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No Skull returns with 'Dark Tower'-inspired riffs

Q&A with vocalist and bassist Ryan Andrews


No Skull returns with ‘Dark Tower’-inspired riffs

-Q&A with vocalist and bassist Ryan Andrews

Ryan Andrews of No Skull has been making loud sounds in the Lansing music scene since the late ’90s, but when listening to his deep discography, it’d be hard to nail him down to one sound. From his older lo-fi albums with now-defunct bands Bert, Dr. Device and Red Teeth to the forthcoming No Skull record, “Fields of None,” Andrews never stops exploring new sonic territories. This new record is polished and melodic but still ethereally heavy. It features Jason Wicks on guitar and Dave Shilakes on drums and releases Friday (April 12) via Madlantis Records. Here’s what Andrews had to say about the new disc.

What can you tell us about “Fields of None?”

Ryan Andrews: It’s probably my favorite work so far. I wrote all the songs in 2021. We recorded most of the material in Lansing at Troubadour Recording Studios with Corey DeRushia in 2023 and did much of the guitar and extra instrument overdubs at my home.

How did you approach the lyrics this time around?

The lyrical content is based on the mythology and dialogue from “The Dark Tower” series, by Stephen King. I’m a huge fan of King, especially “The Dark Tower.” I write a lot of songs about and inspired by books, but this is the first time I’ve based all the lyrics for an album around one story. The concept of the album is vaguely reminiscent of King’s story, but I mostly took phrases, names of things and slang from those books and applied it to a story of a person who’s going through the changes we all go through in life: leaving home and trying to find out who we are. It’s about noticing who we’ve become is someone we don’t recognize and don’t like, and then possibly changing our ways and settling down into a quiet and peaceful life. I view it as a conceptual sister to “The Dark Tower” series because each song on the album is just another level of the tower. Total nerd stuff.

Did you approach this album differently from the last No Skull releases?

This album is intended to be a bit heavier than previous efforts, but I also wanted it to have more of a groove feel and less of a ‘90s grunge-type vibe. I was listening to a lot of Black Sabbath, Sleep, Los Natas and Pink Floyd at the time, so I’m sure that had a big influence on the sound. The songs were all demoed during the COVID-19 lockdown era, but when the lineup changed, the songs took on a way more jammy, groovy essence since the guys I play with now are really good. It was natural for us to give the songs a bit of space for that style to emerge.

What are some of your favorite shows you’ve played?

Playing with Violent Apathy in my band Red Teeth was a highlight. We got to play with Jucifer a few times with Bert. Those two were so nice to us. When I had Dr. Device, we opened for Lansing legend The Dogs, one of my favorite old punk bands, at Mac’s. I’d have to say, though, that some of my very favorite gigs were playing the many house venues that used to be around Lansing. People used to really get loose at house shows and get into the music hard. It was about trying to impress your friends’ bands and collaborate on shows and flyer art. It was that true sense of doing it all ourselves and people actually coming out to have a good time with very little pretension or ego.

Follow the band at facebook.com/noskullnoskull and listen at noskull.bandcamp.com or wherever you stream music.


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