Hailing from Durham, North Carolina, Skylar Gudasz first appeared back in 2016 with the release of her debut album, Oleander. That record was the result of a lifetime spent surrounded by music; growing up in Virginia, Skylar was playing flute by the age of five, and taught herself to play guitar and piano soon after. Four years on from her debut album, four years which have seen her playing both her own and other people’s music around the world, Skylar has recently returned with her second album, Cinema.
Skylar has described Cinema as a record that is designed as much to sate her own desire for creativity as much as any listeners, thankfully it’s an offering that gives fans of her music much to admire. Like the art form its names comes from, Cinema is a record unafraid of tackling life’s heavier topics, Skylar exploring themes of life, love and death, all discussed with a flair for the dramatic. Skylar’s music seems to exist in a beautiful state of limbo, torn between the atmospheric tones of classic songwriters from Leonard Cohen to Joan Baez, and more contemporary alternative-pop artists like Angel Olsen or even Lana Del Rey. One of the most striking things about Cinema, is the ambition on show, take opening track Femme Fatale, while the vocals may be as prominent and ear-catching as any stripped back singer-songwriter, the backing here is vast swathes of sound, walls of electric guitars, pounding drums and shimmering choral vocals. Cinema is a record too that is unafraid to dip its toe into a variety of genres; Play Nice is a sashaying slice of Fleetwood Mac-like pop rock, the gorgeous Animals is a delightful piece of stripped-back folk, while Go Away is a piano-led power-pop track Sharon Van Etten would be proud of. Cinema is the sound of Skylar Gudasz taking everything to another level, a record that’s an ambitious, exciting statement of intent: the future for Skylar Gudasz couldn’t look more exciting.
FTR: For those who don’t know who is Skylar Gudasz?
I am a songwriter currently working out of Durham, NC. I play guitar, piano and sometimes the flute. I love to sing and harmonize, and to read. My favorite flower is currently ranunculus, but I’m also a fan of jo bells and oleander. In addition to my own solo work, I’ve been lucky enough to tour in a number of bands – Big Star’s Third, Eric Bachmann, Hiss Golden Messenger, to name a few.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
The first band show I remember is an open mic night at this little infamous club in Chapel Hill called Nightlight. I remember I wore an old yellow t-shirt of my long distance boyfriend’s and I had no idea what a quarter inch cable was. There were probably 10 people there. I had been tricked into being in a band by my friend Jesse – we had been sharing songs we had written with each other, and I didn’t realize ’til after that what had happened was, much to my excitement, I was in a band. Actually I think I have a picture of my first gig!
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
I try to make art in whatever medium it wants to be made, with theatre, and film, and writing, but music is like a language I’ve always known how to speak. Probably because I grew up around so much of it – my family is very musical, so it never felt like a choice I had to make, which is great luck and a gift I’m grateful for. It has this visceral quality for me, a resonance that is immediately accessible, a physicality. Nothing can move me out of my own head and into my body as quickly as music. And at the same time, the spirituality of it is such that it can take you outside of yourself. It reminds you of the wonder and awe of the world and how you yourself are also a part of that wonder and awe.
FTR: What can people expect from the Skylar Gudasz live show?
Hopefully transcendence. Depth, honesty, and a good time is what we go for. Electric guitars, warm synths, singing straight to you and your own heart.
FTR: What’s next for Skylar Gudasz?
I’ll have to consult the tarot cards, but hopefully everything. Certainly hoping to catch a glimpse of the flower of my night blooming cereus cactus, when I’m not singing in a city near you.
They Listen To…
Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes
Lana Del Rey – Video Games
Leonard Cohen – Take This Longing
Nico – These Days
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll
Gillian Welch – I Dream A Highway
Cinema is out now via Suah Sounds . Click HERE for more information on Skylar Gudasz.