Interview with Kylolus

Interview with Kylolus

Today, we sat down with Kylolus to talk their inspiration to write music, musical heroes, and much more! Be sure to check out the music of Kylolus below after the interview on Spotify and Youtube!


What is your inspiration to write your music? Is it your


I take inspiration from various sources. The lyrics are often based on life experiences, and I’ve had a few! As an older gent, I’ve been through marriage, divorce, loss, parenthood, including helping to see my children into early adulthood, career changes, tough times and good times, disappointments and triumphs!

Sometimes really specific events that evoke a strong emotional response can lead to a song, but then I’ll make the lyrics more general so others can better relate to them. As an example, my son, when he was about four or five years old asked me, right out of the blue, if he would die one day. I’ll never forget that dreadful feeling I had, knowing that I needed to be truthful, but also knowing the answer would be upsetting for him. It inspired me to write a song called Tell Me, in which the lyrics describe the situation of having to break bad news to a loved one. But the subject of the bad news is deliberately not defined so that listeners can relate the lyrics to their own life experiences. Quite a lot of my songs are like this: I like to make them relatable with a clear subject of ‘discussion’.

There are a couple of songs that were definitely inspired by ‘surroundings’, though. I have a song called May Green, which will be on the second album, that was inspired by the beautiful spring we had in 2020. It was the time of the first major Covid lockdown when the roads fell silent, but we were encouraged to take exercise in the local parks or countryside. The birdsong and weather were just awesome that spring. It was a weird feeling because the pandemic was taking a terrible toll, yet at the same time there was this sense that the world was being reclaimed by nature. And there’s a song on the first album called The Sound Of The Rain On The Sea which is a kind of homage to my favourite Scottish Island.

Most of the time though, the music comes before the lyrics and I let the vibe of the music guide me on the lyrical subject matter. I mostly write by improvising riffs and chord sequences at the piano and working up from there. I can’t discipline myself to write at a given time or day – I have to be in the right mood, but that mood can be happy or sad. I’m just drawn to the piano on those occasions and if something good comes, then I’m usually inspired to develop it intensely over the next few days.


What type of music did you listen to growing up?


As a kid I listened to the chart music of the day, although I was also hearing a lot of classical piano music as I was learning that. But I can remember being blown away when I heard Queen’s Seven Seas Of Rye as a teenager, and after that I was mostly interested in rock music. I then discovered prog rock and the great bands of the 70s and 80s like Genesis, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits and Camel, which was a particular favourite of mine. A little later I got into some of the singer-songwriters of the day like Al Stewart, Chris Rea, Jackson Browne, Rickie Lee Jones and Suzanne Vega, and these guys showed me how powerful and elegant lyrics can be.

Is there someone you looked up to as a hero?


In terms of musicians, I was always in awe of the great prog rock keyboard players like Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman, because their technical ability was off the scale. I was particularly fond of Tony Banks of Genesis because his style and the music he wrote just seemed to resonate with me. But I’ve learned that simple can be good too, and now I really appreciate the work of Rick Wright – his playing was much simpler than others of his time, but the music was really beautiful. And I should also mention the guitar playing of David Gilmour and Camel’s Andrew Latimer. I’ve always loved how these guys use the guitar to make melodies that can touch your soul. While I love rock music of all sorts, I’ve never been a fan of ‘shredding’ – I much prefer something melodic that you can get lost in!     

If you weren’t a musician, would you be doing today?


I have another passion aside from songwriting, and that is palaeontology! I collect fossils and I’m a bit of an expert on Lower Jurassic ammonites – in fact, I’ve published several scientific papers on them! So, when I’m not at the piano I like to get out and indulge this passion down on the Dorset coast or up on The Isle of Skye. Actually, I just like to be outdoors in general. I’m lucky enough to live in the Cotswolds, and my partner and I regularly walk in the local hills just to enjoy nature and scenery. We’ve also taken walking holiday in Wales and Yorkshire. So, if the weather is nice, and I’m not at the piano, you’re likely to find me outside, somewhere scenic!

What advice do you have for our fans out there that want to create

I think to go into it with realistic intentions. Technology has greatly lowered the barriers for any of us to make well-produced music and deliver it to the world via streaming platforms.  But the corollary of this is that the internet is overflowing with original music, so the chances of being ‘discovered’ or ‘making it big’ are remote unless you’re able to invest a vast amount into marketing. This is just a fact you have to come to terms with, and it’s important to understand what you expect to achieve. For many, Kylolus included, the goal is merely to enjoy the creative (and sometimes cathartic) process of writing and recording an original song, and there is a real kick that comes from hearing the final high-quality production and feeling that you’ve brought something beautiful into the world. But if you expect an audience, you really need to work hard and invest in the marketing – even more so if you want your music to make money or become your career. But whatever your goal, I’d say strive for the highest quality you can achieve – for something you can be proud of. It takes a lot to write and record a song, so when you’ve done it, you should be unashamedly proud of that achievement.