Omaha Power Pop Band Skypiper Make Another Stop in M-Shop


Courtesy of Skypiper

Indie rock band and long-time campus favorite Skypiper will be making a stop at 9 p.m. Friday, March 7th in the Maintenance Shop with rock group The Kickback for a free event for students.

Michael Van Zanten

Indie rock band Skypiper will be making a stop at 9 p.m. March 7 in the Maintenance Shop with rock group The Kickback for a free event for students.

Omaha, Neb.-based Skypiper is an independent, energetic group of rockers who have been evolving since their formation in 2007 and are currently incorporating power pop into their musical style.

“Graham and I are brothers,” said Gabriel Burkum, who plays bass and contributes vocals to the band. “We grew up playing music together. In 2006 I was playing in a metal band, and Graham was playing in an acoustic duo with one of our friends named Michael. They needed a bass player and I played bass on it; and then we recorded an album and it just kind of turned into a band.”

What began as a folk band has gradually integrated rock, gotten heavier, and more recently, honed in on pop.

“It was more like a folk bluegrass band,” Burkum said. “Things kept progressing and we added a member here, an electric guitar here, a piano here, and it just grew into more like a folk band. Over time, its influence has gotten more electric and it’s gotten heavier with all of our influences, and over time, we evolved. Now we’re way more pop-driven, a little more like rock and roll and soul.” 

Skypiper’s debut album, “Lay Low and Pretty” exhibits their bluegrass phase.

“Once the album came out it was just me, Graham, and Michael Childers, and we didn’t have a permanent drummer. But our producer drummed for us. Then we brought on Kyle Christensen, who played accordion and piano. Then we played a bunch of shows, and we recorded our second album three years later,” Burkum said.

The band’s second album, “Skypiper” was released in 2007 and demonstrates the band’s first shift in style.

“Our second album was self-titled,” Burkum said. “It was called Skypiper: same producer, different drummer, but same lineup. That was a little bit heavier, a little more like Wilco, or The Cardigans; those aren’t really heavy bands, but it was different than our first album. It was a little more heavy, a little more rock and roll.”

After their self-titled release, the band recorded a visual EP titled Down in Our Song, which can be seen on YouTube. Last year’s EP, “Troubledoer” represents the band’s current style that they plan to pursue moving forward.

“Last year we released a four-song EP that we produced ourselves in Minneapolis. It has four songs on it, and we tracked it mostly live in Minneapolis with our friend Levi out there, and that’s when I think we hit our exact sound.”

Under a pop-driven influence, Skypiper has begun work on their next project, due in 2014. 

“[Troubledoer] really changed our sound,” Burkum said. “A little more poppy, a little more catchy, a little more energetic. We’ve been touring on Troubledoer for a year now, we just started recording our full-length album, and that will be out this year.”

Skypiper has had a frequent presence in M-Shop.

“We’ve played Ames before,” Burkum said. “We’ve probably played the M-Shop alone 10 times.”

Indie rock group and Skypiper tour-mates The Kickback will be playing during Friday night’s show as well.

“We’ve played with [The Kickback] a few times in Omaha, [Neb.],” Burkum said. “and we’ve become really good friends with them. We went on tour with them last October. We had a really great time, and a really great tour. We’re really close friends with them, they’re kind of like our brothers in Chicago.”

Burkum encourages anyone who has never heard them before to come out for the free performance.

“You can expect an energetic set,” Burkum said. “and hopefully some fun songs that you want to sing along with. We bring our own light rig, so we try to have as much fun and be as entertaining as possible.”

Skypiper will play at 9 p.m., with doors opening at 8:30 p.m., March 7 in the Maintenance Shop. The show is free to students, and $10 to the public. Tickets are available at the door the night of the show.