Nearly 30 years after its inception, The April Skies is still making music.
The alternative rock band frequented Lancaster venues such as the Chameleon Club in the ’90s. The April Skies will perform at Tellus360 for the first time Saturday with Brooklyn band the YeahTones. It’s part of a batch of shows that gives the band a break from working on its upcoming album.
Guitarist Jake Crawford founded the band in 1989 as a college student. The Hershey and Harrisburg-area band found a dedicated following in the ’90s all-ages music scene in Lancaster.
It frequently toured, performing at venues such as CBGB’s and the 9:30 Club. The band stopped touring in 1994, and in 1998 decided to split.
“Real life took over,” Crawford says. The musicians got married, had kids and focused on their careers.
Then, in 2002, the band picked back up again. Crawford moved into the frontman role, and that iteration of the band continued for eight or nine years. After another break, the band was back with another lineup formed of friends from Crawford’s high school days. Also new was David Kemper, who took over the role as frontman.
“He came in, and it was seamless,” Crawford says. “The writing process, the output of music that we’ve been making, we just were writing constantly.”
The band is rounded out by Jason Leidich and Mitchell Curry.
The April Skies has embraced a more rocking sound as of late, too. As the musical influences of Crawford and his bandmates evolve, so does the group’s style.
“I think the last iteration of the band, we saw ourselves more in line with bands like the Cure and Death Cab for Cutie, and alternative indie bands like that,” Crawford says. “(With) David being the frontman now, now we think of ourselves more like the Killers or Cage the Elephant.”
Crawford isn’t afraid of musical evolution. In fact, he embraces change within the band’s sound. But he assures fans the music maintains a similar feel throughout the band’s lifespan.
“The cool thing is, if you listen to every release, up until the music now, you can hear the influence of other bands, but the great thing is, we sound like us,” Crawford says. “I don’t know if it’s just me playing guitar, which has been the one constant component in all of that, but we definitely have our own sound.”
The band was faced with another change about a year and a half ago when longtime guitarist Andy Book died. In 2016, The April Skies decided to release the last song Book recorded, “Golden Thing.” The song is a short, upbeat song with a poppy hook.
“I just wanted to put it out for him,” Crawford says.
While he’s not sure if “Golden Thing” will appear on the new album, Crawford’s happy to have new music on the way.
“Luckily, I have a studio in my basement now,” Crawford says. “Anytime we have a new idea, we’re able to record it.”
The April Skies has endured a lot of change, but Crawford says its mission remains the same.
“For us, it’s always been focusing on the music and writing songs and going out and playing really good shows and wowing people as much as we can,” Crawford says.