Yesterday, indie-pop singer, song-writer and producer Skyler Cocco released her latest track of 2020; her brand new single – The Drive. With a unique blend of synth-pop, dream-pop and alternative rock to create her distinctive sound; her music gives off a dreamy and captivating energy with its irresistible lyricism, chillwave production and Skyler’s soulful vocals. Crafted in the midst of quarantine, Skyler’s brand new single The Drive began as a demo that was built on a guitar sample from electro-pop trio MUNA‘s Splice “World Saving Sample Pack”. And ahead of the release, we sat down with the songstress to chat about the track, her creative process, and her journey as an artist. So for more on The Drive, and to read the full interview with Skyler Cocco; keep on reading!
TSU: How would you describe your music in three words?
SC: Dreamy, punchy, ever-evolving.
TSU: Tell me about your favourite memory of your musical career so far.
SC: In first place is definitely being told that my song is a bop by Naomi McPherson and Katie Gavin (of MUNA) on the Twitch stream for Splice’s The Inbox: MUNA competition. Not only was it super validating to hear that I’m doing something right after all the years I’ve spent honing my craft, but my current sound and musical direction is heavily influenced by MUNA, so the fact that they recognize something in my songwriting gave me the confidence I needed to keep exploring the direction I’m taking and it’s helped me create some of my favorite songs to date.
TSU: Where do you find you gain most of your creative energy and ideas from?
SC: Recently I’ve been opening the vault of my more personal life experiences and it’s left me wondering why I never did this prior in my songwriting. Not to say I haven’t been honest in my songs, but I’ve intentionally left out details or experiences that I felt I would be judged for. I’ve been writing super honest songs for my upcoming EP and it’s been an extremely freeing experience. My creative energy heavily depends on where my anxiety is at but it’s generally always there, I’ve always felt like I have a radio of song ideas floating in the airwaves of my mind. When I feel stuck on something I go for a walk or a drive to refocus and this allows new ideas to pop into my head. I usually voice-note them in public so I have them ready to go for when I get back to the studio.
TSU: Who have been some of your biggest musical inspirations and influences; particularly during this Covid era.
SC: I am constantly inspired by my network of music friends who are hustling just as much as I am during Covid and it’s helped me stay motivated and keep me from feeling like a career in music is not possible right now. It is possible, and my friends are doing it and killing it. Musically I’ve been influenced by MUNA of course, but there have been a few records that came out during Covid that really inspired me, namely “August” by Lewis Del Mar and “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” by Fiona Apple.
TSU: Producing, writing and mixing all your own tracks; what’s your favourite part of the creative process, and what does that creative process typically look like?
SC: I’ve been producing music since I was eleven years old, so it’s become a consistent source of joy and comfort in my life and it’s basically part of my routine. I can’t go long without jotting down a song idea or tweaking a session. A lot of my songs are started by a rough production sketch and I’ll start writing the lyrics/melody after I’ve made something I can loop. My favorite part of my creative process is when I start adding ambient/dreamy sounding guitars and layers, it always pulls the song into my world and gives me a butterfly-like feeling that my vision is coming together.
TSU: You’re just about to release your newest single, The Drive, which is a fantastic track filled really dreamy synth-pop vibes. Tell me a bit about how that track came together?
SC: The track started off as a demo that I wasn’t sure I’d ever release. It was submitted to Splice’s The Inbox: MUNA competition with no expectations, but with the encouragement of MUNA and their fanbase I immediately jumped back into the session and the song pretty much wrote itself. After I finished the writing and production I brought in one of my trusted collaborators Zach Miller, who is an incredible producer and mixing engineer, to add some final touches to the mix and he ended up throwing in an additional guitar line in the second verse that really pulled the song together. The Drive has a sound that I feel really defines the direction I’m going in, and I’m so happy I decided to submit that demo back in May. It pulled me out of the quarantine blues and helped me write most of the songs on my upcoming EP.
TSU: With The Drive being all about that cooldown period after a fight, where you can take a step back and reflect on what was said; what were the main things you really wanted listeners to take away from the track?
SC: I’ve been in a long-term relationship with my partner for 7 years and it’s helped me grasp the responsibility I have to hold my own actions accountable and admit when you are wrong in order to maintain a healthy relationship. I want listeners to see the human tendency we have to lash out and say things we don’t mean, that it’s okay to take space and let your own words resonate and see where you went wrong. Not all relationships are perfect, and when you truly love someone and want to make things work it is so important to be able to process your actions and hold yourself accountable.
TSU: What is the most important thing people should know about you as an artist?
SC: I’m completely self-taught and self-managed. I owe the momentum I’ve gained to the unwavering dedication I have to my craft. I want people to know that I’ve been pursuing this dream of mine since I was a 6th grader and never let the thousands of dismissive comments about wanting a career in music stop me from writing, creating, and dreaming. I also would like people to know that the musical abilities I have were passed down from my late-father, who unfortunately never got to hear any of my music since he passed away in 2010. Music was a very painful reminder of his loss during that time, and I almost quit music fully because of it. It dawned on me that I can honor his memory by making music and made a decision to keep his spirit alive by continuing on this journey.
TSU: While we’ve all been dealing with the craziness of this year, and the hardships and stress that have come along as a result; what is something positive that has come out of this year for you, musically and/or artistically?
SC: This may sound overly dramatic but my plans for 2020 are like a shattered vase. My partner and I were supposed to be moving to LA and had carefully planned every aspect of the move for about a year prior. Once the pandemic hit, our bouquet of plans got swept off the table and we were left to pick up the pieces and place our lives on hold. For the first few months I had no creative energy and felt pretty defeated by the world, but “The Drive” helped me get out of that rut. I really changed course after I wrote that song, and it led me down a path that helped me connect my life experiences with my music that I’m not sure would have happened had things gone as planned.
TSU: What can we expect from you next, musically?
SC: I do have an EP I’m finishing up that will be released as singles and then compiled as an EP. Right now I’m hoping to release music that feels honest and raw, and hope that it resonates with my listeners more than ever before. I will eventually be moving to LA, and from there I hope to continue writing and producing music for others and expand my network. Eventually I’d like to tour when it’s safe to do so, nationally and internationally. I’m manifesting peace and prosperity so let’s hope 2021 brings us all that and then some.
Such a pleasure to chat to Skyler Cocco; make sure to give her new track The Drive a listen, and keep your eyes and ears peeled for more upcoming releases from Skyler coming soon! To be the first to know about all her latest releases and music news, find her on all her socials @SkylerCocco