By his mid-teens, Will Skol had adopted a post-punk headspace that would inform all of his projects that followed. He quit his weekly guitar lessons, and along with a daily intake of Cabaret Voltaire, (early) Simple Minds, Skinny Puppy, Gang of Four and Killing Joke (to name just a few) it made sense to do what his idols seemed to be doing: abandon convention.
Skol’s pursuit of his own electronic-driven sound, and his desire to use guitar as a contorted element within it, brought him to Toronto’s Queen Street scene. It was there that he collaborated with post-punk and industrial-influenced bands in the early 90s. By ’95, he and his musical allies had set off on a mission. Dubbing themselves Transformantra, their interest in commonplace musical structure was nil. They were big on groove, and even more determined to cultivate a head-spinning palette of sounds on each and every track. It’s no wonder the band earned so much acclaim for their 1998 debut CD. With praise from Urb, Alternative Press, XLR8R and Canada’s Exclaim!, the future was looking rosy indeed.
This was not to be the case, however, as both of Transformantra’s record labels went belly-up. And by the end of the decade, the group had split. But, as the cliché goes, every cloud has a silver lining, and in this case it was the release of Skol’s remix of Everything Is Vapour (the “In The Moment Mix”) by synthpop legends Rational Youth. This rare release is available once again at iTunes and Emusic.
For the next two years, Skol continued indulging himself in all things studio as he became programmer, bassist and co-producer for the electronic/rock hybrid Rockstasy. Instrumental versions of the group’s output (and that of its earlier “Mountain Mama” incarnation) were featured in a handful of film and television productions.
By the summer of 2002, Skol was looking for a change of scenery. He virtually abandoned the mixing desk, and over the next four years simply concentrated on being a player. It was during this period that he met Julie Mahendran, whose distinctive jazz/r&b vocals grace two cuts on the forthcoming album debut from Spiral Into The Storm (the album, A Futile Veneer, launches October 14, 2008).
Skol’s return to the studio in August 2006 saw the beginning of his most genre-defying work yet. He wrote, produced and mixed his debut Spiral Into The Storm EP within six months, and continued piecing together new material throughout 2007 and into ‘08. Alongside vocal highlights by Julie Mahendran, Giampaolo Scatozza (whose previous collaborators include Groove Armada) also pitched in with improvised live drums and udu on the disc’s title track.
And beyond putting the finishing touches on the Spiral album, Skol recently collaborated with Arthur Oskan (another Decibel Palace artist, and one of Toronto’s leading techno producers) for an EP that’s set to drop later in '08.