Crystal Skies is a melodic bass duo who are growing in the U.S. electronic music scene. The men of Crystal Skies are Louisiana native Britian Holcomb and Philadelphia-based Aaron Dawson and the two individuals’ innovative style of melodic bass is perfectly synced with a unique dubstep sound. Crystal Skies have recently released remixes for notable tracks such as Slander’s “Love Is Gone“, Above & Beyond’s “There’s Only You“, and Dabin’s “Part Time Lover“. Crystal Skies have also produced high-quality original tracks like “Fluorescent Light” featuring KARRA and “Paradise Lost“. ONE EDM also interviewed Crystal Skies before their set at San Francisco’s Mezzanine on November 30th but first, here is a short review of Constellations.
Review of Constellations
In February of this year, Crystal Skies released a single titled, “Never Change”, featuring vocalist Gallie Fisher. The single is added onto Crystal Skies’ latest EP, Constellations, which recently released on November 8th under Seven Lions‘ Ophelia Records label. Constellations is a 5-track EP as it includes four additional tracks. The first is “Run With Me”, the second is “Release Me”, also featuring Gallie Fisher, the third is “On My Own” featuring Satellite Empire (who’d also featured on Crystal Skies’ 2016 EP Serenity, the fourth is the aforementioned “Never Change”, and the fifth track is “Feels Right” featuring RUNN.
“Run With Me” is a track that starts off with steady beats and a chill tempo until a mix of mind-blowing bass and catchy loops appeared to enhance the mood. “Release Me” has an somber yet ambient feeling to it as Fisher sings about facing her fears while in the unknown. “On My Own” has rhythmic guitar strumming accompanied by Satellite Empire’s tranquil vocals that are later joined up by rising synths and glitch-like notes, designed to get listeners pumped up. “Never Change” contains soft but energetic piano tunes that aligned with awesome sounds of bass and percussion. The penultimate track, “Feels Right“, starts off very mellow and then the track produced an atmosphere of euphoria and love with keyboard notes merged with enhanced electro-bass.
Interview at Mezzanine
Kenny Ngo: How did Crystal Skies came to be?
Aaron Dawson: We were both producing music on our own and Britian actually reached out to me and I think he said, “Hey, you wanna collaborate on a track?”. He went on to work on a track called “Paradise Lost”. It did pretty well, it did a whole lot better than I thought it would. After that track, I wouldn’t say “blew up”, but it did pretty well, it exceeded our expectations.
Britian Holcomb: It was like a first time thing.
Aaron: Yeah! Then we decided to keep on going.
Britian: Form a duo and see how it takes us. Like about 2014
Aaron: Yeah, about 5-6 years ago.
When you guys formed the duo, how did your friends and families react?
Britian: My parents didn’t really care but my friends thought it was kinda cool, especially since this was around the time EDM started to get bigger, I guess.
Aaron: I wouldn’t have gotten started producing electronic music if it weren’t for my friends in college, specifically my friend Nate who got me into making electronic music. I never thought I would take it this far but I owe it to him for helping me get started. My parents have always been very supportive of whatever I’ve done, everyone’s been very supportive of us trying to do electronic music.
You released “Never Change” with Gallie Fisher in February and “Fluorescent Light” with KARRA last year. How was like it working with them on the tracks?
Aaron: It’s incredible! For one thing, they’re both amazing vocalists and a vocalist who can change a track, not that the track isn’t good, but just take it to an entirely different level. It’s just amazing to really be working with talented vocalists and we’ve been very lucky throughout the entire projects, working with talented vocalists the entire time. Those two are the best for sure!
“Never Change” is your first single released under Seven Lions’ Ophelia Records label. How did you guys react after signing onto Ophelia Records?
Britian: It’s really cool because we’ve started making music because I kinda like the genre that we’re in, because of him. It’s really surreal and it’s really cool to be a part of something that he could carry it on.
Aaron: Yeah, I mean, it’s really incredible. I’ve been listening to Jeff’s (Seven Lions) music since he’s been making it and to actually be working with him and releasing on his record label and like a dream come true.
The B-Sides track of “Never Change” is Carbon, which has tones of darker electro-bass in it. How is it like working with both dubstep and electro-bass?
Britian: Really fun! The first EDM single I’ve ever heard was Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” so it’s cool to do some dubstep stuff, you know, and not stay in one particular genre.
Moving onto your latest EP, Constellations. What are the significant differences between it and your 2016 EP, Serenity?
Aaron: I think one of the main things is that this one, I think, we’ve gotten a lot better as producers since then. As songwriters as well though, I’m much happy with the way Constellations came out, not that anything from the past we produced was bad, but it’s probably my favorite single work. It’s probably my favorite collection of songs that we have worked on together as a unit. I guess we haven’t made that many EPs
Britian: Yeah, we made maybe 4. Haha! I think this one is more like a realized, full front-to-back theme, I guess. I feel like it like that when I listen to the stuff. That’s what we’ve really been nailing down in the past, what we’ve always been wanting to do.
Aside from Gallie Fisher, you also collaborated on Constellations with Satellite Empire and RUNN on the tracks, “On My Own” and “Feels Right”, respectively. How was it like producing those tracks with them?
Aaron: We’ve been friends with Satellite Empire for years now. They were releasing “New Dawn” on a label we used to be on. We got to know them pretty well. Of course, RUNN is an amazing vocalist, we’ve vocal-dubbed for her for a while. We did a track with her, which was amazing, and she definitely killed on the vocals for “Feels Right”. It was really amazing to work with the both of them.
The first track on Constellations is “One More Night”. In your words, what kind of feeling or mood will the song bring for the listeners?
Aaron: I guess we’re trying to go for a track that would be euphoric, emotional, and have that powerful melodic sound. Something that would get people moving down on the dance floor. We weren’t trying to do anything deep with it so yeah. Haha!
Are you planning to attend any upcoming festivals soon?
Britian: We’re hoping! We haven’t put together a schedule for next year but we’re definitely hoping to hit up a few festivals in the upcoming year. We haven’t lined up anything yet but it’s definitely on our radar. It’s hard to name one and if you don’t get it, it’s gonna be awkward.
Aaron: Haha, yeah, yeah, that’s right!
Britian: But EDC yeah! Definitely, one day we hope to play there for sure.
What kind of music do you guys like listening to aside from the music you’re producing or playing?
Britian: I listen to a lot of down-tempo stuff, like stuff from late-90s to early-2000s. A lot of pop-punk stuff. That’s my taste in music outside of EDM.