December 4, 2015
You don’t see this every day: a Brooklyn-based collective that’s one-part rousing indie-art-glam-rock-band and another part wild theatrical troupe who’s just as likely to throw glitter or fake blood onto an audience. However, Sky-Pony are hiding even more surprises up their collective sleeve. This octet—Lauren Worsham [lead vocals], Kyle Jarrow [songwriter, keyboardist], Kevin Wunderlich [guitarist], Eric Day [bassist], Perry Silver [drummer], David Blasher [cellist], and Kristin Piacentile and Jessi Suzuki [backing vocalists]—emerged in 2013 with a soaring, sexy, and show-stopping stage presence.
Gigs across the Big Apple stirred up a palpable buzz and saw the group earn praise from key tastemakers. The New York Times described them as “An energetic Brooklyn indie band with a penchant for theatrical stagings and choreography,” and the Wall Street Journal fittingly likened them to “a 1960s girl group on crack – tight, fierce, hilarious, and out of their minds.” By 2015, they landed a deal with Knitting Factory Records and spent seven days in Duncan Sheik’s Sneaky Studio alongside producer Michael Tudor [Suzanne Vega, Rufus Wainwright, Sheik] recording their full-length debut album, Beautiful Monster. During that time, they channeled this stage spirit into the music.
“We do pretty wild shows,” songwriter Kyle Jarrow affirms. “There are projections, choreography, costumes, and sometimes even acrobatics. When it came to the album, we took a thematic approach - the three big themes on the album are obsession, doubt and escape. We felt like each of the songs fell into one or more of those categories.”
It begins with “The Watcher.” Driven by a distinct guitar gallop, the song quickly slides into a vaudevillian swing before climaxing on an unshakable refrain.
“That song comes from a female stalker’s point-of-view,” says Kyle. “The idea of writing songs from a strong twisted female perspective was always important to us. Not a lot of bands do that. When you typically hear a song about a woman longing for somebody she can’t have, it’s almost always from a position of weakness. This has strength and aggression to it. There’s a frank female sexuality that Lauren captures.”
“These songs are all characters,” adds lead singer Lauren Worsham. “I feel like I’m stepping into a role with each one.”
One of the most striking characters on the album is the blood-soaked jealous lover starring in the title track - also the inspiration for the cover art. Over a delicate piano melody and string section, she assures, “If you leave me, I will rip your face off. That’s how much I love you.”
“It’s a twisted love song,” Lauren goes on. “I always loved the title, and we wanted to create something that lived up to its implications.”
“We wanted something that had a dark Weimar Cabaret kind of vibe,” says Kyle. “There’s a cheekiness and a darkness.”
You could say the same thing about album closer “Everyone Will Die,” which also happens to be a phrase emblazoned on the band’s top-selling merch item—women’s boyshort underwear. These tracks and more from Beautiful Monster will fuel a six-week stage production in New York in early 2016, crystallizing the vision live.
“We’re promoting the album untraditionally,” explains Kyle. “We’re going to do a concert-hybrid theater piece. It felt like it fit better with the band’s aesthetic to do a fully-produced show. There will be a tour, but this is the start.”
With their backgrounds, it’s no surprise Sky-Pony feel at home on stage. Lauren stands out as a Tony Award-nominee and Drama Desk Award winner for Broadway’s A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, while Kyle is an Obie-winning writer who splits his time penning scripts for stage, film and television.
However, Sky-Pony is the ultimate creative outlet for the married couple. “It’s where we get to control the vision and communicate directly,” Lauren leaves off. “I spend a lot of time performing in other people’s shows, and Kyle is writing scripts for studios and productions. This is purely creative. It’s us.”
“It was important to make a record that was both fun and smart,” concludes Kyle. “I’d love for people to play it and be able to work out, get drunk, or dance… but also think a bit too.”
L to R: Kristin Piacentile, Perry Silver, Eric Day, Lauren Worsham, David Blasher, Jessi Suzuki, Kyle Jarrow
L to R: Perry Silver, Kristin Piacentile, Kyle Jarrow, Lauren Worsham, Eric Day, Jessi Suzuki, David Blasher
PHOTO CREDIT: JENNIFER WALKOWIAK