The iconic Ian Skelly, known famously for his charming solo releases and his cult part as the drummer in The Coral, has recently released his second solo album Drifters Skyline.
Drifters Skyline is undoubtedly a tranquil river flowing with open vulnerability and deep lyricism, with Ian himself simply describing the album as ‘‘Absolutely bloody brilliant!’’.
The inspiration behind the album itself was uncomplicated. Ian tells us; “Originally a friend of mine was trying to instrumentally get me out of my comfort zone and get me to go and record in Berlin. The inspiration originally was to just go and have fun and make a record.”
One of the most played songs that features within Drifters Skyline is titled Jokerman. It is a raw, emotional ballad showcasing susceptibility. Despite the album's inspiration being fun and lighthearted, Jokerman’s writing process was deeply personal to Ian. “I feel the desperation that I guess everybody feels. That feeling of when you are going out into the real world and you have got to socialise and be with people. You have got to put on a front and you know, be jolly in some ways. But that is just the human condition, it is not just me. I think a lot of people can feel like they are battling themselves. It is that kind of concept.”
“But it could be whatever you want it to be that song. It is left open to interpretation, it could just be a little story or it could relate to someone's own situation.”
Originally starting his musical career as the drummer of The Coral (which he is continuing) in the late ’90s, the response to this new wave of indie music that the coral exhibited was massive. Making it a sure fact that Ian already had a booming musical career before starting on his solo route in 2012 with the album Cut from a Star. Therefore, Ian was not actively seeking more fame, just the ability to air his very own music. “Just the fact that I had all these songs and I had all these ideas and The Coral can only contain so many ideas. Every person in that band is extremely talented so you don’t want to be all fighting for your position. Not ruin the product, but it can start to get diluted or compromised so it was just a case of me having all these songs and I had something to say so I just sort of went and did it!”
Since his first appearance in The Coral, Skelly's opinion on the industry has changed drastically. “We came at the tail end of the end of the heyday which was the nineties. When labels had a lot of money to tour bands and bands were able to spend long times on records. We’ve had to adapt throughout this whole streaming process. The fact that your music is taken for free now, it takes a lot of adapting. But, there are a lot of pros and cons to it. You’re doing it because you love music. Because you love playing and you love being with your friends. It just feels like there isn’t the money that there used to be in it. My band and I are doing it because we have no other choice, this is what we do.”
For aspiring musicians of today, Ian’s advice is simply to trust your gut. “Richard Hawley once said ‘always trust your gut instinct’. I think he was talking about business but I took it as more of a creative thing and about being quick and not overthinking things. That was good advice. At the time we used to overthink a lot of things, like you do when you are younger. You just get scared and fearful and wary of your ability. At the age I am now, I am quite confident in what I do and making decisions is quite a quick thing for me.”
It is evident that Ian's true passion for music and creativity bears no halt. His successful career is continuing to grow evermore.