INTERVIEW: Skyler McKee of Super Whatevr on their new music, songwriting & collab with Awsten Knight
Interview & Photos by Yising Kao
Super Whatevr is featured on the cover of our April issue!: www.galaxy-mag.com/issues
Super Whatevr, currently signed with Hopeless Records, was formed in 2016 by singer/guitarist Skyler McKee, with the goal of helping people grow and be vulnerable. Through Mckee’s raw and sincere lyrics, listeners can learn to conquer any darkness they face and be inspired to get healthy. With songs like “Somewhere, Someone, Somehow,” dedicated to Mckee’s cousin he lost to suicide, and “Telelelevision,” about wanting to get rid of suicidal thoughts and holding onto that person who makes you happy, Super Whatevr is an empowering band who is making an important statement in the music industry. They released their debut EP, Good Luck, in 2016, and their album Never Nothing, in 2018, which is based on the concept, “What’s wrong?” “It’s nothing.” But it’s never nothing. Skyler Mckee is one of the most genuine artists out there who truly cares about spreading messages about mental health awareness and suicide prevention, encouraging people to looking out for themselves and others. Super Whatevr has toured with bands such as Waterparks and Set It Off, and are excitingly working on their upcoming album!
I love how you’re not just talking about spreading awareness about mental health, but you’re actually advocating how we need to be more open and comfortable talking about mental health. How do you think artists spreading awareness of mental health has changed throughout the years?
I think that artists have done a really good job at raising awareness and not being as afraid to share how they feel about it, because it’s a scary topic and I feel like a lot of people have their own opinions about mental illness and I think that can be a heavy subject. But the fact that it’s just becoming more readily available and people are becoming more comfortable, artists are becoming more comfortable speaking on the topic, in my opinion, so it’s actually helping people a lot more by making it a little more normalized.
I’ve read your poetry on your Tumblr website. You have such a powerful way of writing about your emotions and telling beautiful stories about a variety of topics such as anxiety, spirituality, and love, whether they’re your own stories or others’. Your poems have inspired some of your songs, such as “Benjamin Alphabet” and “Someone Somewhere Somehow,” so how do you decide which poems you want to turn into songs and what stories you want to share?
I'm pretty specific about my themes and I'm trying to become more specific about them on my next record, so really, it’s just like whatever topics are more current at the moment, like my parent’s divorce, me going to therapy, getting married, things like that. So, I just write like crazy.
What are some things you do that help you get through a bad day?
Speaking positively to myself is important, and so is finding where a problem stems from. Just stuff I learn from therapy.
Your live performances are amazing and so much fun! It’s awesome how you stage dive and encourage crowdsurfers, while simultaneously spreading your music’s messages. What do you hope people take from your shows?
I hope people feel seen and heard, and that they matter and feel important. But also, I hope they have a good time and I like when people enjoy themselves and jump around and sing.
It’s awesome how you started to invite people on stage.
Thanks, I haven’t gotten in trouble!
How does your upcoming album compare to Never Nothing lyrically and musically?
Lyrically, I want to to be a little deeper and specific about my own personal life. I had spoken with Awsten Knight of Waterparks about what it means to be like, not just your run-of-the-mill artist. He said to just be yourself and be specifically you and people will be able to relate to that. I used to write pretty vaguely, but for this next record, I want it to be more specific about the things in my life and the ways that I grew from those things. So, I think that’s the difference lyrically. Musically its going to sound completely different. I'm nervous and I don’t know if people are going to like it.
I'm just making music that I enjoy and it’s very different.
On that note, are you collaborating with any artists?
I'm working with Awsten. We just did a songwriting session and I really enjoyed it, so I was like, hey do you want to do that more? I'm talking to a couple of different people, but he's the only one who’s like, “Cool, let’s do this,” so I don’t know what the future has in store, but I am recording very soon.
What advice to you want to give to aspiring artists?
Don’t let anyone else tell you what you can or can’t be, and try to be as good of a person as you can and as consistent of a person as you can. No one told me how to run a business because Super Whatevr is a business and a project. And I have to manage myself and other people, so I would say just do your best to be as genuine and transparent as possible and with that being said, create anything you want. Because when I wrote someone somewhere somehow, people were really offended in my family. They were like, “We don’t want to hear this.” And now I’ve spoken to so many people who say, “Hey, this has saved my life.” So that’s why I do it.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
These camo ones I'm wearing.
Would you ever design your own crocs for merch?
Yes. I wanted to but then Post Malone announced that he made his own crocs and it’s going to take a while to get to that.
What bands you’d love to tour with?
There are bands I know who are trying to tour with bands that don’t really fit into their genre and I wish them best of luck, but I'm trying to be realistic at this point. I know what our next record sounds like, so maybe when that album comes out, we can tour with these bands but I don’t know. I really like Kailee Morgue. She’s phenomenal and anyone from Dirty Hit, and Pale Waves is amazing. Obviously, that doesn’t fit with our music but those are my bucket list bands to tour with because I respect them so much.
If you had to be stuck in a movie/show for the rest of your life what would it be?
I like movies that invoke emotions out of me, so anything that’s like emotionally jarring. Probably Moana or Frozen.
How does it feel to be a parent of so many emos?
It feels good. Its funny that Jess tweeted that we’re parents and everyone’s like “Yep!” I’m cool with it and I would like to consider us decent role models. We genuinely care and I’ve had experiences in the past where people have questioned my genuineness when I was little and still learning. I just want everyone to know that we really do care and we really want to spread the message of vulnerability, mental health, and emotional growth. So, if there were two people who genuinely care, its us.
You guys actually put your words into actions, so it really shows.