EXCLUSIVE: Skyler Cocco Chats New Single “The Drive”

Featured Photo Credit: Dylan Mannarino

New York-based artist, songwriter, and producer, Skyler Cocco has returned with her latest single, “The Drive.” 

Submitted as a demo entry for a competition hosted by electro-pop group MUNA , “The Drive” is a synth-pop track that takes listeners on a vulnerable and reflective journey to explore how actions and words can affect a relationship and the people in it,” explains Cocco.

Since releasing her debut 2017 Reverie EP, Cocco’s sound has gravitated towards pop.

We chatted with Skyler Cocco about her single, its unique start, and more!

How did you first get interested in music? 

I grew up in a musical household. My dad was a music teacher in a New York City public school and played bass professionally. We had a digital 8-track in the basement that he used to record his music. Around age eleven he started to allow me to use the 8-track and I started recording my own songs. Throughout high school I taught myself guitar, bass and piano, and began experimenting with songwriting, overdubbing guitars, and programming drums.

How would you describe your sound? 

My sound is ever evolving. I like to blend genres in my music and reinvent my sound. Right now my music falls under the synth-pop and indie-pop umbrella. It has electric/danceable moments and more laid back/alternative rock vibes as well.  

Did growing up in New York influence your sound?

Definitely. I was a kid during the early 2000’s so I got to experience a whole other world of pop and alternative music. The radio stations I listened to growing up were playing artists that I am still influenced by today. By the time I was in high school, I was going to shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn and getting into the indie music scene. Experiencing the magic at those shows early on was a big influence on my decision to pursue a career in music.  

Who did you listen to growing up and are there elements that inspire your music today? 

The stand out bands that I listened to growing up are Tegan and Sara and Silversun Pickups. Both bands continue to influence my music today.  Silversun Pickups was one of those bands that I saw in concert every chance I got. I was obsessed with their ambient/shoegaze-y guitar processing and the androgynous sounding vocals. I also had Tegan and Sara’s entire discography on repeat throughout high school. They have also been known to reinvent their sound which made me feel more confident in blending genres in my own music.  

How has your music evolved since your 2017 debut, Reverie?

It’s taken a sharp turn towards pop in all the best ways.  I love the songs I wrote for Reverie but I never felt like they truly represented me as an artist. I feel way more excited about the music I have been making in recent times. My musical taste has definitely changed since Reverie and I feel like my songwriting and production is overall more mature and more authentic.  

What inspired you to write “The Drive”?

“The Drive” really was a demo that I needed to submit within 24 hours to qualify for Splice’s The Inbox: MUNA competition. I hadn’t worked on music in months due the pandemic, but all it took was some motivation to get me writing music again. The lyrics for this song came after I had been working on the production demo and are based on my own experience with what I like to call the cooldown period after a fight with your partner.   

What was the writing process like? 

Once I had a production demo for “The Drive,” the song pretty much wrote itself. It was one of those days where I hadn’t written in a long time and was overwhelmed with creative energy. I had so many ideas and went through various chorus options until I landed on the final version. I fully produced the song myself and had one of my longtime collaborators, Zach Miller, add some finishing touches on the mix and contribute the guitar line in the second verse.  

What was it like to see such a positive response to the song, especially from MUNA? 

It was unreal. I have been writing/producing/pursuing music as a career for so long and I’ve had days where I didn’t think it was worth it to keep going in this industry. There are so many people making music and it’s very difficult to stand out in this digital age. When MUNA recognized the effort I’ve been putting into my work and told me to continue making music it helped me stop doubting myself and trust my abilities. Their fan base in that livestream was also extremely supportive and gave me hope for reaching the right audience on this release.   

If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to “The Drive,” what do you imagine it looking like? 

This song definitely hits differently on a car ride. It’s best for a road trip with the windows down.  

What can fans look forward to next? 

I have a music video for “The Drive” that will be out on October 7th!  I’ll also be releasing more singles that will be compiled as an EP for 2021.  

What is one quote you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?

This is a quote from one of my favorite TV shows / comfort shows that I’ve rewatched a dozen times, Mad Men: “If they’ve tried to make you feel you’re different from them, you are. That’s a good way to be.” – Joan Holloway

I admire people who are unapologetically themselves.  I’m someone who has always felt a little different and never quite fit in with the norm. It took me a little while to really appreciate my differences and celebrate my uniqueness in this world, and to not compare myself to others who fit the mould.