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An Interview With Izzy Skinner

A full album release from Izzy Skinner Blends in outlandish and pleasurable series of genres together in a seamless and fluent tonality that focuses its attention around the violin as it floats through different approaches and styles to create something that is definitely its own sound.

The Mr. Wizard" album features everything from classic rock and Jazz to singer-songwriter and so much more all with that violin tying everything together and it's all done with a certain level of heart and attention to detail as well.

The instrumentation across the span of this release is incredible and everything sounds full-bodied and lush from beginning to end which helps create different atmospheres from song to song but as a whole the album stands on its own two legs.

You get a lowering and sweet vocals that sit atop certain songs giving them a little extra life and character as if it needed it. In reality, the album doesn't need any extra character because it's loaded with it and it's quite exciting.

Out of everything the most impressive thing isn't even the strings or just the pianos but it's the actual songwriting and the way that everything melts into each other seamlessly.

Things like that just aren't easy to do and in order to do something like it you have to have a real love for your craft which in this case is very evident.

These tracks feel like they were recorded live on the floor because a lot of times the energies between the players are feeding off of each other which creates this intoxicating vibe.

Either way this is definitely kind of stuff that you want to see live in person just so you can get blown away.

The record is packed with loads of hooks and Melodies that stick in your brain for hours after it's ended and the songs have the ability to Whiskey way to different places whenever it feels like it.

There's a big fantasy element to this release that goes beyond just having violins being plucked and bowed.

The Cinematic range of this album is vast and when it's all over you have to shake yourself off to come back to reality again.

I think we could all use music like this because it's a form of escapism and that's what good music is about. It's like a good book. It's supposed to take you away from where you are so you forget about everything in your world to come into a different one.

With the release of such a beautiful record we wanted to have a sit-down with Izzy Skinner to have a chat about where this album actually came from and what might be coming up next for the artist.

Here's what happened.

Okay let's start with "Mr. Wizard"! This had a great energy and touched on classic rock with violins! How did this track come about?

This was the first time a tune came to me naturally. I’ve always loved a bit of rock and roll but you can’t really “study” it in an institution, let alone on a violin. I just decided it was time to dive in, and this album was the result. I was also getting my head around my own voice which was a bit confronting, and I was surprised how my accent manifests, but I’m so glad I did that in lockdown when no one could hear me! It’s not an issue now but it was for a really long time.

How did this all start for you as an artist?

I reckon music has always been with me, I always listened to tunes and focussed on different instrumental parts each time and marvelled at the fact they all blended together before I actually picked up an instrument.

I was singing AC/DCs ‘she’s got the jack’ in kindergarten, yes I’m cool! I started violin at 8 or 9 years old and I immediately fell in love with it! I did all the classical stuff and violin grades but it didn’t feel quite right.

I made an electric violin out of an olive tree that survived the Black Saturday bushfire (a story for another time) in year 10 and discovered the joy of effects pedals and contemporary playing. I got into VCASS for years 11/12 and I quickly switched to jazz. (Vcass is a very good music school, and if I didn’t get in I would have dropped out to do music full time). Jazz didn’t quite fit either but I did a Bachelor Degree and Honours year in Jazz and Improv at the VCA. During lockdown, no one was allowed to play together and I started composing and messing around with mixing. Suddenly I was like HELL YEAH! THIS IS NOICE! I’ll stick with it!”

What kind of things really inspire songs for you?

Usually when I’m busy and should be doing something else, the creative flood hits and I have to go with it. I usually get stuck half way, then I do the task I’m putting off and jump back into the tune. When the creativity hits you’ve gotta drop everything and make the most of it.

This release has some great styles on it! Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically?

This album represents my interpretation of all the styles I’ve encountered over the years. Paganini was one of the first shred beasts on the violin and I don’t think the notated parts to his bangers do his passion and chaotic musicality justice, so I embraced the chaos and passion I imagined he had and played outside the box, technically breaking the usual violin norms and slapping all the pedals I could find through my amp until I found the sound I wanted. It’s a cross between distorted guitar and natural violin tones. I love me some 60’s/70’s rock! Black sabbath is a big one. I’d like to think I’ve taken the coolest parts out of classical, jazz and rock and smushed them all together successfully.

What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

Bit hard to answer, music is always in the back of my head, even when I’m studying it’s usually music related, so there’s no escape! Although I do love exploring outdoors with Jari the dog (whose on the cover) or vibing with Nari the Bengal cat and Charlie the rabbit. I also love photography, to remember life when the earth is still habitable and maybe create some album covers at the same time.

Who's in your headphones right now?

The Dead South, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Santana, AC/DC, Three Days Grace, Queen, Gary Moore, Frank Zappa, Talking Heads, Tom Waits, Dire Straights, Skyhooks, Sade, Jimi Hendrix, Billy Idol, Motörhead, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Powderfinger, Prince, Fourplay String Quartet, Pavlov’s dog, C.W Stoneking and the Doors just too name a few.

Are you doing any live performances right now?

Yes, very soon! I’ve had some issues with bassists and guitarists, but once that’s sorted we’ll be back on track and gigging! You could follow my instagram to know what’s happening.

This record feels like a big undertaking. What kind of advice would you have for other up and coming artists?

Make sure you love what you’re doing! There will always be some chaos and things that don’t go to plan, if you love it, you’ll happily take the time to figure it out. And if you’re having issues with band members maybe try playing/recording the stuff yourself, after all, if it’s your composition you know what you want it to sound like.

What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

I have a second album coming out very soon, probably in March! I have four Carnatic/indian style and four First Nations tunes! It's quite a contrast to Mr. Wizard although I think the vibes are the same. I am currently studying sound production and engineering so the tunes I put out in the future should have great sound quality!

Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

Thanks for listening!! And thanks to Buzz Slayers for the interview! It’s crazy to see people actually streaming my tunes from some surprising places in the world. It’s really inspiring and humbling and I’m so happy that I’m starting to find likeminded people who enjoy my tunes.

Also please buy a vinyl! Xx


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