We had the good fortune of connecting with Skylar Funk and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Skylar, why did you pursue a creative career?
There have been a small handful of moments in my life where a realization hits me with such force it feels like a billboard falling out of the sky and smacking me with a message like “HEY! You should do this thing!” One of them was in junior high, watching jazz band perform when I was only in concert band. I was filled with envy and admiration and I knew I had to get into it. Another time was about a year out of college, some evening after working my desk job (I had a degree in environmental analysis and worked for a couple non-profits or energy efficiency contractors exploring that type of career), watching a couple friends who had bands playing a show at a club in LA. I ended up buying a loop pedal and moving into a garage and my music career really started there. I had always done music in school for fun, but that was the moment I knew I couldn’t live without performance and went for it. I wasn’t really thriving in my office jobs… I seem to be wired better for a musician’s life. By the way the concert was yOya and Greenhorse and it rocked.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
One of the things that distinguishes some of our most exciting new work is collaboration with brass sections, starting with high school marching bands in 2014/15 (see Trapdoor Social – Fine On My Own) and more recently with New Orleans-style brass bands (see our cover of “Feeling Good” ft. Top Shelf Brass Band). I am proud of and excited about these collaborations not just because they are extremely fun, feel huge, and seem to do well with audiences, but because I had to be really true to myself to get there. I was a band kid in school. I loved it so much, and ever since joining the ranks of “adults” I’ve still held on to my inner band nerd… and with these collaborations I’m really indulging and leaning into that theme. I hope every kid in band class knows how much opportunity lies ahead if they stick to it – they could be playing on a street corner in the French Quarter in New Orleans on Mardi Gras someday. It’s the best. You never have to grow out of it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oooh a couple of my top spots are within a few hundred yards in Santa Monica. The Green is a square patch of grass just south of the pier where folks practice acro yoga, acrobatics and exercise, surrounded by a full-blown playground for adult children like myself. After that we could retire to Cha Cha Chicken where I belieeeve one can still BYOB and enjoy delicious Caribbean fare.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d love to shoutout Alex Pfender and Chris Hackman. They were frontmen in the two bands I mentioned, yOya and Greenhorse, on that fateful night in 2011. They’re both still close friends, and still amazing musicians! Heartbreaking songwriters, incredible instrumentalists, and excellent dudes. Alex still fronts yOya and also has a new project called Pfred, and Chris’s current project is called Human Barbie. Check them out!
Colleen Allison Barjas