Skylines, the debut album from Producer and Engineer, Dave Hillis, is a mesmerizing electro-swirl of rugged beats, trippy textures, haunting vocals, dreamy atmospherics, and grimy and glitchy ambience. The 11-song collection recalls the bold soundscapes, musical collages, and compositional approaches of DJ Shadow, The Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxxs, Death In Vegas, Underworld, and Tricky.
It’s an unlikely record from a Multi-Platinum Producer, Engineer, and Recording Artist, known for his work with iconic rock bands such as, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Afghan Whigs, Grunge legend, Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age), English pop star, James Blunt, Guns N' Roses bassist, Duff McKagan, and his first band, thrash pioneers, MACE. Yet, Hillis has had a lifelong love and fascination with samplers.
“It is a departure from the guitar-based rock music that I usually produce, but it is another side of my creative personality,” Dave acknowledges. “It’s very liberating to work with no rules. You have to find different ways to express emotions, abstract ideas, and messages. It’s a challenging way to be creative.”
Dave’s fascination with sampling technology and electronica, dates back to high school, when he would skip class to go jam with the local guitar teacher. While waiting for his lesson, he would experiment with a Roland sampler, that was displayed at the music store. The hardware platform offered a world of possibilities that he hadn’t considered with guitar-based music. Dave eventually purchased the machine, and he used the sampler for both goth and industrial style recordings and projects.
In the mid 1990s, when Dave was signed to Island Records, with his alternative rock band, Sybil Vane (best known for the song, “Sorry,” featured in the Liv Tyler-starring cult flick, Empire Records), he had a fateful encounter at the label office. A label representative passed along an advance copy of the upcoming record by the artist Tricky. When Dave played the record, he heard the exact music he had been yearning to make. At the time, Dave had an established career in rock as a Guitarist and a Producer and Engineer. Dave utilized this time to experiment with sampling and synth technology, and the aesthetic of Skylines unfolded before him
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In 2022 Dave was presented with The Diamond Award from The Recording Academy of America, recognizing his work in Music Engineering on Pearl Jam's debut album "Ten" and US total sales and streams of 13 million. A beautiful accompaniment to the original Platinum Award
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