CINCY’S LEMON SKY AT BOB’S – Dayton City Paper – Justin Kreitzer
Lemon Sky, the Cincinnati psych-rock/prog-pop hybrids recently released Dos, their aptly-titled and long-awaited sophomore album. Highlighted by its three-pronged guitar attack—consisting of vocalist/guitarist Aaron Madrigal, guitarists Eric Cronstein and Ed “Shredward” Bruker along with bassist Steve “Phteven” Korfhagen and drummer Eric Keyes—they create a heavy yet highly-melodic brand of psychedelic garage rock that combines the classic rock pomp and stomp of Led Zeppelin, paisley pop melodies and the modern musicality of Mars Volta for a forward-thinking sound rooted in the past.
In support of the stellar new album, the band is touring the area and will make a stop at Blind Bob’s on Saturday, March 19 alongside like-minded acts Parlour Tricks and Cricketbows.
In anticipation, the Dayton City Paper spoke with the members of Lemon Sky about their favorite song to play live and in-depth with guitarist/sound engineer Cronstein about the new album, their musical influences and more.
Some of your eclectic musical influences are more obvious like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Mars Volta, but who or what are some of your less obvious influences?
Eric Cronstein: We could probably name a couple hundred other influences on all of us. But Captain Beyond, Smashing Pumpkins, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Music Machine, Radiohead, Secret Machines … I could just keep naming bands, but
that would be silly. I guess the idea here is that we pull influences from every period of rock and roll and all great music in general.
How has the band grown with the addition of the new members and how has that helped to shape the band’s sound in the five years since the release of your debut album?
EC: The band went through a major change just after the first album was released. Aaron and Phteven are the two original members of Lemon Sky. Eric Keyes … joined shortly after that and sort of turned the band into a more aggressive and rhythm-heavy band. Some months later Ed “Shredward” Bruker was asked to join and brought a new polished sensibility to the band that wasn’t quite there before, singing lots of harmonies and shredding on the guitar like a good “Shredward” does!
Lyrically, the album is very surreal and psychedelic in its imagery. What was the influence behind Dos; are there any themes that tie the songs together?
EC: The album certainly is not a concept album in that it wasn’t written around a central theme. You could say, however, that there is a protagonist walking through the album that begins as he’s nearing the end of his life. Much of the album is a passage through this world into the next where he is experiencing life reflection, turbulence and navigating otherworldly realms between living and beyond. Though there is a slight reprieve near the end, it’s only to catch his breath before his final walk through the underworld.
With its insistently pounding beat and earth-rumbling bass line, the skyscraping standout single, “Guillotine,” sounds like an absolute blast to play live. What is each of your favorite original song to play live and why?
Aaron Madrigal: “Submarine” … the song trips me out and I get lost in it when we play. The song takes a lot of control from the band and it gets super intense [during] the bridge.
Phteven Korfhagen: “Submarine” because it demonstrates the vast range of musicianship in the band. We get to groove and harmonize all over the song while keeping the song moving.
Eric Keyes: “Kept In Beyond.” All the space in the verses let’s my drums sing through the mix.
EC: “Ash and Bone.” It’s HEAVY, and it has awesome harmonies, and guitarmonies!
Shredward Bruker: “Kept In Beyond,” because I finish my beer in the bridge, and when the riff comes back in, I try as hard as I can to stomp through the stage.
The excellent new album is certainly a testament to the band’s talent, and so far, your D.I.Y. approach has served you well, but what plans do you have for the band’s future?
EC: The main objective is to play these songs in front of as many people as possible and get this record to even more of those people. We believe in the art that we are creating and really just want to let everyone be a part of it.
What can new listeners expect from a Lemon Sky show?
EC: A Lemon Sky show is like standing in front of giant, colorful wall of sound, and then smashing that wall right into your face!