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For SUPER WHATEVR, sincerity is a surround-sound experience.
It’s what’s guided Orange County, California’s Skyler McKee to this point, and now, with a debut full-length Never Nothing due January 19 on Hopeless Records, it’s a trait he’s not about to abandon.
On its surface, Never Nothing is the sound of an up-and-coming artist developing his style, bursting with nervous energy, buoyant rhythms and earworm melodies. But spend some time with the songs, and you’ll begin to uncover the weighty themes McKee has expertly hidden inside them.
Super Whatevr’s songs don’t seek to push away the darkness. Instead, they invite it in, realizing the only way to move past life’s problems is to tackle them head-on. They’re songs that force listeners to confront the ugliness in ourselves (“Telelelevision”) and those closest to us (“For You”). They come from a dark place, but they’re undercut with a ray of hope.
“All my songs are happy,” McKee explains. “They have a sad tone, but it’s all in a positive manner. I want to help people grow and be vulnerable. If it’s got to be dark, then it’s going to be dark. It doesn’t hurt me, because I know it’s going to help me grow and help other people grow.”
Super Whatevr was born as a vehicle for McKee’s poetry in 2013. Up until that point he had only played bass, but began studying the craft of songwriting with the help of a friend and penning songs of his own. Armed with a trio of influential albums (Cage the Elephant’s Thank You, Happy Birthday, Tokyo Police Club’s Champ and Manchester Orchestra’s COPE), his songwriting foundation took roots in emotive, dynamic rock—all undercut with hyper-personal lyricism. 2016’s Good Luck EP introduced Super Whatevr to the world, and Never Nothing is poised to help McKee become a force in the underground.
From the album’s title (“The concept of the album title is that [what might be wrong with you] is never ‘nothing,’” McKee says) and symbolic artwork (a piece called “Out Of You Becomes Me”) to the songs themselves, Never Nothing is a comprehensive, cathartic work about pushing past your demons on the way to self-betterment. Above all else, McKee hopes it’ll serve as a conduit for happier lives—and not only his own.
“I plan on starting an online therapy session with the therapist who got me through what I was dealing with,” McKee says. “I’ll be directing anyone who needs help to that. I can be the surrogate that helps you get to a place that gets you comfortable. I don’t need to be your savior, but I can be the person who can push you to the place where you can get better.” XX
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