Sky Diving Penguins
This is a genuine question.
Our Twitter Bio states, “Sky Diving Penguins are an alternative band from Tbilisi, Georgia”. Our Bandcamp page reveals, “From Tblisi, Georgia, Sky Diving Penguins forge a sound that takes in The Beatles, Nirvana, Beck & Elliott Smith amongst others”. Where we come from matters to us, and probably, to you.
Put it this way, when you think of Georgia, the country, I bet that you think of one of our delicious national breads, like this Khachapuri Acharuli. No? No.
That is understandable. Like our cuisine, you know little about our music. But trust me. The music we make is every bit as mouthwateringly beautiful and unctuous as that doughy piece of heaven.
One problem with our Bio, we think, is that you might think adversely of our music simply because of where we come from. Consequently, you will avoid listening to us. We can see how you might think that. So, how do we get past the preconceived notions of what a band from Tbilisi, Georgia might sound like?
Context is everything.
Although we grew up in the Soviet Union, we managed to get hold of copies of The Beatles albums…shhhh, don’t tell anyone. The Beatles had an enormous impact upon Sky Diving Penguins, as well as other Georgian artists like Nash Albert, to the extent that we only really feel comfortable writing and singing in English. We cannot imagine (sorry, John) writing in Georgian. That is not to disparage those that do. It just doesn’t work for us.
For example, here are the opening lyrics/chorus to our single, ‘I Don’t Want, I Don’t Care‘:
Too many reasons
To be dead or feel the same
I’m broken, bone fix me again
I’ve got many things to do
But I don’t do
I’ve got many things to share
But I don’t share
Indifference is everywhere
So I don’t want and I don’t care
Along with the history, and childhoods spent immersed in Western music, in the 1990s, we were free to experience the sounds of Grunge and Britpop. All these melodies, harmonies, rhythms, arrangements and productions inform what we produce now.
Yet our sound is different.
We grew up in households, singing Georgian folk songs in harmony after family meals together. Music is at the heart of what we Georgians do, even when one of your parents comes from Sweden, like Sabina Chantouria, the essence of Georgia is still there.
We also live in a country that is sandwiched between Europe and Asia. Therefore , we are influenced by our geo-political location with the likes of Russia and Turkey bordering us. Yet, simultaneously, we are able to take the best of what those cultures offer and meld it with our own.
Taking all these specific contexts together, we produce music which, although it sounds similar to the artists that inspire us, has its own distinct soul and feel.
Indeed, over the last half century, many celebrated musical artists have been foreign; Kraftwerk, Daft Punk, and Abba to name a few. Engaging with the independent music community on Twitter, it’s clear that there are a number of other foreign acts whose music is equally strong. Artists such as Portobello Express from Austria, Renssy Rios from Argentina and The Empty Mirrors from Finland are proof that music has no boundaries. They all, too, have their own backgrounds that inform the specific sounds that they make.
Alexander Pushkin, a Russian poet, once commented “every Georgian dish is a poem.” We think that each song that we write is a Georgian dish. We might stew it for a while with our own ‘khmeli suneli’, or we might grill it over hot coals with some ‘tkemali’, but each Sky Diving Penguins song has its own flavour.
Ultimately then, what you see in an artist’s Bio is little more than a statement of fact. Look beyond it, listen to us and you might find something to savour.