When Sky-Pony lead singer Lauren Worsham says she’s “stepping into a role” with each song by her Brooklyn, New York-based band, it’s both a relief and a reminder.
The relief comes in knowing Worsham’s personal mindset is not what’s behind the Sky-Pony single “The Watcher,” which is sung from a female stalker’s point of view.
The reminder is that working in character is nothing new for Worsham, a Broadway veteran best known for her Tony Award-nominated role as Phoebe D’Ysquith in the Tony-winning A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.
She’s not the only Sky-Pony member with a big theatrical background. Others include primary songwriter Kyle Jarrow, who says he and Worsham (his wife) have put plenty of thought into shaping the band’s sound and lyrics.
“There are two things that we talk about a lot,” he says. “One is making dark pop, in the sense that the music has a very poppy sound but has some darker theme. We’re both really drawn to that juxtaposition.
“The other part of it is Lauren and I feel like pop music with female vocals tends to not have a lot of lyrical substance. It tends to be about love or partying. We thought that to have a strong female perspective is a little bit dark and a little bit twisted. It felt like a delicious bond and something that’s not out there as much as we would like it to be.”
A dark theme runs throughout Sky-Pony’s debut album, Beautiful Monster, released in December on Knitting Factory Records. The band spent seven nonconsecutive days in May and June 2015 recording the bulk of the album in upstate New York at Sneaky Studios, which is owned by Jarrow friend and collaborator Duncan Sheik.
“It was busy, but we tried to have a relaxed vibe to the whole thing,” Jarrow says. “We went up there and stayed in the house that’s attached. Being able to stay up there and talk about how the day went — that was really helpful. I’d never had that experience before.”
Starting Feb. 16, Sky-Pony will draw from its collective theater experience when the band launches The Wildness, a “rock fairytale” co-produced by The Play Company and ARS Nova being staged in Manhattan at the latter’s West 54th Street space.
“We have a big group, so there’s just no way that we could realistically tour,” Jarrow explains. “And because we have theater backgrounds, we thought this could be a really cool alternative to touring. This is a way for us to do something fully designed, with full costumes and projections.”
According to Jarrow, about half of the songs to be featured in the production are from Sky-Pony’s album, and the rest are original songs just for The Wildness, which runs through March 19.
The vibe the band is going for with The Wildness, Jarrow says, is “early Genesis — how they would do those concept albums. And no one does that stuff anyone, and we were lucky enough to convince other people it was a good idea.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Photo by Jennifer Walkowiak