way and three quarters way through the writing of an album now.

I’ve written so many songs in the past year, I’m now just trying to weed out the ones I really love and that mean something to me. I don’t want to rush it but i reckon it will be born in 2016 and I’m so excited!

Photos: Katarzyna Kawecka

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