Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:33:42
Rilan (website intoxicates pop with “Chemical”. His new single stirs up an infectious mixture of elegant electronics and sweeping and soaring hooks. It’s an explosive introduction to a unique sound and so many surprises to come from this exciting young performer.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Rilan talks “Chemical” and so much more.
What's the story behind "Chemical"?
The concept behind it is how I enter a relationship and how things go for me when I feel something for someone. I dive in, and it usually isn't happy-go-lucky and bubblegum pop. It's sometimes deep, hard, and a little darker. Basically, it's how I take a stab at love. It's a little twisted and weird, but it's pretty much me and how I do it. The video shows what it's like when I close my eyes. Everything is black-and-white. It's a little distorted. There's a lot going on. It's a mix of the occult with the retro eighties. It's an introduction to me in the best way possible.
Where does the sound come from for you?
I've been working with the same producer since August. His name is Damian Lewis, and he came up under Phil Tan in Atlanta. Damian produced a rough version of the track. It was basically a bass line and drums. We laid some melody ideas down and finessed them all. For a concept, I thought of how I'm a bit different than the typical male pop going on right now. "Chemical" is something you can't control. It's there, and it's taking over your body, mind, and heart. You're so deep in it that you're a little twisted. You can't get out of it, but you're succumbing to something that's actually good for you and you like.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
Yeah, when I write, I think of the whole package together. I like the pictures and visuals behind it. If there's a story or where it comes from, I tend to write about experiences I've had or I've witnessed. I take it from a place that feels like home and I understand. What colors and visuals do I see when I close my eyes and listen to the song? It's important to have a whole package as far as the songs you're writing go.
What artists shaped you?
I was born in the wrong decade. My go-to artists are David Bowie and Queen. I love Prince. He's an epic, in-your-face presence, and his music is killer. I really like Adam and the Ants. I'm a big Boy George fan. It's the seventies glam rock and eighties synth pop glued together. Madonna solidified what it is to be a pop performer with her visuals and dance. That was my childhood. I was blessed with parents who were into good music.
Does "Chemical" pave the way for your album?
We've written a lot of songs. We released "Chemical" first because it's the best introduction to me sonically and visual. Everything fits nicely with "Chemical".
If you were to compare the record to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
Nice! I basically live in a horror movie [Laughs]. It'd be something like a weird ass combination between Donnie Darko, Jacob's Ladder, and The Fifth Element. It's a little bit of sci-fi, a little magic, and a little of the occult in there. Those would be it.
Have you heard Rilan?