It’s been said that brothers have a special connection, and they can almost communicate telepathically. Raised on a love for soulful music, brothers Jeff and Jon Lee have found that connection through their band SKYLINE HOTEL. Based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, the brothers have started to find their stride and are currently on the verge of releasing their sophomore EP.

We had the opportunity to get to know more about the Lee brothers and the heartfelt, guitar driven songs they have crafted.

Your upcoming EP Sparks of Light will be released on January 19, 2016. Do the songs have a common theme?

Jeff: The songs are snapshots of the varying aspects and emotions related to relationships.

Jon: The song listing tells a story of finding someone unexpectedly, falling in and out with them, and then going back to square one to reflect on the experience.

Jeff: Life is full of uncertainties, and it almost seems like a random assortment of occurrences tied together, including things like unhealthy relationships that we hold on to even though we know it’s bad, only for the sake of comfort, not knowing what you want and ending up hurting everyone involved, and the fleeting infatuation that completely envelops us. But in the end, it all comes down to wanting something substantial, to give love and feel loved. We’re all waiting for that “spark of light” to set off that something special, which we’ll hold on to and never want to let go.

Earlier this year, you guys released the second single from the EP, “Winter’s Warmth.” Is that song about anything in particular?

Jon: Winter is notorious for giving people the blues, so having someone special in your life during that time period can provide happiness and warmth underneath the gloomy skies.

Jeff: I like that thought of being out on a calm snowy night with someone who brings you joy while the festivities and holiday spirit bustle in the air, something about that is so warming and comforting. Hearts jump at each other, almost a childlike sense of first love.

One thing that I love about your band is that you are both brothers. Can you tell me about your experience with music growing up and how it brought you together to form SKYLINE HOTEL?

Jeff: Jon and I started like how most teenagers do, playing songs that we liked. These pre-orchestrated jam sessions eventually turned free form when we learned to improvise. It’s an exciting thing to improvise and create music spur of the moment, so we jammed more and more. This really established and honed in our dynamics together. We then began crafting songs together. This was always such a joy to do, so we kept doing it.

Jon: Being brothers, we have this innate musical connection and understanding. Growing up with each other, we experienced many of the same things, hung out a lot, and listened to and liked much of the same music, so things are very natural when we play and create music together. We were exposed to a variety of music at a young age which helped us appreciate music of all genres. The desire to mimic the songs we enjoyed turned into jamming out and creating our own music tailored to our tastes.

Jeff: Eventually, we recorded demos and performed at local venues. Initially, it was all for fun, but after doing it more, we realized this was more than a hobby. That’s when we took that passion into action and created SKYLINE HOTEL, recorded our first EP, acquired a full band with a drummer and bassist, and played shows every month.

Do you also have a permanent drummer and bassist that record and play shows with you?

Jon: We play with our friends Alan Slimak on drums and Zack Be on bass. They are both very dynamic musically and personally. Zack has now transitioned onto keyboard, playing the bass as well. We are happy to have them onboard to add their opinions and ideas to the songs and live sets.

Jeff: They’re such talented musicians, and they bring a lot to our sound. This upcoming EP, Sparks of Light, features the full lineup with them on drum and bass for the first time. Our first EP, For My Dearest, was before we recruited them, so I did the drum and bass for that.

You have described your music as “guitar driven sounds of the ‘70s and sensitive, emotion-laden feel of the ‘90s.” Why did this musical direction make the most sense for you?

Jeff: That’s what really connects with me the most. It just hits that musical sweet spot for me. I grew up in the ’90s, which was full of that emotional R&B, so I latch onto that emotional and sensitive music. They sung about passionate love, yearning, and heartbreak. There is just so much feeling in that era of music. I also grew up listening to classic rock artists like ERIC CLAPTON and LED ZEPPELIN. This is where that guitar driven influence comes from. Tasteful guitar work that complements a sweet, unique pop song feels good to me.

Jon: It’s only through having critically analyzed our music that we realized where it stems from, But it was a natural thing that evolved over time. It wasn’t like we sat down one day, brainstormed, and said we liked these two decades of music and want to combine them. Our sound is the result of many years of jamming and creating music together that shaped it to be what it is now.

On October 9, 2015, your band performed at D.C.’s Pop Equinox at the Rock & Roll Hotel, which you also organized to celebrate the arrival of fall. How did that show go?

Jeff: It was a success! A lot of pressure and stress organizing the event, but we promoted it really hard, and a lot of people showed up! Rock & Roll Hotel was pleased. It was a pleasure to work with such talented D.C. bands and get them all on one night. That’s the point of the Pop Equinox, to celebrate the arrival of fall by getting the best DC bands in one night, so look forward to next year’s.

The Pop Equinox show led up to the national “All Things Go Fall Classic” event the following day. What was that event about?

Jeff: The All Things Go Fall Classic was a music festival in D.C. It featured some of the top electro-pop groups today, such as KYGO and PENGUIN PRISON.

Jon: There was no association with either event, but it was a nice build up to it.

Jeff: It was cool how the Pop Equinox preceded the All Things Go Fall Classic. Two fall music events right after another with the former featuring great local acts and the latter featuring great national acts.

Do you have any other shows lined up that you would like to announce?

Jeff: We have a show December 8 at New Deal Café in Greenbelt, Md. We have an album release show in the works for January in D.C. Stay tuned for that, and look forward to Sparks of Light coming out January 19, 2016!

For more updates on SKYLINE HOTEL, be sure to visit their website, “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and be on the lookout for Sparks of Light on iTunes and Soundcloud.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Fairfax, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with his girlfriend Alex.