Dividing the Skyline is a three-piece band from Pittsford, Brighton and Fairport.
They’ve had label and management offers, an opening gig for Hawthorne Heights and a new album professionally produced in Detroit, hitting stores and online outlets Dec. 1.
Not bad for a new band of which two-thirds of the members are still in their teens.
The three-piece rock band Dividing the Skyline is comprised of Brighton High School senior Nate Blasdell (guitar and vocals), 17; Pittsford Sutherland student Westen Weiss (vocals and guitar); and 22-year-old Demitrio Albano of Fairport (drums). All with various band experiences behind them, the three of them gelled as a unit earlier this year, finding themselves clicking musically and personally.
They now have an album, “Maybe Next Year,” to be released on iTunes and other select outlets Dec. 1, recorded at Zoinga Studios in Royal Oak, Mich., with producer Mick Maslowski. Blasdell had done some solo work with him in the past, and the band hit him up when they planned their first single in January. Assorted singles from the release are already available online. Meanwhile, the band played its first local show in nearly a year earlier this month, a set at Rochester’s California Brew Haus.
“This band is a lot different than anything I’ve ever done before,” said Blasdell, whose previous bands have included Lights Out Paris, Sing It Loud and Hedley. “It’s honest, and I love the kids I’m around. When I quit my last band, I said I was never going to be in a band again. These kids quickly changed my mind.”
Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Nate: I’m 17 years old and currently a senior at Brighton High School. I play guitar and tracked bass and piano on the album as well. I was born in Paraguay, South America, and have spent the past three years on and off the road touring and playing music with different bands.
Westen: I sing and play guitar. I've lived in a ton of places which I think has really shaped my perspectives and opinions on everything, kind of like everything I've seen and experienced has mashed together to form me. I grew up in Germany, China, and New York, so i don't really know where i'm from. As of last year i attend Pittsford Sutherland High School.
Demitrio: I play drums. I’ve been playing drums for 9 years, dad is a drummer. I’m 22 years old.
The tracks available online are melodic rock — “pop” rock in the best sense of the word. How did you arrive at your sound?
Nate: Honestly, I think the sound sort of came to itself. We originally formed under the name Divide The Skyline and played a few shows under that name. Back then we were a lot heavier and a lot more generic. After our first three shows, we decided to re-write our whole set and find a new sound that really worked for all of us. There was a period of time(about three weeks) that each of us would just find bands and be like “Lets sound like this, lets sound like that.” All of us would be like “YEAH!! LET’S BE LIKE THEM! LET’S BE LIKE THIS” but in the end, we all decided that we didn’t want to be like anyone else. We wanted to make music that meant something to us and other people could relate to as well. With this decision came the name change. During this period of time, we were all listening to bands like The Dangerous Summer, Hit The Lights, and Thieves and Villains to name a few. I guess you can see some of their routes in our sound but there isn’t really any direct sound relation.
Westen: Everytime we get together and everytime we hear something new I think our sound matures a little, we've drifted from more of a pop rock sound to more of a pop punk sound I feel. All in all, though, I really like where we stand sound-wise, which in the end is all that really matters, but people seem to be into it too so I guess that just makes things even better.
These tracks are quite well produced. Who are you recording with, and how did that come about?
Nate: We recorded “Maybe Next Year” at Zoinga Studios in Royal Oak Michigan with producer Mick Maslowski. When I was looking for a place to record three or four years ago, a member of the band that I had just quit recommended Zoinga. Having been very fimilar with the Detroit area, I kept it in my mind. We hit him up when we were ready to record our first single in January of this year, and things just fell into place from there.
Westen: We have recorded (singles and our full length) with Mick Maslowski over in detroit; he's awesome to work with and his stuff always seems to come out sounding great. Nate actually came in contact with him a while ago for solo stuff.
When did the three of you put your current band together? Were you in other bands before this, and how does this band differ from them?
Nate: Before this band, I had just done a solo tour with a Canadian band called Hedley and before that I had just done select dates on a tour with a pop-punk band called Sing It Loud. This band is a lot different than anything I’ve ever done before. It’s honest, and I love the kids I’m around. When I quit my last band, I said I was never going to be in a band again. These kids quickly changed my mind.
Westen: Well, this is definitely a lot more professional than anything I've ever done with music before so that's pretty stellar. I've been in a couple bands before this but DTS definitely clicks the most and sounds the best out of all of them. As for all of us I guess we just found each other through mutual friends and activities and just clicked.
Demitrio: I joined in late February after a fellow musician told me that one of his guitar teacher's other students was looking for a drummer. That student was Henri Young (former bassist of Dividing the Skyline)... I've been in several other bands. Mostly rock cover bands. Also, currently school orchestra and jazz band, a hip-hop group, an Italian-Latin-American band (my father's), and filling in for other bands.
Lyrically, what are you shooting for? What do you think are major "themes" or recurring subject matter you come back to?
Nate: One of the greatest accomplishments of my life was being a part of the writing on this album. I can honestly say that when we finished writing for this album, there was absolutely nothing left on the table. In fact, we didn’t even finish the lyrics for the last song on this album until the last day that we were in the studio. Every word that’s said on this album is 100% purely honest. These songs are really about what we believe in and things that really reflect on the things we went through well writing this album. As a band we decided that we were going to be very selective and private about how much we were actually going to open up about in regards to this album. I don’t think we’ll ever fully tell anyone what some of the songs on this album are about or the stories behind them. When people ask us what (insert song name here) is about, I always just answer with “life”. It’s a very broad answer but it’s true. During the making of this album it was just like one road block was being put in front of another. At times it almost seemed impossible but we were all determined to prove the Impossible. We really wanted to put something out that people could relate to and what better ways to do that then write about real life experiences?
Westen: As far as lyrics and meaning goes we just kinda write about life what's relevant to ours. We're very honest when it comes to lyrics.
So your new disc is being released Oct. 30? What are some other projects you have in the pipeline?
Nate: We actually as of last week have had to push our release date to the first week in December. This was not a decision that any of us wanted to make, but in the end, it’ll all be worth it. It’s our debut full length, titled "Maybe Next Year." We just released the last single off it on iTunes, and are expecting to drop the full album on Itunes the first week of December. It will also be printed and sold on our online store, and select local stores. After the release, we’re really becoming a full time band, and plan to tour in April and almost all summer in support and promotion of the album. After that, It looks like we’ll be hitting the studio at the end of the summer to put out our next one.
Tell us about some of the opportunities you've had and are continuing to have as a band — and how you juggle them with the responsibilities of school, etc.
Nate: Don’t even get me started…
Westen: We've had some label and management offers but we're still waiting for the one that fits us best and will do us best to come along. We've played with some really awesome bands too, some that we really idealize, which only inspires us more. Juggling band responsibilities with school is actually quite stressful there's just so many communication things regarding shows, designing, recording, printing merch and everything and then on top of that there's the actual playing of shows and writing, recording, and practicing. So it really does take up a ton of time
Demitrio: I always have to balance it out. Its not possible to put 100% focus on drumming and school at the same time. Its hard to split the percentages but it usually ends up being about 70% drums, 30% school, but still getting by with that 30%
Why "Dividing the Skyline" as a name?
Nate: It was a quote that was told to me in the context of “Dividing the skylines in your mind between what was important and what was not.” When we were brainstorming names, I mentioned it to Westen and it had relation to his recent move from Shanghai. It was something that really meant something to all of us.