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Dan Tompkins Quits Skyharbor

The prog band announce American vocalist and producer Eric Emery, with plans for a new single and a North American tour

Anurag Tagat Jun 30, 2015
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Skyharbor with Dan Tompkins (far left) during their India tour last year | Photo Courtesy: Parizad D

Skyharbor with Dan Tompkins (far left) during their India tour last year | Photo Courtesy: Parizad D

It’s been a week full of surprises over at the Skyharbor camp. The prog rock/metal band announced last week that Mumbai-based drummer Aditya Ashok would be taking over American drummer Anup Sastry’s role in the band. On June 29th, the band announced that they had parted ways with original vocalist Daniel Tompkins due to his prior engagements with UK prog metal band TesseracT, whom he re-joined in 2014. Tompkins was previously TesseracT’s vocalist until 2011. Earlier in the week, Sastry also announced he would step down from Skyharbor due to constantly conflicting schedules.

Tompkins announced his departure with a statement on his website saying, “My circumstances have changed dramatically over the past few years and the need to prioritise my time has become ever increasingly obvious. I felt that for a number of reasons that I was holding Skyharbor back from developing into a fully-fledged international touring band and after a long time discussing this through we concluded that this was the best for the band.”

With Ashok taking over as drummer, Skyharbor have roped in Cleveland-based singer and producer Eric Emery to join the band. Guitarist Keshav Dhar, who started the band as his solo project in 2010, says the band has always believed in moving on amicably and quickly when it comes to lineup changes. Says Dhar, “If something new happens, you’ve got to move forward.” In March this year, when some of Skyharbor’s Europe shows were canceled due to Tompkins’ conflicting schedule with TesseracT, Dhar and the band reached out to Australian producer Forrester Savell [who mixed their 2014 album Guiding Lights] for recommendations. Savell suggested Emery, who is part of Cleveland alt rock/metal band Concordia. Says Dhar, “Within minutes, we’d mailed Eric and he wrote back and we asked him to do two covers ”“ ”˜Evolution’ and ”˜Patience.’” Emery says over email that he’s extremely honored and excited to be the new frontman.  Adds Emery, “I was a fan long before they even asked me to join the band.  It will be extremely difficult to fill Daniel’s shoes, but I am elated at the encouraging and welcoming comments thus far.  Although we live thousands of miles apart, I am confident that with the many recent advances in recording technology the transition will be seamless.  It is truly a pleasure to be a part of the amazing and ever-growing Indian music scene, and I can’t wait to get the opportunity to tour the world with my new Skyharbor family.”

Skyharbor's new frontman, American singer and producer Eric Emery. Photo: Jamie Koala

Skyharbor’s new frontman, American singer and producer Eric Emery. Photo: Jamie Koala.

Skyharbor had already begun writing new material just as Guiding Lights released in November last year, and Dhar says they are “more than halfway through writing” a third album, with plans to release a new single with Emery set for next month. Says Dhar, “We were so happy with him [Eric] and he’s been extremely proactive and made it his first priority.” Dhar heads to Mumbai next month to track drums with Ashok. He adds, “It’s going really fast, but it’s going really well. We’re looking to finish everything by the first quarter of 2016.” Sonically, Ashok’s influence as a drum and bass producer [Ox7gen] has definitely added more synth parts to songs, according to Dhar.

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After the single release, Skyharbor are also plotting to hit new shores, with their first-ever North American tour later this year. While Dhar is a bit put out because of not being able to play Guiding Lights for a longer tour cycle, he’s happy that Skyharbor are moving forward with a new sound that will soon be revealed to fans. Says Dhar, “Half the fun is in the change.”

Watch Eric Emery cover “Evolution” here

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