Said The Sky
It’s been said that an overnight success is often 10 years in the making, but how long does it take for an artist to find their voice?
Trevor Christensen has been a musician for 20 years, and he’s been releasing triumphant electronic-pop tunes under the name Said the Sky since 2014, but it’s only in the last year or so that he landed on a sonic foundation that feels like home.
“I like playing around with a bunch of different sounds and styles, but lately, I’ve been the most focused,” he says. “I don’t feel the need to explore as much as I did a couple of years ago when I was still trying to find my favorite parts of all music.”
With a fresh signing to his close friend and collaborator Illenium’s label Kasaya and 12Tone Music, he’s free to explore his limitless potential. It’s a sound that blends the lofty and emotive melodies of hits “Rush Over Me,” “All I Got” and “Where’d U Go” with the pop-punk and alt-rock energy and organics of his youth.
Since first learning piano, his love of music has never wavered. He continued his studies at Berklee College of Music. When he wasn’t studying for his classes, he was in his dorm room watching youtube videos about different sound design techniques.
After two semesters, he moved back into his mom’s basement. He got a full time job and two part-time gigs, but every second he could spare was spent crafting catchy and opulent, melody-driven electronic sing-alongs.
Looking to perfect his craft, he was introduced to Chris Cox, a mixing and mastering engineer who made dubstep by the name Omega. That’s who introduced him to Nick Miller, better known to the world as ILLENIUM; a connection that has gone so far beyond being peers. The two are more like family.
[Miller’s] lease was about up and I was still in my mom’s basement,” Christensen remembers. “We moved in together, and it was great. Just a house of making music … We balanced each other out really well. One person’s strength was the other person’s weakness and vice versa. It’s very comfortable and intuitive working with him.”
Some of the pair’s biggest hits are collaborations, and they’ve helped each other explore the frontier of live electronic performance. Christensen loves the feeling of being in a band, of being more than a guy and a laptop on stage.
“I’m the most comfortable on stage when I have a piano in front of me,” he says. “That’s where I feel excited.” While he isn’t dragging orchestral percussion to his live sets, he does plan to flesh out his performances with more vocals and acoustic guitar.
“I love the sound and the texture,” he says. “I like contrasts a lot, bouncing back and forth between highs and lows. Melodic music is my high, and then there’s the acoustic singer-songwriter stuff I’m trying to explore.”
The music he’s working on now reflects that visceral feeling, the nostalgia of holding music in your hand and that physical connection to a space in time. Whether jamming on his Fender Rhodes and warping the tremolo effect on stereo speakers installed in his closet, or sticking a microphone above the hammers of the Rhodes to catch the mechanical sounds of the instrument, he’s inspired to inject more soul into his music via the ephemeral.
“I used to be very much into synthesis and sound design,” he says, “but I was spending so much time just to find something that anybody could really do. There’s something about sitting around a campfire, listening to somebody play and then some crazy, magical moment happens that nobody could possibly recreate on a computer. I love the idea of capturing something that you can never get back.”
Latest single “We Know Who We Are” with Olivver the Kid captures that essence with soft acoustic riffs, lilting piano and the deep, personal richness of Kid’s specific storytelling. Christensen enjoys helping lyricists capture the right mood and direction, but with Kid, he’s hands off.
“I’ll be working on the production, and then 15 minutes later he’s like, ‘how does it sound?’” he says. “He’ll read off the lyrics, and it’s just perfect, a beautiful thing he just made that I don’t want to touch at all.”
The two have worked on a slew of new songs, just part of the body of work Christensen is gearing up to release. Passionate and tapped into the zone, his whole body moves when he chats about the music yet to come. It’s a new chapter in an exciting story that is far from new but in so many ways has only just begun–a story that really comes to life when shared with the world.
“I love letting people draw their conclusions rather than me telling them who I am and what my music is about,” Christensen says. “I’d rather leave as much of that to the listener as possible.”