Niagara's SKY LOCO Releases New Album

Niagara's SKY LOCO Releases New Album

By David DeRocco                   

There’s no question Niagara has an abundance of live music. What it doesn’t have is an abundance of club venues fostering a vibrant original music scene. While the top cover bands get recycled as often as fired NHL coaches, those artists/bands making original music often struggle to find venues willing to pay them to play and showcase their songs.

Clubs like The Hideaway, Front 54, Uncle Sams, The Aquaduck, and the Atlas – venues that used to champion new music – may be history, but that doesn’t deter the creativity of Niagara musicians who continue to produce new music while striving to find venues to play and audiences who’ll give them a listen. SKY LOCO is one such example. Lead by singer/songwriter Remo Colantoni, the band has been writing, recording, and performing original music in the area for close to two decades. SKY LOCO songs deal with a variety of subjects while organically vacillating between a mix of rock, funk, folk, reggae, and psychedelia. On their newest full-length album release, SHAKE DREAMS FROM YOUR HAIR, the five-piece collective weaves all of those diverse musical threads into 10 original tracks, the third release in the band’s history. Colantoni recently took time to chat with GoBeWeekly about the album and the value in making original music.

GoBe: We know Taylor Swift if the only artist selling a billion albums every year, but what’s the goal in recording these songs and releasing an album?

REMO: It just goes back to the way I got into music and a lot of people did. I’ve got all these songs, wrote all these songs, and I just like the format of actually completing something from start to finish. There’s loads of songs I have, and when you find the right people to go into a studio and record, that’s what I like to do. We’ve got songs, lets put them together and tell a story for someone to listen to. I know that doesn’t happen much these days. I like the idea of having an album.

GoBe: I think anyone who, at their core, has a creative vein is looking for that form of expression. As a musician, someone who likes to write songs, at the end of the day you have to channel that creativity. Writers have to write the book. Painters have to paint the painting. Musicians have to record the album.

REMO: I agree 100 percent. It does give you that feeling of completion. It’s not just a bunch of random ideas floating around the air. It’s a process from start to finish. You start with a goal. You come out the other end with something you can be proud of.

GoBe: How serious is the collective of guys you work with in terms of, let’s say, rock and roll dreams? Are you making music for fun. Do you hope to get a break? Are you working with a PR guy to promote this?

REMO: We’re not really looking for the huge break thing. I’ve been doing this a while around here. Of course, anyone can dream of getting a break. Really, we’re a Niagara band. I wouldn’t mind having a name around Niagara and Hamilton as an original band that makes some pretty good music that will get people out to check us out. That’s really the goal. It’s nothing outside of our reality. I’m not a 20 or 25 year old man looking for the big career break.

GOBE: I look at some of the older original bands still gigging, bands like Common Language and Waiting for Jane that date back to the early 90s, drawing fans out again. Even though they never had a huge sniff at success, there is a nostalgia from fans to see them play their old material.

REMO: I remember Waiting for Jane and now they’re playing shows and selling tickets. We do know them around here and appreciate them, and it’s exactly like that. We’re homegrown, home based, not setting our sites on touring too far away. Anything we do is just to get people to realize there are bands around here writing goods songs and playing good music. We’re inundated with cover bands but there should be something else out there. Nothing against cover bands, they’re talented and we go out to see them. It’s just that it’s important to promote original music.

GoBe: Let’s sell this band and this record. If you were talking to someone new, how would you describe your music. Are the 10 new songs an extension of what the band is traditionally know for?

REMO: It’s singer/songwriter oriented. I’m basically the principle writer. I’ll write in singer songwriter fashion. That gets laid onto the band. They’re a really tight unit and versatile. It comes out with elements of funk, snappy rhythms, pulling at the heartstring ballads. Overall, it’s a pretty organic sound. It is a rock sound. Even a little reggae and psychedelia. It’s eclectic, I guess. We’re not a hard rock band. It’s folk meets rock meets psychedelia.

GoBe: There are some rockers on the album. “You’ve Got That Right” kicks off with some great guitar. “Back to You” is an emotional ballad. How did you wind up with the 10 songs you have on this album?

REMO: These songs have come from different eras. “Next Time” is an older song. “Virginia” is an older song. When we were in studio recording, we said let’s try some of the older numbers. Generally a lot of times it’s just scribbling words down, sometimes I’m just strumming along with a guitar and something pops out of the sky. The songs come in different ways. We laid down about 15 or 16 songs then plucked out the 10 we wanted.

GoBe: Is the title taken from a song lyric?

REMO: That’s actually a line from Jim Morrison, one of his lyrics from the American Prayer album, the opening line. “Awake, shake dreams from your hair my pretty child.” I always thought that image was appealing. There is something to be said about all of us just waking up a little bit and deciding what’s truly important, not stressing over the little things. That kind of tied it all  together. 

GoBe: Where and when can people see SKY LOCO?

REMO: We don’t do a lot of gigs. There aren’t many venues willing to book you when you say you’re doing original material. That said, we’re playing Hernder’s winery June 8th at 1:30, kicking off their afternoon concerts. We are playing the Port Dalhousie Supper Market August 13th. And I think we’ll be doing one in between at Niagara Artist’s Centre. There should be three or four dates over the summer.


Additional details. Shake Dreams From Your Hair was recorded in Jan 2024 by Frank Ditillio at Unified Recorders in St Catharines. It was produced by Frank and Remo. According to Remo, “all our recordings are done live off the floor because I prefer that energy and sound. It’s in the old tradition with the band playing together in the same room and minimal overdubs after.”

The band is a five piece featuring Remo Colantoni (Guitar, vocals), Anthony Pavone (Guitar), Gerry Hotson (Bass), Mike Costantini (Drums/Harmony Vocals), (Chris Van Grieken – Keyboards).

Find the album on Spotify:


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