Their name might suggest otherwise, but the Giant Skellies are anything but bare bones.
The Winnipeg-grown five piece is busy releasing singles in preparation for their EP, to be released in May or June of this year, which the group says can safely be categorized under the indie umbrella. Try to get any more specific, however, and it gets easier just to listen to the tracks.
“I feel like it’s a good struggle to have, because we aren’t aiming to be a certain band or have a certain sound,” drummer Lucas Sader says.
“If you get where we all come from - Ryan (Roberts) has a lot of background in pop punk from the 2000s, and Korbin (Potosky) was in a synth pop band, and I come from a jazz stream… so even just those three snapshots, if you look at jazz and synth and pop punk and try to figure out how those might go together, that’s why it’s tough to put a certain name on it.”
Roberts, on vocals and guitar, says one thing that does come up for the group is a certain balance between sugary pop and something grungier and heavier.
“That juxtaposition has been really interesting. If you hear a happy song with dark lyrics, it’s something you don’t catch at first,” Roberts says. “But you listen a little deeper and it starts to resonate more.
“‘Valhalla’ is our most extreme moment in all our songs. That’s probably the heaviest section, so that’s the outer range, but we do go there … during the writing process, nothing is off the table.”
The group collaborates on all their pieces rather than delegating a writer. Even among the three vocalists in the group, including Potosky, Roberts and Damien Hardwater (as well as guitar), there’s no clear lead, which adds to the complexity of their sound.
The group hopes to get their EP out this summer, play a few local festivals, and look ahead to recording a full-length album in the next year and a half. Potosky says they’re in no rush to go out and tour for the sake of it.
“We would all be on board with a real opportunity, but to just play bars to 10 people across Canada, we’ve all done that,” he says. “It has to make sense. Three of the five of us have kids, we’re not looking to jump into a van.”
What audiences they have played for have been receptive so far.
“I don’t think a lot of people have come to our show and said ‘you’re making a mistake,’ or ‘you ruined my birthday,’” bass player Richard McCrae says with a laugh. “There’s a wide breadth of musicality and influence going into it, which people like.”
For now, they’re focusing on the basics.
“You always want to have people be receptive and have people that can relate to what you’re doing, which is why you keep doing it,” Hardwater says. “There’s so much music out there, you gotta do it just ’cause you love it.”
Published in Volume 72, Number 18 of The Uniter (February 15, 2018)