Interview With Khaylan

It comes to no surprise that the musician Khaylan, who has a background in classical music and a rockers heart, would catch a lot of attention. This is a guy who studied the classical side of music while in Italy but when he reached 21 he decided to move to London to focus on a contemporary style and study at Tech Music School/BIMM London. He was part of a few different projects before going solo in 2014 and this saw him create the killer rock sound we hear today. 2016 saw the release of his debut single ‘Falling’ which received great reviews and now he follows that up with his debut EP ‘Return to Sender’.

Before I talk about his new EP I wanted to learn more about Khaylan as he has such an interesting background. I reached out to him and he was more than happy to answer what questions I had. We talked about his influences, songwriting and more. This is what he had to say:

What was it that inspired you to become a musician and who helped to inspire your sound?

Music was always in my life – my mom was a musician, my dad used to listen to a lot of rock music, and as a kid I started playing the violin and viola. As the years went on I learnt to play drums, guitar, bass and I started singing. I moved to London a few years back when I realised I wanted to make a career out of music, joined a few bands and ultimately formed my own solo project which is what I’m doing now. I’ve always been into heavy metal, but having also been a classical music student since a young age the two worlds complemented each other and enhanced my sense of musical curiosity. Since then I’ve been discovering brand new styles of music, but always keeping a strong sense of belonging towards complex harmonic landscapes, memorable melodies and strong rhythm sections. When I started writing my own songs, I suppose my aim was to regroup all my different musical influences and turn them into my own style, through which I would be able to truly express myself and grow with – as much as I realise it is now growing with me and my sound is constantly evolving.

When you write new songs, do you have a set process or do you go with the flow?

I used to have a set process, where I would start off developing an entire song musically, and only then decide what to talk about lyrically depending on how the song sounded. However after a while, as an artist and a singer, this detachment between lyrics and music started to bother me so I changed the way I work. Now, my more recent works sometimes start with a sentence or an idea, something I read or thought, and from there I will project music on this developing panorama so that they both come from the same place. Music therefore enforces the words, and the words embellish the music. Once I have this starting point, I am lucky enough to be able to think of all the different layers and instruments at once in my head, and I just translate my thoughts onto my computer, as I record my demos by myself at home. It does sometimes happen that I get stuck and spend hours working on arrangements, but some other times everything just goes so fast I don’t even have time to get to the computer, in which case I just hit record on my phone, grab the guitar or bass, and just strum the chords mumbling the melody I hear and talking into the microphone explaining what kind of rhythm I’m hearing. I find this process very helpful when it comes to breaking down the idea. But no matter what I always end up with a completely self-recorded demo of every song I write, because as a solo act I need to have a song finished from top to bottom to give to the musicians who are going to play with me, whether on stage or in the studio.

Talking of songwriting, which is your favourite song from your EP and why?

I’d have to say ‘Falling’, which we released as my debut single in May, mostly because of the lyrics. It’s a song about constantly dealing with self-deprecation and anger, where the sadness and depression coming from the former clashes with the violent outburst of the latter. It’s a kind of introspection that is clear from self-judgement or any type of restriction, it’s an in-depth look at a feeling I just had for far too long, which is a process I usually find unattainable. I’m also quite pleased with how I managed to create such a word flow on the uneven tempo of the song.

What can people expect from your shows?

A lot of energy and an absolute dedication to keeping everyone in the audience entertained at all times! I have noticed, even in bands that I actually support and like, that sometimes the musical performance is the only focus point and not enough attention is given to the show itself – or vice versa. My aim is to create an atmosphere and deliver a performance that not only has great musical value, but is also gripping and enjoyable for the audience. I want to surpass everyone’s expectations.

Finally, what are your future plans and goals for your music?

Well my debut EP ‘Return to Sender’ is now coming out on Feb 3rd, and we’re launching it with a free entry gig at the Cavendish Arms (London) on Feb 17th, which is really exciting! Then I want to line up a bunch of gigs in the months to come, and I’m going to go back in the studio very soon to record my debut album, as I’m almost done writing all the songs for it. In terms of more long-term plans… My goal is to have complete musical freedom to express myself, being a successful writer and being able to broadcast my musical thoughts on a wide scale. My dream has always been to be able to travel around the world doing what I love. Further down the line, I also really hope to own my own studio!

Khaylan’s debut EP ‘Return to Sender’ has all the usual elements that makes a great rock album but when you listen a little closer you understand there is more than that on offer. From start to finish it has this relentless sound that sits you in the passenger seat while Khaylan puts his foot flat to the floor.

As soon as the first track ‘Not Enough’ thunders in with epic guitar riffs the stage is set and when Khaylan begins to sing then this is when this EP is taken to the next level. These collection of songs are filled with great work on the drums and guitars that help to ensure a no-nonsense rock sound is delivered. No song highlights how good the music is on this EP than ‘Dare Yourself’ which also gives the listener a great instrumental display on the final third of the song. Khaylan’s range and power is highly impressive and he can really let rip when he sings, but the way he controls it means he can ease off to then go in a softer direction which just enforces how much of a talent he is. With this, the arrangement of his music and a good grasp of the art of lyrical content, Khaylan is definitely one to watch.

Overall this is a great collection of songs that I feel will be getting a lot of attention as this EP will cause some good ripples in the world of rock. If you want to check out more from Khaylan than you can stream his music on Spotify and Deezer. If you like what you hear as much as I do, then you can purchase a copy of ‘Return to Sender’ from the usual online places of Amazon, Google Play and iTunes.

With such an impressive EP under his belt, the challenge is on to deliver something even stronger and I’m confident that he will do so on the new album. Khaylan has a new acoustic song on his YouTube channel called ‘Today’, which sounds great. Maybe this will appear on his upcoming release but only time will tell.

To find out how the new music is going or want to find out when and where he is performing next then find him on his social media sites (Facebook or Twitter). You can also find this information and a little more from his website at Khaylan.com. The future is looking good for Khaylan but he still needs the help of his fans to help spread the word. So, jump onto your social media platforms and tell the world all about his music TODAY!