Gig Seeker Pro


Omaha, Nebraska, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

Omaha, Nebraska, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Skypiper Interview"

The harmonies floating throughout Skypiper's songs are really something to aspire to. They swirl around beneath the sweet melodies and only serve to compliment the indie folk-pop instrumentation that defines Skypiper. Yet as I sat down with the members, I realized that Skypiper can not be defined. Their influences, aspirations, and genre are too great and differ too much to be defined easily.

Skypiper entered Aroma's in waves. After a bit of friendly chit-chat, we began our interview with Radiohead blaring in the background...

WAAP: I'd like to thank you for answering my questions. I'll start off with, who are you and what do you do in the band?

RYAN MENCHACA (RM): I'm Ryan Menchaca and I play drums.

GRAHAM BURKUM (GrB): I'm Graham Burkum and I play my voice and my guitar.

KYLE CHRISTENSEN (KC): And I'm Kyle Christensen and I play piano and accordion and tambourine sometimes.

GrB: Maracas.

RM: Shakers.

GrB: Multi-instrumentalist.

RM: And... he claps. Great hands.

WAAP: How did the band form?

GrB: Skypiper was originally me and Michael and we started off as kind of a bluegrass-y, acoustic guitar duet. Then we added Gabe playing upright bass with us so it was really folky and really stripped down when we first started. Then we started writing all these songs and we started working with Jason, who is me and Gabe's uncle. He was like, "well, let's go through these songs, I want to record you guys... I'm going to add a kick and a snare here and I'm just going to play with you guys." We're like, well, this is starting to sound really cool, maybe we should add drums. So we recorded all these songs with drums and all these acoustics. We were like, oh, we should overdub some electric guitars, we should overdub pianos and accordions and strings and whatever we can. We came out with out first record, "Lay Low and Pretty" and it was this huge, orchestral rock/folk piece. So we were like, we should probably learn how to play this on stage...

KC: That's when I joined.

GrB: Kyle joined playing keys for us and accordion and piano. We had been searching for a drummer for five years and Ryan just joined about five months ago.

RM: Skypiper's been a band for five years and never actually had a "set in stone" drummer, it was just a bunch of fill ins. I guess I was the first person that was in it for the long haul.

GrB: So we did our second record. Well, we did an acoustic EP actually in my parent's living room. We call it a visual EP called "Down On Our Song", we played a few of the songs on our first record and a couple songs from the new record. Really stripped down and all live and stuff. You can find that on our website. Then we recorded our next record and we used our drummer who was with us for a couple years, Alan. We recorded that in an old church in North Omaha. So, we did that and then Ryan joined. That's kind of where we are now, we just kind of play a lot.

KC: That's how Skypiper started.

GrB: That's how we started.

WAAP: What's the story behind the name?

GrB: The name? We could not decide what to be called, and I think it's even harder to decide your band name when you're in between genres. Like I said, we started out really folky and really stripped down and we started to think we should probably go with a lighter name. Basically the name Skypiper comes from me and Gabe's cute little girl cousins, Skylar and Piper. I said Skypiper that sounds cool, Skypiper okay I like that. Then we started recording that first record and all throughout that first record we thought we had to come up with a different name. This is turning into not Skypiper anymore. We threw out tons of names, probably went through hundreds of names and we couldn't think of anything better than Skypiper so it just stuck. We're like, I guess we're just going to have to make it cool.

RM: It definitely caught me off guard when I heard where the name came from. Just because I had been listening to their music for a while and the music, while listening to it and think about what the bands name was , it totally goes with it. In my opinion. Coming from somebody who hasn't played music with these guys for the last five years. So when I actually heard the story of how they got their name, I would have never guessed that it was two little cousins.

GrB: You know it's one word, Skypiper. Everybody separates it which is annoying but you think of small airplanes, that's like pipers and stuff like that. So we kind of dug ourselves into a hole or backed ourselves into a corner where it's like, "oh, Skypiper."

KC: At least it's unique...

GrB: Well definitely. It gives the band room to breathe just because it doesn't have a deep, profound meaning to it. It is just one word so...

KC: Don't you even think about hyphenating.

WAAP: I'll make a note of that, put it in bold, underline it, put exclamation points...

GrB: Yeah, basically we just couldn't think of anything.

WAAP: Who are some of your influences?

GrB: The Beatles obviously. I mean, we all love The Beatles. Wilco, The Cardigans...

RM: Punch Brothers, Nickel Creek...

GrB: Travis, have you heard of Travis?

KC: Spoon

GrB: Spoon definitely. Umm, who else? There's a band called Jellyfish. They're not like a super huge band, they're from the 90s. These guy don't know how influenced we were by that band, Jellyfish. They're still one of my top influences, check them out. Their record Spilt Milk, it's one of the best records you'll ever hear.

RM: I didn't know about them until I joined.

GrB: Ben Kweller and tons of bands... The Flaming Lips.

KC: Weezer

GrB: Weezer and what's funny is that, three of the five of us were in hardcore bands. Ryan was in a band called Give To The Wind that played, what do you call it?

RM: It was like metalcore.

GrB: Kyle was in a hardcore band and Gabe has been in a few hardcore bands so we have those kinds of influences coming in as well so we can collaborate that way.

KC: He's too cool for hardcore though.

GrB: Yeah, he's above that...

WAAP: Any genre with "core" in it really. You could start folkcore.

RM: Folkcore?

GrB: How about a side project called Power Alley Apple Core?

RM: Steel guitar breakdowns. Banjo power riffs.

GrB: Sounds perfect.

WAAP: What's your inspiration when writing?

GrB: Girls. The first record, I had just gone through a terrible breakup and so all the songs are about that. They're about being angry at girls or like being lonely because of girls or whatever.

[At this point Gabe Burkum enters the coffee shop and interview.]

GrB: Gabriel


GrB: Derek


KC: So good to have you.

GrB: So, that and just heavier stuff like heavier issues and things that convict us. You know when you first start out being a musician you really think what you're saying is really important. That you're on this mission, you have this message you want to give. This is how I feel and I want you to know how I feel and why I feel this way and I want you to feel the same way.

GaB: Like, if this is the only thing I ever do, I'm going to do this because this is how I feel.

KC: I think it's a really important feeling; but second album I think we drew from a lot of different influences because we all wrote songs. Actually we all wrote about two or three songs for the album and it's a lot ,ore diverse topically.

GrB: Surprisingly cohesive...

KC: Yeah, and it's pretty incredible.

GrB: The way that we write songs is, each of us will have an idea for a song and maybe pair up with somebody else. For a few of the songs, Kyle came over to my house like, "yeah, I'm thinking of this song, it's like this," and we'd play through it and collaborate between the two of us and we'll kind of flush it all out and have lyric ideas and melodies and this and that and then we'll bring it to the full band. Then we'll have two lists to show the rest of the band and we all pretty much knock out a whole song in a night. It goes quick after that. So it's really cool because we all have these different influences. We all come from different places and we each bring those different influences to the table. Eventually, hopefully, it all sounds like Skypiper but that's all we do.

RM: I think Skypiper is a really relatable band too because, again, coming from somebody who hasn't been playing music with you guys for the past five years, listening to it beforehand, there was a lot of stuff that caught my ear as far as lyrically and just evoking the emotion that I was feeling at the time. For one instance, I was on my way to Omaha. I was in the process of moving actually, I was driving from South Dakota to Nebraska and I listened to a Skypiper song which just talked about moving on and it struck a heartstring and I just kind of lost it. I don't know, it's definitely relatable stuff. I think anybody can listen to a song and be like, done that before.

GrB: See, we love the idea of having completely different songs on the record. Having real folky, stripped-down stuff and then maybe dance-y stuff and heavy, brooding stuff. Having it be a hodge-podge of different sounds and we've also noticed that people really like it. Someone wrote a review and said, "Skypiper is for people, from old ladies to emo kids who wear Chuck Taylor's," or something like that. We're conscious of trying to reign ourselves in and know who our audience is... so... I forgot what the question was...

WAAP: Inspirations...

GrB: Inspirations, yeah. We're actually all Christians too so there are a lot of Christian undertones in our music. We don't like to be really preach-y though, but obviously your beliefs are going to come through in your lyrics. With that, a lot of themes about failing in life and then redemption and going through a lot of crap but also being happy about it. Being in love, being frustrated, being hurt...

GaB: Whenever I write songs for the band, or just in general because I don't think, "I'm going to write a song for the band," I think about something that's going on in my life and I'll write a song that's usually like, not tongue-in-cheek, but head shakers. There's no other way to say it.

GrB: We also really love our friends. If your friends are going through something too it's on your mind. A lot of times you'll really feel that empathy. You'll write a song about what someone's going through, that's not you but you're feeling for them. Sometimes we just want to have a good time, write a pop-y song and we're kind of moving that way a little bit, I think.

GaB: It's really not taking ourselves too seriously. We take the band seriously but we're starting to feel like we're less important. Does that make any sense?

KC: It's like every song we write isn't our one shot to send our message. We just play what we like.

GrB: We all just really enjoy playing together.

GaB: It's less about being on a mission to get your message out and more about being a family and playing music and hoping people have fun listening to it.

WAAP: I know The Reader actually named you one of the top bands of 2011, how does that feel? Would you say that is an accomplishment?

GrB: Oh yeah, any of that kind of stuff always makes us feel really good. Even though my whole life isn't invested in what people think, you feel worried about what people think about you eventually. It's always really good to read something good about your band. It's really cool and Omaha's a fantastic place to play music. You tour around America and you realize how blessed we are, we have an awesome scene with amazing venues and sound guys and managers and people who just want to come out and listen to music, it's really awesome. There's a lot of opportunity and there's a lot of competition in Omaha. The music scene really tries to be more of a community but there is a lot of competition and to be picked out of that and named, it's really honoring.

KC: It's good competition, I felt really gratified about it because we've put in a lot of hard work and a lot of songwriting and tons of practicing. It always feels good to get that kind of recognition when you're working really hard and it's not going unnoticed.

GaB: Well, for that specific acknowledgement, it's really cool that we're at a point in the band where we don't ask. We don't ask people to vote for us for things. We tried asking for support from friends, literally asking online and stuff. It's nice to not be like that, to be somewhat known so you don't have to ask for recognition.

GrB: It's all part of growing into who you are and like I said earlier, it's good to be at a point where you have fun doing it. When you're at that point and you know you're not cheating the system by having everybody do stuff for you and you just get recognition...

KC: It also helps to release the reigns. There was a point where we were trying to eat up everything that was written about us, now it's nice because I don't thrive on it.

GrB: Someone will come up and say, "I read about you guys," and we'll be like, "oh really? That's awesome." You know, it always makes us happy. I think even when we get criticized it kind of makes us happy.

GaB: We enjoy it.

WAAP: Any publicity is good publicity right?

[The final Skypiper member, Michael enters the coffee shop.]

GrB: This is our guitar player and other singer Michael.


GrB: Just for the record, Michael Childers just walked into the room and he is good looking.

KC: Everybody just turned their heads to look at him.

GaB: He's radiating pure beauty.

WAAP: How do you feel about the hype the Nebraska scene is getting? What do you think it could do for all the local bands around here?

GrB: It's like I said, when you're driving around America and you see what else is out there, it's awesome to know where you're coming from and to be able to tell people about it. It's awesome to be in a place where you know that somebody will see you and maybe something really will happen. Omaha's a really cool place, a lot of talent here.

KC: You can tell people you're from Omaha and kind of brag about it a little bit. There's a pedigree and reputation from Omaha and that's cool to be a part of.

GaB: What I think is cool is, we have all these different social mediums, Omahype, Hearnebraska, Saddle Creek. We have good venues and a lot of people who are musicians. What I think is cool is with so many musicians and so many bands and so many mediums, getting written about and put in people's faces, what's cool is, there's a competition there but it's also a family.

KC: Camaraderie.

GaB: And there's so much of it that, quickly, the cream rises to the top. I'm just saying that it's nice that there's so much music going on. That's just the scene, it's really awesome, we feel really blessed to be here. It's hard to break into the Omaha music scene. There's a lot of competition, a lot of good competition...

RM: And then there are those bands, I just hate their guts.

GrB: Just kidding. Anyway, we like it, we don't plan on moving.

WAAP: What about the Omaha scene, or Lincoln or anywhere in Nebraska, makes it worth national attention?

GaB: There's just real talent here.

RM: It surprises me sometimes too, when I hear Omaha talked up as much as I actually do... I mean, I agree with it and say that there are a lot of great bands coming from Omaha, but then at the same time I'm thinking, like who? Who are you talking about? Who's so good out of Omaha? But Omaha has had some really great bands that have come out of here and there's a really big label in town so it makes sense, but sometimes it catches me off guard.

KC: I think it really is the amount of talent for the size of the town...

RM: It's concentrated.

KC: Yeah, I remember playing with other band I hadn't heard before but I had heard about, like, wow, I expected you to be not that good but you guys are awesome. That's happens all the time.

GrB: That's what you get mostly on the road too. Local acts, 99% of the time it's painful you know? Not only are the venues not as cool and the people aren't as nice, but the bands aren't as good. Here you're pretty much guaranteed to play with great talent. Humble talent.

RM: Local music is important, I think the part that nobody thinks about is the support. I feel like Omaha has the hype that it does because of how many people support the music. You can go to other states and there will be some awesome bands that'll come out of there but they won't have the cool support that some other places do. Being in Omaha I've seen Skypiper's support and the fans that have stayed true since day one. It's really cool to watch how people get crazy about music still.

WAAP: What would you say is more important to you, the feel of the music or the lyrical content?

GrB: Yes.

WAAP: And that's the end of that one.

KC: I would say they're equal.

GrB: I don't know... we write a lot of songs that never go anywhere and it's usually because the lyrics aren't up to par with what we want or we're just not feeling it even if the message is super cool. I would say they're 50/50, you can have a strong song without an awesome melody and you can have an awesome song, like vocal arrangement without an awesome instrumental arrangement... Anyone else want to elaborate on that?

KC: No, I think they're equally important. End of question.

WAAP: What advice would you give to other local artists just starting out? What would you say to them to get them into a higher level of the scene?

GaB: Don't play everyday. Don't play a concert everyday and don't play in the same city. Don't wear out your hometown and don't play the same songs every time.

RM: It's one of the biggest strategies of marketing your band. Making sure you're doing things at an appropriate time...

GaB: And appropriate place. Don't play in every little place because pretty soon people are going to know you as that band they've heard a thousand times at that one small coffee place. Try new things.

RM: Yeah, but at the same time, just keep trucking along. That seems really cliched to say but it's a shot in the dark, starting a band.

GrB: I'd say just work hard, practice your stuff, get it down, make it something that you would want to watch. Don't have the illusion that, just because you're playing music, that people are going to like it. If you can't see yourself watching it and listening to it from the outside, you should probably work on it a little bit.

GaB: I personally think that if your band is not your favorite band, there's something wrong. No, think about it. If your band is not your favorite band then what are you doing?

KC: I was just going to say, practice and practice and practice and practice. Be good, don't suck. But I don't mean that as the subjective "don't suck," I mean some people are obviously not going to like you, some are going to like you. Be the best band that you can be and always analyze yourself.

GrB: Also have fun with it, I think I need to fit that in there somewhere. Think about what your motive is, think about where you're going. Why on Earth would you want to put yourself through all that if you're not enjoying it? You know, have fun with it.

GaB: For the record, my band is my favorite band.

RM: For the record, Destiny's Child is my favorite band.

WAAP: You can't beat Destiny's Child.

GaB: I'm not saying there aren't a thousand bands that are better, but I think you should love your band.

KC: You have more reason to love your band because you know everybody in your band.

GrB: Love your band's music, because if your don't love your band's music...

GaB: I think people get the idea that they're going to play one song and they're in, they're going to make it and that's not the case. We've been around for five years and we're just now starting to get people hearing about us. It all leads back to your motive and whether you enjoy it because it's not going to just happen... well I guess it could just happen for you...

KC: If you're good, I guess.

GaB: Don't count on it being that way though, it's a lot of hard work.

MC: Do what the Jonas Brothers did.

GrB: Do what Beiber's doing, he's got a pretty good business model.

RM: Just copy people.

WAAP: What would you say is the future for Skypiper?

MC: Have you ever seen Hope Floats?

GrB: We all love being in Skypiper. We're at the place where we just love playing the music, we really like doing it, we're brothers. Our wives are sisters, we just have a big family, we love it. Ideally, of course, everybody would like to be huge and have their music in movies and play on big tours in big stadiums and be loved by everybody.

KC: That's our goal, our ultimate goal.

GrB: Conan by 2050.

RM: I'll agree with Graham there, of course everyone is out to make it big, be noticed, get a bunch of fans, make some money. I feel like all that stuff is a bonus, getting signed and all that. For right now, all I know is that I'm in a band with all of my best friends, I get to play my favorite music and sit down and do cool stuff like this. I'm in a perfect spot, everything else is like a blessing. Anyone who knows us, knows we love doing what we do.

GrB: We just came out with a new record in August so our plan is to play this record out and get into people's ears and onto their computers and cars and wherever else.

RM: Onto their Zunes.

KC: We want to get this into Walkmans. But we just plan on touring more often and making more friends I guess.

WAAP: I'm just going to do one more. Would you consider SXSW?

GrB: I guess we went about this the wrong way because I'm sure everybody feels like their band is good enough to play South By Southwest. Everybody thinks their band is better than all these other bands but we've applied. We've applied like 5 years in a row, or like 3 years in a row. It's a process where you buy and application for forty dollars and kind of have a shot.

KC: We send in a submission and if they accept us...

RM: I thought it was pretty interesting, we played with a band, an Omaha band the other week and they were in a contest to go to SXSW. I don't know I thought that was pretty interesting, I had no idea that was possible, I thought it was just application. That is pretty cool.

GrB: It's awesome exposure, we have plenty of plans to get into festivals, we love playing college campuses, we have a lot of plans to hop on festivals and all that.

MC: We're willing to help people with homework too.

RM: Michael is one of the smartest mathematicians you'll ever come across.

GaB: He's a math-magician.

RM: We love to call him a math-magician.

GrB: Math-illusionist.

KC: Skypiper will hold it's own festival next year.

GrB: It'll be The Pipe Fest.

WAAP: I'm sure an interesting group of people will show up to that one.

This interview was conducted on the seventeenth of February at Aroma's in The Old Market. Due to the sound quality of the recording, this transcript was a bit abridged. Also, I would like to point out that there was no offense meant to and fan of hardcore music. Or any "core" music at all.

Before wrapping this interview up, I'd like to say I'm sorry to the guys from Skypiper and anyone want to read the blog for taking so long to get this one done.

Thank you guys for reading, coming back those of you that do, and here's kicking off the campaign for Skypiper at SXSW 2013!

If you want more Skypiper, check out the facebook, the website, the myspace, the twitter or the store. For more WAAP you can view our twitter, facebook, or new tumblr accounts.

Have a good night everyone.
Posted 4th April 2012 by D James - We Are All Portals

"SKYPIPER Headlines The Waiting Room"

I had the opportunity to go to the Skypiper and quiet corral concerts in omaha almost a month ago. I made sure I brought avery. They kicked ass! We made sure to take pictures to show everyone. heres they be. - Levi Baus

""Oh Framer, Give" by Skypiper l Ingrained Video - review"

"Oh Framer, Give" by Skypiper l Ingrained Video

by Andrew Roger

One of the big draws of the OEAA Summer Showcase July 9, 2011 was the opportunity to discover new bands. But hunger, tired bodies, work stress and other obligations often distract us. Even in these times, a song can lift us up and make us new again. This moment is the dream for music appreciators — when you forget about time, space and reality.

As the record spins or the sound guy finds the sweet spot, the song enraptures you, taking you to musical nirvana. There is no longer here and now. You're swept away — feeling anything but the music. The verse and chorus roll you along as wave after wave of joy hits you head on. Bridge skims the surface of melody, as if you could touch it. But because you can't help it, you subconsciously remind yourself of where and what you are — and pop.

The final chorus cresecendos, delivering you back to earth, right back into your body — to your hungry stomach and sore back. But still, you get a buzz, something to hold onto through the night, and maybe a CD so you can experience it all over again.

Somewhere between gettting to the Waiting Room and my getting that first well-deserved drink, the Ingrained crew shot a video of Skypiper. I don't remember doing it but I remember those pop rock melodies lifting me away and landing somewhere on the curve of the bar with a cold one. This video is the only proof that it happened. Enjoy this video and see if you remember watching it. Either way, I bet you'll remember Skypiper. - & Ingrained Video

"CD Release - Preview"

(Editor's note: This interview previews Skypiper's CD release at the Waiting Room Lounge, Friday, Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. The show costs $7 and features Anniversaire and Minneapolis-based indie rock band Tarlton. More info here.)

by Bryce Wergin

It's a slow afternoon at Beansmith Coffe Roasters in La Vista when I talk to Graham Burkam. The 24-year-old Omaha resident spends his days selling coffee beans, and as the afternoon stretches towards evening, Burkam's shift is finally coming to an end. Because there are no customers coming in with coffee bean orders, he can focus on talking with me about his true passion: playing guitar and singing in Omaha indie-folk-rock group Skypiper.

Skypiper has been gaining popularity in Nebraska over the past few years as their first album, Lay Low and Pretty, and followup E.P. Down in our Song, have toured the earbuds of many local music lovers. After almost a year in the studio, Skypiper prepares to drop their second full-length album, a self-titled effort Friday, Sept. 9 at the Waiting Room in Omaha.

It took the band nine months — over nights and weekends — to finish the album, but Burkum says the time spent was well spent.

"This record is pretty different from our first one," he says. "Our first record was really, as Michael [Childers, Skypiper guitarist/vocalist] put it the other day, kind of 'high school.' This one feels more mature — I don't want to say more serious, but definitely more advanced. We tried to keep the smoothness of our sound, but some tracks do get a little heavier."

Burkum says long hours in the studio can lead to some tension between members, but strong personal relationships keep the band grounded. Skypiper's bassist Gabriel Burkum is Graham's twin brother, and the band's producer, Jason Burkum, is their uncle. Childers is a childhood friend of the Burkums and has been playing music with them since they started.

"If you're a fly on the wall, it might look like things are getting heated and we're yelling at each other from time to time, but you know how it is when you're family," Graham says. "Nothing gets too serious or heated. We've really learned how to just have fun with it and not take it too seriously."

Skypiper collaborated with artists from all over the country, and even one from Romania, to come up with an alternative way to package their new CD. The album will come with an art book containing pieces created specifically for each track on the album. Burkum says CD cases are seen as a piece of plastic, rather than a special part of a respected album.

Artists who contributed work for the album include: Dave Nelson, Graham Burkum, Gabriel Burkum, Ryan Showers and Leah Jean from Omaha; Matt Keller and Penni Sue from Council Bluffs; [HN contributor] Eric Gonzales from Seattle; Margot Simms from indianapolis; Mike Cina from Minneapolis and Oana Befort from Bucharest, Romania.

"My brother Gabe came up with the idea when he was using a CD case to scrape his windshield," he says."So we're selling the CD with the book and it's just something fun to look at and something that will last. We thought it was a good idea and it was great to get our friends involved in the project as well."

"Worlds Of Wayne Podcast #2"

Listen to a few live songs and interview here! - Wayne Brekke of "Worlds Of Wayne"


Skypiper has been in the studio recording their second LP and needed a break, and what do musicians with great passion and drive do to relax? Go on tour, of course! The band played a 9-song set including songs with piano, accordion and stand-up bass. The cabin was full of an audience mix of teenaged hipsters, middle-aged parents and even a few children- showing Skypiper’s grandiose box-of-chocolate-mixture of musical styles. The band played smoothly and without one error, owning the stage they performed with confidence and energy.

If the songs played live sound anything like their upcoming recording, listeners are in for a sure treat. The unsigned band of determined young men with great heart, describe their music as a mix of folk and rock.

Their first LP entitled "Lay Low and Pretty" is available now through Itunes and contains a stratosphere of great songs. These guys have everything and are a good band for fans of The Beatles, Death Cab for Cutie or any good music. Check out and be sure to take a listen to "Lay Low and Pretty." - B. Blumenthal ROCK.COM

"Worlds of Wayne Podcast"

Read and listen to it all right here! - Worlds of Wayne

""Lay Low and Pretty""

“Lay low and pretty and don’t make a sound,” advises Skypiper frontman Graham Burkum at the close of the heart-melting ditty “Lay Low and Pretty”, the title track for the folk outfit’s full-length debut. This sentiment seems the group’s official credo, as they’ve kept mostly anonymous in the local scene, yet pumping out songs so rich in pathos they could bring Omaha’s most callous bastards to their knees. In celebration of the release, a string arrangement will accompany the boys through the entirety of the album, certainly forcing the audience to weep into their tallboys, which is great because Old Style isn’t nearly watery enough. — Tim Greenup, The Reader - Tim Greenup, the Reader

"Skypiper’s “Lay Low and Pretty” stands strong and melodic"

Midwestern rock band Skypiper might be young still, but their album “Lay Low and Pretty” is on the same par as other Omaha, Neb. bands, including well-known acts such as Bright Eyes, The Faint and Rilo Kiley.

The album opens with “My Sun Went Down,” a 27 second introduction that feels like what a flash of light would sound like if shown into a darkened room.

The songs in “Lay Low and Pretty” have different feels to them; some comparable to a sea shanty, and others like a typical grassroots rock band- a little bit of country, a waltz beat, and profound lyrics with double meanings.

What makes Skypiper different? For starters, they have an upright bass. The bass is featured in the title track, “Lay Low and Pretty,” and the player, Gabriel Burkum, switches between the bow and plucking with his fingers, a technique called ‘pizzicato,’ for a heavy, rolling sound, much like the waves on the album art. The song also features an accordion and violin.

Vocalists Graham Burkum and Michael Childers have a smooth, non-vibrato sound to their voices, which makes it not only easy to understand the lyrics, but also adds to the flowing melodies they use in every song on the album.

The album was recorded at Emptyhouse Studio and mixed at Lay It Down Sound, both located in Omaha. Any musician will tell you that the one thing that can make or break a debut album is the mixing and editing process. Skypiper’s sound is well-balanced and clear, making the listener feel as though they are standing in the recording studio, hearing the music directly from the band without the middle-man of microphones and speakers.

The album feels like it’s the score to a movie that hasn’t been written yet, perhaps some romantic, independent film about a young man trying to figure out how to win the girl, all while learning what it means to grow up. The lyrics to “The Devil Is Real Ladies and Gentlemen” reflects this idea: “You couldn’t save her from the devil town/she couldn’t see the evil all around/she didn’t know you were a man obsessed/told you that she loved you, now you’re such a mess/so climb into the coffin and take your meds…”

As the album closes with “Don’t Let Your Sun Go Down,” a five minute, 14 second track that is supposed to reflect the opener, “My Sun Went Down,” it feels like the band didn’t want to end the album. The lyrics are simple: “Don’t let your sun go down/don’t let your sun go down on me,” with some minor variation in the wording here and there. It is a very emotional track, using a violin to carry on the feeling that the story isn’t over; the first chapter is just coming to a close.

Skypiper is one of those groups that appeals to a wide audience. Everyone from 15-year-old emo boys in Chuck Taylors and scarves to their grandmothers in worn pearl necklaces can enjoy some aspect of Skypiper’s sound, if not their music as a whole.

see: - WordVomit- Illinois Rock

"This Band will go far if someone is willing to listen"

There are alot of overlooked bands in the Omaha area. Ths band, Skypiper, is a gem, a lush and beautiful mix of alternative (americana) instruments,
and Beatles influenced pop. As a live band they have a drummer, acoustic, and electric guitars, a stand up bassist, and a keyboard player/percussionist. the vocal duties are split between the two guitarists, who often harmonize. On recording this album, nothing was spared in the arrangements, lots of cellos and a piano, and some background singers as well. Oh ,and this album was produced by a grammy award winner.
see: - Jeffrey Shephard, Omahaguru



  1. Five Years Of Copper
  2. Even If
  3. Free Spirit Woman
  4. Psalm for the Modern Troubadour

SKYPIPER (Sophomore LP) - 2011

  1. Heartstrings
  2. Clever Old Devil
  3. Framer
  4. You're Gonna Be OK
  5. Honey, I Think I'm Ready
  6. Smithereens
  7. Anything Boy
  8. Earthworm
  9. Intermission
  10. Givers Grow
  11. How I Want (WHEN I WANT)
  12. Wet Feet
  13. Something Better

Down In Our Song (Visual EP) - 2010

  1. Tango
  2. Lay Low and Pretty
  3. She Wouldn't See
  4. Sirens
  5. Something Better
  6. Lovers Hymn
  7. Smithereens
Lay Low and Pretty (Debut LP) - 2008
  1. I Let My Sun Go Down
  2. Lay Low and Pretty
  3. Doubts
  4. Be There
  5. Nick Of Time
  6. The Devil Is Real, Ladies and Gentlemen
  7. She Wouldn't See
  8. Sirens
  9. Lovers Hymn
  10. Time Of Day
  11. Don't Let Your Sun Go Down



Reinvention could be considered a dirty word in the paradigm of popular music- but to the band Skypiper, nothing could be further from it. 

After self-releasing two LPs and a "visual acoustic EP", Skypiper's sound has undeniably changed. However, one aspect of the band hasn't: It's never stopped being "Skypiper".

Formed in 2007 by twin brothers Gabriel and Graham Burkum, Skypiper has built its reputation on solid, catchy songs and a whimsical live show to boot. An unrelenting passion to create memorable songs is what has pushed Skypiper from their folk-influenced 2008 debut 'Lay Low and Pretty', to their folk/rock self-titled follow up album in 2011.

Skypiper has fun. This has never been more evident than on the band's 2013 release, 'TROUBLEDOER'. Constructed from catchy hooks, and lyrics that beg you to sing or shout along. 'TROUBLEDOER' isn't just a change of style for Skypiper, or a change in direction- it's a change of heart. The four song EP makes it clear that they're not taking things slow.

With a mixture of finesse and punch, their live show ranges from the joyously symphonic, to the wild, jangly ruckus. Skypiper demands movement; whether it's from the brute force of their powerful timbre or by the hypnotizing groove carried throughout their songs.

Band Members