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Skybound debuts all instrumental concept album

An interview with three members of Skybound, the latest lyric-free music project from Ottawa.

Releasing nearly an hour’s worth of purely instrumental music all at once isn’t how most bands start off. But that’s exactly what Skybound did last night.

At exactly midnight, For All the Hope We Hold, was released. Lead guitarist Tiago Underwood-Santos stands by releasing the ten-song album in an unconventional way.

“It wouldn’t really make sense to release half of it, or just a section of it, or just a few songs,” he said. “It really something that has to be told in its entirety. It’s the way I envisioned it in my head for many years.”

The album tells the story of a young fighter pilot after a routine flight goes wrong, leaving him stranded on a (seemingly) deserted island in 1943. His adventure across the island is illustrated through instrumentals.

“My goal coming into this was to be able to make instrumental music that could make you feel things,” Underwood-Santos said. “All the songs are really diverse. You’ll have stuff that’s really soft and ambient, and then there’s other stuff that’s just riff after riff.”

But for those who don’t just want to visualize the story want more of a concrete idea of what’s happening, Skybound has created The Traveller’s Almanac (to be released later this year), to help tell the story.

“[It’s] the story being told through images and journal entries of the character as he goes along,” said Underwood-Santos.

The band members realize this wasn’t the average way to create music, but they believe in it all the same.

“There’s no other instrumental bands like this...It’s unique, it's got its own sound,” said rhythm guitarist Noah David Cook. “It's not easy listening but people can listen to it while doing anything.”

Skybound also believes that what makes For All the Hope unique is the finite musical technicality.

“The amount of layering going on in the songs...It definitely is a challenge to play,” said drummer Jamison Tomka.

“It’s very meticulously written,” Underwood-Santos said. “Every note makes sense.”

Underwood-Santos first began writing the album last summer after experiencing hardship. Creating it was cathartic for him.

“I wrote this over the accumulation of last summer,” he said. “It was a remedy of getting out of a really bad place in my life at the time. And the story draws parallels to that.”

As the story continued to grow, so did the musicality. The album features many guest solos from other local bands, such as Coveter and Castlefield.

“Really immerse yourself in the album,” said Underwood-Santos. “There’s a lot to uncover there.”

For All the Hope We Hold is available now through Spotify, Bandcamp, and iTunes.

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