Some bands play stadiums, others dodgy clubs and pubs, but Altered Sky – a rock band from Glasgow very much of the Biffy Clyro and Paramore mould – took ‘intimate venue’ to ridiculous levels last year playing homes of fans.
When I meet them today they are camped upstairs at Broadcast in Glasgow a few hours shy of their final UK tour date as Ross (bassist) explains the logic behind such an unorthodox itinerary “People on Vacation were doing a house party tour playing an acoustic set in living rooms and we thought we could do that” adding “fans really appreciate the connection I guess. It’s a lot closer than playing a gig”. Lead singer and hyper excitable Ana chips in “we learned we could fit lot of people into one room!”
The other members of the band in the stifling heat of the upstairs office at the venue are Ryan (guitar) Amy (drums) and Tara (guitarist) but they sit mostly silent as Ross and Ana do most of the talking. Last year the band managed to nab a spot on Bob Harris’s Apple Tree Sessions after a hopeful Tweet was picked up by Whispering Bob himself “he’s just like the king of music” exclaims Ana before adding with a hint of incredulity about meeting him “that’s the voice! That’s the body of the voice!”.
Tomorrow the group will support the mighty Big Country at Clydebank Town Hall “It’s our second time, actually” says Anna about the occasion “They’re so cool! Such lads, well, old lads actually!” before Ross quickly removes the foot from Ana’s mouth, observing “I think being in the presence of someone who has been there and done it, we can learn a lot; the way they carry themselves, the way they handle the show. They exude that experience”.
Altered Sky are still not at the stage where they can resign from their day jobs and even have to slog out a staggering 18 hours rehearsal per week when required “it fills up the time when you would be doing other things” acknowledges Ana “the practice studio becomes a second home”.
The hard working nature of the band is obvious and when I ask what’s the most important thing they could tell other aspiring rock acts, Ana advises “knowing [your] instrument inside out and really striving to be the top of your game. You have to have that effort on top to take it to the next level” with Ross explaining “playing with four other personalities makes a huge difference to how you play, that’s probably the most important thing to begin with”.
All that effort is beginning to pay off. On Kerrang radio the band were on the same play list as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath “why are we next to these people?!” laughs Ross; and soon they are trotting off on an Asian Tour. Since Asian music is my thang I ask if they are familiar with any bands from this neck of the woods; “One OK Rock” says Ana and after a slight pause sheepishly suggests Babymetal. If anything, this wakes Amy out of her Kraken-esque silence “oooooh Babymetal!” she coos while everyone else laughs.
So what’s all this effort and 6 hour rehearsal sessions and playing in fans houses all about? Is there a long term plan for all of this? Ana fills me in “I hope the band can really make a musical mark, not just in the UK. If can we maybe get across to America, have our second album out and have a growing fan base, a couple of really really good support tours, certainly in five years I want to be touring the world on our own headline show” before beaming “I can’t imagine doing anything else. We’re gonna do it!”
I think I’m pretty good at making predictions. I predicted Trump would turn out to be a massive douche bag and the unstoppable rise of a certain Japanese rock band. So here I’m making another one: keep an eye out for this bunch of crazy kids because they might be coming to a front room near you sooner than you think.
Altered Sky are on tour in Asia from 20th September till 18th October 2017 and are working on their next album.