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Infidel Interview #137: Severed Skies

First of, just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. Could you start off by giving a little information about you to the audience? Whatever you feel comfortable with, but name, age, and where you live would be pretty standard?

My name is Bryan Sage, im 36 years old and I live in Richmond, Virginia.

I was born in Paterson, New Jersey and moved to Virginia Beach at 8 years old... been there ever since.

How do you enjoy where you live? Is there a vibrant music community where you are? Would you say you find that your local scene influences your attitude and/or creativity?

I just moved to Richmond over 7 months ago and I love it. The music culture and scene is very diverse and there are usually tons of good artist that come perform in Richmond. My music is influenced by many different artists mostly artist from around the world, but there are alot of good artists in Richmond that definitely enjoy seeing play live when I can, hopefully I will even perform live or collaborate with them in time.

What does Severed Skies mean to you in 2018? And how does that compare to what the project meant to you when it was formed?

Severed Skies if my first solo project I ever done so I wasn't expecting much or anything big to come out of it....or to make it as far as it has by now. But I love music and writing so that's why I continue.

What do you see in the near, and far, future for your creative output?

As far as the future for my music, hopefully I can play or perform some live shows with some other great artists, collaborations, maybe soundtracks for compilations or movies.. I'm a huge horror, sci fi

Do you consider yourself to be part of a particular sound or scene? What is your thoughts on the nature of genres and styles, and do you have any particular ones which you find to your enjoyment more, listening and/or production-wise?

I think that Severed Skies is a compilation or fusion of alot of influences..... pretty much based on what i like listening to most of the time.... industrial, dark electro, dark ambient, EBM, and synthwave.... but when in the mood I do listen to other styles such as post punk, metal, classic rock, old school hip hop, and latin music.

Would you say that your choice to pursue music has changed your life since you started? Would you say that creativity has evolved you spiritually, emotionally, or logically?

I think writing music has expanded my mind more than ever before.... I used to play drums in various bands growing up and it was great but not on the level of writing my own music... I think that writing mas expanded my psyche and mind to more potential that I ever have yet in my life. I feel very enlightened, creative, and at times spiritual when I create some new parts of music depending on the mood of the song.

What would you say are your favorite themes and topics that inspire you to compose? What draws you to those themes?

I try to create more of a surreal, spiritual, sci fi, feel for my music... also an 80s infused sound with a dark twist... i've always been drawn to dark music.

What would you say are your biggest influences when it comes to art and music? Are there any bands that you would say struck you with the chord that inspired you to peruse your current path of musical aspirations?

Some of my favorite artist are H.R. Giger, Bruce Pennington, Frank Frazetta, and Brzezinkski... There are alot of artists that have influenced me growing up... Velvet Acid Christ, Hocico, Wumpscut, Front 242, NIN, Clan of Xymox, The Cure, Sisters or Mercy, Ministry.... etc...

Are you musically self taught? Or have you had mentors along the way to help you develop?

I grew up learning to play drums at a friends house until I got a drum kit in high school. I took lessons playing keys through a piano teacher for about a year.. then I went off on my own.

When it comes to composing music, do you approach things with a clear vision in mind, or do you prefer to let songs feel themselves out? Do you have any particular techniques or tricks you use to keep yourself creative and consistent?

When I'm writing music I usually tend to have a clear and open mind..... the songs I write tend to flow on their own depending on improvisations on the fly I create... I do at times vision some ideas or concepts for parts of a song of how I want it to be then it grows from there..

When it comes to making music it can be difficult to balance atmosphere, song progression, musicality, and excitement. Do you have any tricks, techniques, or methods that you commonly use to help your music sound coherent and engaging?

Usually when I write songs I want them to be fresh and different from the last one.... I don't intend to be an artist that writes the same sounding material over and over again... gets boring quick... and you don't grow and learn much from doing that.... so keeping songs unique and different from each other is good for me.

​​Do you spend a lot of time crafting your own sounds? Or do you value song crafting and effects tweaking more? Or do you find it's a balance between the two? What' your relationships with presets? When you make music are you primarily a hardware or software oriented musician? Or do you do a fusion of both? Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music?

I use ableton and Komplete so I usually like selecting VSTs and modifying them to my will........I also have a digital Yamaha mox 6 which I use to play live and help writing parts. I learn towards software more but I'm looking for some new hardware that will help me write and give a different sound... preferably an analog synth with good rich deep sounds, looking into a Waldorf, Moog, or Korg.

Do you ever find it difficult to balance the creative and technical aspects of musical creation? How do you strike the balance for the need to craft and tweak your effects and sounds, in contrast to actually just getting the song itself created with structure and melody? What sort of element of creation do you prefer, the sonic shaping or the song creation?

Sometimes, it's difficult creating what you want to hear with the technical aspects involved in doing so... especially depending on your expertise and experience with your DAW and in creating effects... song writing is big learning curve and always a constant learning process.

Playing live shows, recording new tracks, attempting to go live the life that gives you the experiences that inspires it all... it can be difficult to balance the time. Do you have any particular methods that you use to keep yourself focused or balanced in your direction?

Just like anything... if you want or love something.... you will always make time for it. I work full time 5 days a week during the day, but I am a night person so it kind but I manage and try to spend a few hours during the week at night....I take a nap after work then get up and write for a few hours till almost 2 or 3 am sometimes.... but I do that like twice a week until the weekend hits... then I have all weekend to spend on writing if I like.

For fans who have not seen you yet, when it comes to your live show, how would you describe yourself thematically and visually? Are you an energy and audience driven band in the live atmosphere? Or would you consider yourself to be more thematic or presentation oriented?

When I play live I try to have as much energy as I can..... I never thought I would be doing vocals live but here I am lol... so I like moving around the stage and moving to the momentum of the music.... giving the mood some drive for the audience... and I throw lights on top of that too.

When it comes to performing, what are your favorite sort of venues to play in, and what are your favorite areas to tour? If you could tour with any other band in the world who would it be and why? What are some of your favorite memories of touring?

I like playing in venues that support or usually play a similar type of music of what I write... so I know people there will appreciate the music more than an average bar.... If I could pick a band to tour with... Youth Code would be amazing to play with... their energy, aggressive sound, and vocals and something similar to my realm that I would love to be a part of.. I remember my first Severed Skies show in February 2017 during the week....It was a Monday night i think and it was kinda last minute being booked.... there were probally a dozen people in the bar total... but I had a good time and it felt like a rite of passage doing my first solo show... I was satisfied knowing that I could do it and did.

​​Any really nice venues in different states or even other countries like Europe would be amazing to play.... Europe is the motherland for electronic music... always has...always will be... I think that lots of people there would appreciate the music alot more than the scene in America.

You've had an opportunity with your rising success to play a series of concerts and festivals with some other high profile bands. What are some of your favorite places to play, and bands to play with, and why?

Youth Code, Perturbator, Drab Majesty, VAC, Hocico, Clan of Xymox would be some bands I would love to play with because I respect and love their music alot.

Have you had any particular moment(s) that you would like to share, that you would consider to be a crowning achievement in your musical career so far, or moments that you would say truly continue to inspire you to pursue your artistic path?

I was put on a local radio station the night before one of my shows... that was really cool... I never thought I would have my music played on radio...

I see alot of artist that have grown over the years small and big acts...... it really is amazing to see one's progression of skill, style and writing especially when you been listening to them evolve over time.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?

My biggest obstacle so far was pretty much writing my first solo song.... it was called Symbiote, I was nervous, not experienced, and curious to see how it came together... it has already been almost 4 years since I wrote my first song... and now I have my second album release approaching soon.

Outside of Electronic music, what other genres could you see yourself composing music in? Or should I say, do you see yourself inspired by? Do you have any other musical projects that you are involved with, or do you have any other musicians or artists that you collaborate with in some capacity?

I could definitely see myself writing music scores for movies or soundtracks..... quite a few people have even told me that my music should be in movies and scores when they see my play live... and I love movies so that would be cool... I had someone a while back want to compose from Canada... but we never got down to doing it... I am definitely open to collaborations especially with someone is compassionate about music as I am and that can bring a cool element or accent the music more.

What sort of new bands have come out in recent years that have caught your attention? Is there any bands out there you see yourself, or would like to, remix or collaborate with in the future?

I got into retrowave and synthwave over the past 4 years or so.. and I love it. There are so many cool artists that write really good material. Perturbator, Dance With the Dead, Cluster Buster, VHS Glitch, Lazerhawk... etc...

​​Outside of music, what are some of your favorite past times and emotional engagements?

When I'm relaxing from music, I usually love watching sci-fi, horror, fantasy movies.... usually old school ones from the 70s, 80s, 90s... I love arcades... there is a barcade in my town which I love... tons of good old school games, pinball, and beer on tap.....sounds like bliss to me lol. I'm alos a big PC gamer so FPS games like Doom, counterstrike, quake, alien isolation....etc.. I grew up on FPS games lol.

Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?

I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my interview and the Infidel Netwerk for having me as a guest, thank you!!

Have a good one and until next time... peace.

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