Interview with Nick Miller of A Skylit Drive

A Skylit Drive’s new album, ‘Identity On Fire,’ just came out last week. How does it feel to finally have the album released?

It’s fucking awesome, man. We’ve been waiting for these songs to come out for so long. It’s just great seeing the response from all the kids at these shows. The people coming out to see us are yelling for new songs, which we didn’t think was going to happen so soon. It’s definitely going great so far.

Sweet. You guys are currently on tour with Underoath, Thursday and Animals as Leaders. The tour is coming to an end pretty soon, right?

Yeah, unfortunately it is. Underoath and Thursday have been probably my top two favorite bands since I was 14 years old. It’s been like a dream tour for me. And it’s really cool to be able to make friends with these bands — that was the really awesome part. To see how nice and cool these guys are made me really love the bands that much more.

So this is your ideal tour?

Exactly. It’s pretty awesome that I get to do it.

Are you picking up anything new from them? Are they mentoring you at all?

Well, we’ve been doing this for a very long time, so tour-wise I think we’ve gotten to know the ropes. Basically, just being cool and genuine people on tour really influenced us in a good way. Caring about other bands and always looking out for one another is really important, and it makes the tours a lot more comfortable and fun.

It’s great that you’re able to learn from these bands who have been around a little bit longer. One day you’ll probably be in their same shoes.

I sure hope so, man. They’ve definitely worked really hard and have been doing it a very long time. They deserve every bit of it. We’ll keep working hard and try to be good people.

And the band Animals as Leaders, I didn’t know those guys at all, but they are some of the coolest guys as well.

Totally. They’re a pretty sick instrumental act.

Yeah, they’re some of the best musicians I think I’ve ever seen play. They’re so insane. The guitar player, Tosin [Abasi], is one of the nicest guys. He sat down with me for a couple hours to show me some stuff [on guitar]. I thought that was really cool.


Yeah, like you said earlier, I always try to learn things from people on tour; whether it be musically or about anything else. Everybody knows something that I don’t.

Let’s talk about A Skylit Drive’s new album. From a guitarist’s standpoint, how did you approach ‘Identity On Fire’?

Well, I’m kind of like the foundation of the songwriting process. I start out the songs on guitar and usually have an idea of how the songs are going to go. And I’ll bring ideas, whether it be a riff or a chorus or a verse, to the guys. When I’m writing guitar, I’m thinking about everything. We’ll have a writing session and everybody will be there. It’s never just one or two guys; everybody’s there to add their opinion. Basically, it’s a collaborative effort from everybody. From a guitar standpoint, I think about everything, not just guitars.

Is it difficult to work with six members in the band? You would think that it might be tough to decide on one idea.

You’d think it would be crazy, but everyone is really respectful of everyone’s ideas. I mean, we’re all like best friends, which makes it really cool. A lot of us have known each other since we were five years old. And we hang out all day, even if we’re not doing something with the band. It’s really fun. I love writing with everyone. We also challenge each other to do better.

I believe ‘Identity On Fire’ is the first time you’ve worked with producer Cameron Webb, right?

We actually have worked with him before. We recorded our cover songs for [Fearless Record’s] ‘Punk Goes Classic Rock’ compilation. That’s when we were like, “This guy rules.” We really wanted to work with him again.

Oh, cool. When you guys went into the studio with him, how did he help you reexamine your songs?

He taught us a lot about song structure. Before then, our structures were always really crazy and sporadic. He would say, “You should write a new part here,” and then he would sit back and let us work it out — which was really cool.

It sounds like he had a lot of positive influence on the whole process.

Definitely. We’d never worked with a producer that was so hands-on. To have someone of his caliber helping us with the process was great.

Do you have a much better idea of what direction to take future A Skylit Drive albums in?

Yeah, definitely. We’ve always had crazy tempo changes and weird parts that maybe weren’t too necessary. I think now we know more what we’re going for. And on this album, we’ve found our sound. We’re finally figuring out what A Skylit Drive wants to sound like and how we want to write our music.

Awesome. One of the song titles on the album that I found amusing was “500 Days of Bummer.” Who came up with the idea for that? Are you all fans of the movie, 500 Days of Summer?

I think we just thought it was kind of funny. [A Skylit Drive keyboardist] Kyle [Simmons] actually came up with that song title. It’s about a summer we wish we could go back to. I think everybody has one of those. Also, Cameron Webb’s cousin directed that movie, so we thought that was kind of cool.

Coming up in a few days you’ll be headlining a few tour dates on your own.

Yeah, our last show on the Underoath tour is in Florida, but we live in California. Instead of just cruising all the way back, we booked dates on the way home.

And then you have a couple months off until you hit Warped Tour.

Warped Tour is a whole different ballgame. It’s not like any other tour around. We know what to expect this time and we know what we’re going to do. It’s all out in the daylight — it’s weird.

It gets nice and sweaty.

Yeah, it is hot!

What new songs will the fans hear if they catch one of your upcoming shows?

Currently we’re playing three songs off the new album: “Too Little Too Late,” “XO Skeleton” and “Ex Marks the Spot.”

Cool. I know you have a video out already for “Too Little Too Late,” but will we be seeing new music videos for the other two singles anytime soon?

That’s pretty much up to the label. We’re always down to do anything. Music videos are really cool and fun to make. I think they give a song a whole new life. So, hopefully.

Absolutely. Thanks, Nick.

Awesome, thank you very much. And thank you to everyone that has listened to the album and picked it up. We really appreciate it!

Pick up A Skylit Drive’s new record, Identity On Fire.

For the band’s tour dates, check out their official Myspace page.