Satellite Sky is one of the best bands from Los Angeles’ underground scene that you’ve probably never heard of.
See what you’re missing by checking out the band’s show at The Hood Bar and Pizza at 10 p.m., Saturday, June 24.
I had the opportunity to check out the brother-and-sister duo from Australia back in February at The Echo in Los Angeles. The sound the two of them put out was incredible—and even won over my metalhead friend, Frank Skalsky.
“We’re brother and sister, and we’ve been playing music together for quite a while,” Kim Kicks said during a recent phone interview with both of the siblings. “Through playing various bands together over the years, it’s come down to this two-piece, and we absolutely love it.”
Satellite Sky eventually settled in Los Angeles.
“We grew up in Melbourne, Australia, jamming out in Mom and Dad’s garage,” Pete Kicks said. “Eventually, they thought we were proficient enough in our instruments, and we formed a couple of bands back in Australia and started touring around. We had an opportunity to come from overseas with a different band we were in, and when we got to Los Angeles, that band didn’t work out, and we decided to write some music as the two of us—and it took off from there.
“We’ve been going on now about five or six years. It’s a long flight from Melbourne, and we found ourselves trying to come back over here twice a year. It just seemed like there were opportunities in licensing our music in film and TV, and we wouldn’t have had that if we stayed back in Australia. We pride ourselves in being a live band that can draw people in with performances, and we can back up what we record playing live. We also felt there were touring opportunities here.”
Kim Kicks said Los Angeles simply felt right.
“Every time we came to Los Angeles, we felt a good vibe, and felt that it was a place we needed to be,” said Kim Kicks. “It felt like there was a lot of opportunity here, and instead of just passing through from time to time, we felt the need to be here. Australia is great, but it’s very small. There are a lot of great Australian bands who are content with just touring in Australia. Maybe they have families or something, but we’re travelers at heart. We love to travel. We love to get in the van, get on the road and experience new cultures and people. I think people forget they love rock ’n’ roll until it’s in front of their face. In America, there are a lot of other genres of music that are very popular, but when people find themselves in front of a rock ’n’ roll band, they love it. But they don’t know it until it’s in front of their face.”
Pete Kicks said when they started out in Australia, they played with a lot of rock bands. However, today, they don’t find a lot of Australian rock bands at big international events.
“What we’ve noticed over the years when we’ve played at South by Southwest is that there were eight to 10 Australian bands, and we were the only rock band that was playing this event,” he said. “I don’t know what the reason was, but it was more folk, synth and pop bands. That’s great in regards to what is being exported, but as far as the actual rock scene back in Australia, it shaped who we are as artists, and we were really lucky to have a lot of contemporaries when we started out.”
Satellite Sky has had some success in getting the band’s music in commercials and television shows.
“We landed a song in an NBC Olympics campaign in 2012. They used our song ‘Got This Feeling,’ and they picked three bands and we were one of them. The Black Keys were another band who did as well,” Pete Kicks said. “That got our foot in the door, and we’ve landed some music on shows for ABC and a couple of commercials, one of which was for Spotify, with our song ‘Next Time.’ It’s definitely one of those things where you might not land something every week, but once every few months or once a year makes a difference. It exposes you to a whole new audience.”
Playing as a duo can be hard, but it works to Satellite Sky’s advantage. Pete Kicks talked about how a bass player once had to sit out a tour due to commitments with his day job.
“We weren’t going to go on this tour, because he couldn’t make it. We worked out a way to play as a two-piece,” Pete Kicks said. “I have two guitar amps and pedals that can run with channels, so I can run a bass sound and a guitar sound. We’ve experimented with backing tracks for live shows. I think it’s great for touring, because you can pack a lot more into a van, but we both know we’re on the same page with what we’re trying to achieve. We have the confidence to say, ‘There’s no right or wrong anymore.’ The right way is whatever is right for you. We found as a two-piece that it doesn’t really limit us. We don’t feel we’ve compromised what we do onstage in any way. One of the compliments we get when we step off stage is what a big sound we have for a two-piece.”
The show at The Hood will mark the desert debut for Satellite Sky.
“We’re really excited,” Kim Kicks said. “We have some friends out there, and we don’t know what to expect. We’ve always wanted to stop through there on tour. We’re excited because it’s something different.”
Pete Kicks said he knows a little about the local music scene.
“We’ve heard there’s a great rock scene there over the years—a lot of bands that we’ve listened to in Australia,” he said. “I think it’ll be great to get out there, and we’re really amped to get out there and play.”
Satellite Sky will perform at 10 p.m., Saturday, June 24, at The Hood Bar and Pizza, 74360 Highway 111, in Palm Desert. Admission is free. For more information on Satellite Sky, visit www.satelliteskymusic.com.