I met Skyler Hitchcox outside of a a dark and dusty music venue in Denver, Colorado. It was the first year for the Goldrush Music Festival and I was sitting on the curb of Broadway waiting for the next band to start. I looked over and saw a daringly drunk and bearded man sitting next to me. I commented on how much I liked his beard and asked if he was having a good time. We exchanged a few more thoughts and then realized he was Silver Antlers, the next band that I was waiting for.
We kept in touch and almost three years later, Silver Antlers released it's fourth album "All a River" in February of this year. The hazy, shoegaze-y album reveals a raw and deeper side of Silver Antlers than previous works. (Hitchcox's solo project began in 2008). A very emotionally charged album, Hitchcox explains his inspiration, his modest recording set up and making peace.
Where did you get your inspiration from for this album?
A lot of the inspiration came from records I was really excited about at the time. Slowdive "Souvlaki", Grouper "Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill", any Stars of the Lid or Windy & Carl, and a lot of stuff my good friends were working on (Stag Hare, Seven Feathers Rainwater, Lake Mary, so many other,) but mostly from things I was dealing with at the time.
I would rather not give away too much, but a lot of the songs were a sort of therapy session for myself. Lyrically, I was kind of trying to give myself some sort of advice. The opening line of the album being "Let it go," was kind of the big line to try and shake myself and just tell myself to not dwell on things. "Valleys" was the first song I stated recording, and it was definitely me trying to tell myself to move on from a somber spot in my life.
This album is intuitively emotional, where did you pull these "feelings" from?
A lot of it is from events I'd rather not publicize too much. I sort of imagined trying to realize the feeling of seeing yourself in a mirror after having cried for quite some time, or looking at a photo of yourself when you were really happy for one reason or another and realizing you just aren't there any longer. One of the big things that really brought something out was my cat passing away that I'd had longer than I could even remember.
"Beneath the Flower Garden" was titled after where he was buried at my parent's house in their back yard. I was mixing the track during a week I'd taken off from work, and he got really sick/was really old, so I spent a week with him until he eventually stopped breathing in my arms. The whole thing really fucked me up. It was this harsh reminder of mortality that had never really hit me before. I'd never really had a fear of death until then.
As Silver Antlers, how does this relate to things you've done in the past and what kind of a sound you're hoping to strive for?
In the beginning, SA was this sort of dark noisy/doom/folk thing, but there was a point where I was kind of trying to make music that I thought of as Summer-y, or maybe even a little more light-hearted. Maybe I was trying to trick myself into something. I dunno. I feel like this is the first album of mine that I've really tried to come to terms with who/what/where I am and try to make peace with it, whether I myself, am at peace or not. That's a lot of where the cover art comes from. These songs come from a time of a lack of peace, and let's face it, the world is a pretty bleak place with very little peace at the moment. I think a lot of people see that, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not.
What was the recording process like for this album? (where,how)
I recorded the album on a very modest setup mostly at my parent's house in West Point, Utah. I had a small recording studio there and would record ideas here and there when I was over there. The ideas started to blossom, but were left unattended for a little while. I decided to bring all of my gear to a house I was living at in Salt Lake and try and get everything pieced together. It took a while, but was finished after a year or so of sitting on it. I sort of thought it was shit until about two or three months before I was "done." Then I was like "It's done! It's good! Now let's move on..."
Are you touring anytime soon?
I would love to, but at the moment I just don't have the money. Tell all of your friends I need their money? Tell them to buy the album? I don't know. I'm bad at those things. I'm hoping to get out that way [Colorado] to see my Lake Mary pals in the near future. We'll see?