Skylight’s made for more
Johannesburg band Skylight are introducing a slice of Matchbox 20/The Fray-style melodic pop-rock to the local scene, and they appear to be doing it with an enormous collective smile on their face.
“It’s a good story,” beams singer Greg Jorden.
“We’re all friends, which is not something that every band can say. There’s a lot more to music than playing chords and singing melodies. We live life together.”
As a young band, the quartet enjoyed some worthwhile success early on, playing the Joburg Day concert to a crowd of over 10 000 people in 2010.
“We had some really great opportunities to be exposed to audiences,” says Jorden, “and the reaction of the listeners at that time was a large part of the reason we decided to record an album; to capture this part of our lives and share it.
“We had a good run on SA’s Got Talent as well, and it been fun, though it’s since taken longer than we would have liked to get our name out there. I had a big vocal issue along the way, which didn’t help.”
After that run of publicity in 2010, the band went a bit quiet as the balanced day jobs with the finicky business of laying down tracks for the album.
“Day jobs, yes, but also, as I mentioned, I couldn’t sing for a while – I had nodules on my vocal chords. I found a top-class vocal coach and sorted out my lifestyle, and that helped. I was eating way too much fast food and not sleeping enough, so I’ve made some changes there.”
Skylight’s album Made For More was recorded with in-demand producer Darryl Torr.
“He brought out parts of the songs we didn’t know were there,” says Jorden, who is, in many ways, the primary songwriter for the outfit.
‘We really write as a band,” he clarifies.
“I may write some chords, but our drummer Brad will come up with a beat, which will be the basis for a song, and Give It Up, our single, was inspired by a bass riff that Peter came up with.”
Whoever comes up with the original idea, it is true for all of Skylight’s music that there’s an intent to communicate a positive message through the songs.
“We are a group of people who believe that everyone is made for more than just getting through every day,” says Jorden.
“We know we are not the solution to the many problems around us, but we want to do whatever we can to help point people in the direction of the solutions. We try and write from a perspective of being very real about the challenges that we go through, but there’s always hope that things will get better.
“We have a song called Always Love, which might sound a bit cheesy, but we think that love can always make a difference. That’s how we see the world.”
Having that sort of outlook must be emotionally challenging in terms of the writing of the songs – Jorden won’t always feel chipper when he sits down with a guitar, a piece of paper and a pen.
“I see it as a responsibility to work through my stuff and get to the other side because I have some sort of level of influence,” he says.
“If I can get through my issues, I can write songs that inspire. I have a great group of friends – I think it’s important to live life together – and I look after myself. I don’t drink Coke or coffee and I make sure I’m in the gym regularly. I’m also involved in the local church, which is very important to me.”