Michael Labelle cannot describe a singular ‘rockstar moment’, because every day is a dream come true for the new guitarist/vocalist for A Skylit Drive. From Ottawa, Canada, Labelle believes there are so many elements in music that it is a never-ending learning process. He joins Michael “Jag” Jagmin (vocals), Nick Miller (guitar), Kyle Simmons (bass/ keyboards), and Brandon “Rage” Richter (drums) to complete a line up guaranteed to set any post/hardcore fan to jumping.
A chance encounter is the chance of a lifetime. An ordinary night at work led Labelle to a notice on FaceBook. A Skylit Drive was looking for musicians to join them. A longtime fan of A Skylit Drive, Labelle knew he had to audition for the job. Not sure if he would have a shot, Labelle sent links to his covers on YouTube. A Skylit Drive liked what they saw and asked him to submit a cover of one of their songs. Labelle admits that his first thoughts were, “I don’t have anything to lose. So I’ll just do it.” Labelle rushed to learn “Within These Walls”, record it, and send it to them between twelve hour shifts at work. It was done in a hurry, they had hundreds of artists to choose from and LaBelle thought his chances were slim.
A fan becomes a member of the band. Labelle is not new to the music world. His first band, Last Day Within, was three best friends who just wanted to play music. Labelle describes it as, “I was jamming out “A Reason for Broken Wings” for weeks and weeks. And we were just going to cover this song for fun, I don’t think we ever played it live though.” In high school, Labelle joined a friend who was a drummer and the duo covered “All It Takes for Your Dreams to Come True.” He was able to see A Skylit Drive live when they played Warped Tour in Canada. Many hours were spent in his room, playing along to his playlist, which always included A Skylit Drive songs.
Put it in writing. Labelle admits that being in a busy touring band is hard, but he believes the key is to play with the ‘most dedicated members, write down your goals, and achieve them.’ It is essential to put everything in writing, simply because it is easy to forget them. Labelle says. “That’s the one thing my guitar teacher always told me. Write down your goals for the week and achieve them for the next week.” It was good advice for a budding musician, and remains advice Labelle shares with other young artists.
Reality exceeds expectations. Labelle has had a few months with A Skylit Drive and smiles as he acknowledges that it has been everything (and more) than he thought it would be. He is particularly fond of driving at night. When the world is quiet, Labelle finds inspiration as he listens to music while he navigates the way to the next venue. He explains, “I’m always so tired driving, but when I get to where we’re stopping, I just want to pull out my guitar and play again.” Labelle is hard-pressed to pick a favorite tune from the extensive A Skylit Drive discography, because he relates to each song in some way.
More to come. When A Skylit Drive plays….everybody jumps. They took the stage at the speed of sound and played songs that span the lifetime of their career. Dual vocals of Labelle and Jagmin add depth as they complement each other perfectly. It is exciting and high energy, but most of all it is A Skylit Drive. The new songs hold as much intensity as the older tunes and the audience sang along with both. Signed to Tragic Hero Records, they are currently writing the next album and will continue to tour as much as they can.