Skyler Lutes: A Candid Conversation

Skyler Lutes, the multi-instrumentalist and in-studio production whiz is a staple of the regional San Diego music scene. The Fusion Press’ Lauren Alexis Wood recently sat down with the talented beach rock musician to learn more about his So-Cal sound and experiences in the industry.

Surfing and music. Skyler Lutes has been playing music both on and inspired by the beach for as long as he can remember. I was curious, “Skyler, growing up in So-Cal you’ve been entrenched in both the surfing and music scenes since childhood. Why do you feel there’s such a unique vibe here in San Diego that encourages the blending of these two cultures in such a major way?“

“Both cultures (surf and music) have always been close in vibe. They both encourage independence, free thought and progression and/or growth. Growing up in the Ocean Beach/Sunset Cliffs area my days were filled with surfing and at night we would play music until the neighbors would call and tell us to be quiet. My friends have always been a mix of both surf, skate and music culture. Also, the surfing influenced the music with the countless surfing movies and the epic soundtracks they would make for them.” Skyler explained.

Skyler has played up and down the coast, and performs regularly in the greater San Diego area. I wanted to hear more about some of the big names he’s shared the stage with. I wanted to know if a particular performance stood out in his mind and if so, what made the show so memorable.

“We’ve had a lot of ridiculously great nights as a band but probably my favorite show’s to date was opening for Through The Roots at the Observatory in North Park. It was their homecoming show for their latest album called “Arrival” which I spent countless hours in the studio with them perfecting. Such a pleasure to share the stage after all the studio time we put in. It’s so rewarding to see it all come together from the studio to stage. I love the process.”

That brought our conversation to his skills and experience in the studio. I wanted to hear more about his decision to become a skilled producer in addition to performing as a musician on-stage.

“I started on Pro Tools in 9th grade and I’m 32 now. Back then, I just wanted to record my acoustic album (1 vocal, 1 guitar plugged in) but when I tried it sounded so bad I thought I was doing something wrong. So I got a teacher named Mark Suhonen and got pro tools lessons. Back then no one had a teacher for pro tools. He took me under his wing and really showed me how to produce music in high quality and make beats. I have a passion and talent nowadays for making bands sound high quality. Music production has given me so many great opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible and the people in the scene are the absolute best.”

“Skyler, if you could perform at any venue in the world, where would it be?” I asked suddenly. A random question, I realized, but curious still.

“I don’t have a venue name for that one but I think for me it would be more about the people knowing the words to the music. Like a thousand people knowing all the words to an original song and singing along is a feeling I haven’t felt yet. It would be heavy. Hopefully someday soon!”

Next I was curious about Skyler’s musical influences. His sound, rich with reggae and surf influence, I wanted to know how that came to be. Who did he listen to as a child. Who is he listening to now?

“Growing up I listened to a lot of Pop Rock, Some Punk, a lot of Ska, and Dr. Dre’s The Chronic 2001. Bands like Blink 182, Weezer, Green Day, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, and Buck-o-Nine were my go to. Today I have a passion for bands that have less of a following. A lot of them I’m lucky enough to tour with. Bands like Strange Brew, Through The Roots, Nomolakadoja, Ballyhoo!, and The Movement are amazing groups. Of course some bigger names like Iration, Rebelution, and Sublime I’ve also been influenced by.”

As a multi-instrumentalist, I had to find out which he preferred, and why.

“Guitar has been really fun lately but my passion for singing and for how long it’s taken me to develop my vocals it’s something I will never ever take for granted. Singing will always be first for me because of how you can connect with the audience.”

I was also curious about how the Pandemic had effected his songwriting and overall creative process.

“Well it’s honestly helped a lot. Before the Pandemic hit I was in burn out mode. I couldn’t even get time to produce local bands anymore (which I love doing). I think I have made more of a balance for myself in my life now and I’m ready to hit the road again on my next adventure! We are also currently in the middle of work on our newest album!“

Speaking of new music, I wanted to know what fans could look forward to next.

“We are putting out a cover album since the pandemic has had us locked up and bored. We completely redid from scratch Weezer’s famous Blue Album. Check it out it drops on Halloween (LEARN MORE HERE)!”

Keep up with Skyler on his WEBSITE.

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