I already talked about Sky Harbor when I previewed them back in December for their debut show on New Year’s Day at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey, but I thought it was time that we actually got a chance to meet one of the newer pop/punk bands in Jersey. After talking with their drummer, Alex Vazquez, shortly after their debut, he told me that their first show did not go exactly according to plan, but their bassist, Sam Acevedo, assures me that their ensuing shows have been much, much better, including one recently at Post 282 and a trip out to Penn State which he described as one word: “amazing”.
The good thing about this band is not that they are good musicians, but that they are good people as well. Alex and Sam regularly volunteer their time at the Proprietary House, helping to work on the restoration. I had a chance to chat with Sam a two weeks ago, before I actually sent the interview questions to be answered by the band as a whole, and he clearly knows what he is talking about when it comes to playing bass, and he did not mince words when talking about the Stone Pony, but says the other band members might not feel the same way as him, so I’ll leave that one alone.
Sam also told me how his life changed through music, which I think is something everyone can relate to, to a degree. After moving to Perth Amboy two years ago, and being the “new kid on the block” with no friends, he decided to bring his bass to school one day, and next thing you know, he’s in a band and the member of the school’s guitar club. Even after their graduation, people still talk about the products of Sky Harbor with reverence. (He even sleeps with his guitar!)
Now to get a chance to meet the band, this is the conversation we had through the internet today, including other members Augusto Cespedes (vocals), Travis DeLillio (guitar), and Jay Fria (guitar) . Please enjoy:
GC: First of all, explain why you chose the name “Sky Harbor”. How did all of the band members meet each other and decide to start a group?
SH: One day, Travis was singing a song by The Wonder Years that was in reference to Arizona’s airport “Sky Harbor.” Jay heard it, and suggested it as a band name. We all agreed and we all love it. Sam and Alex were friends, and Jay and Travis were friends. Travis met Alex through Alex’s old band from Craigslist. Travis was going to tryout for Alex’s band, but unfortunately fell through and Travis and Alex went on their separate ways. Travis and Alex then had an idea for a pop/punk sound, asked Jay to join and had their first practice. They loved it, asked Sam to hop on. A couple of weeks later, they found the lead singer on Craigslist from an ad that was named “In Need of a Pop Punk singer ASAP.”
GC: Who are your major influences and favorite groups?
SH: Our influences as a band are New Found Glory, The Wonder Years, A Day to Remember, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Four Year Strong and old-school Fall Out Boy.
GC: What is it like being on stage? Does it make you feel any differently than when practicing?
SH: Nothing compares to playing a show. It’s the natural high that is created when everyone’s eyes are on you. During a show, it’s just one take; “Let’s make this perfect.” In contrast when we are doing our weekly night practices, we treat it like a show to practice the “tightness” of our performance, but use it to have the freedom to be open-minded with any potential ideas.
GC: The band recently took a trip to Pennsylvania. What was that like?
SH: The road trip to Penn State was amazing. Being with the people you love and just knowing you’re going to play the music you made with all of your heart is a reward in itself. Nothing compares to being on the road with your band mates sharing stories and making memories.
GC: Describe YOUR style of pop/punk.
SH: How do we think we sound like? Here’s a little guided imagery. Let’s say A Day to Remember made love to New Found Glory without consent and had a baby: Sky Harbor, 7 lbs. 3 oz. (laughs).
GC: What was your first show at the Stone Pony like?
SH: It was an experience that we turned positive. Everything that happened on stage we learned, grown and matured from.
GC: What are some of your upcoming shows? Where can your music be heard?
SH: Our next show is such an important show for all of us. It is the Battle of the Bands for the East Coast Indie/Kevin Says Stage at Oceanport Warped Tour on March 19th at Post 282 in Harrison, NJ! We need everyone to come and sing their hearts out with us! You can catch our tunes on our Facebook, Myspace and Pure Volume page. We thank you so much!
I would like to thank the members of Sky Harbor for taking the time to conduct this interview. I highly suggest you check them out and give them a listen, and I wish them the best of luck in establishing themselves on the pop/punk circuit!