If you haven’t already journeyed through Arcane, the new EP from Sydney-based artist Ryan Kristian, stop what you’re doing and go listen to it now. The EP is a boundless slice of psych-folk that we guarantee will leave you feeling hypnotised.
So fresh off the EP’s release, we caught up with the artist himself to chat all about it, the importance of musical mystery, and what the future holds.
With an incredible new EP fresh under his belt, we caught up with Sydney-based singer-songwriter Ryan Kristian for a chat.
HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?
RYAN: Hello, I’m doing well thanks and I hope that it’s reciprocal. I recently thought of giving music a break for a while since my last band dissolved and I was thinking of getting my mind cleared so I could come back to writing with a new slate spiritually. This didn’t really last long… and I decided to finish off Arcane and start writing some more music. I’ve also been buying and listening to a lot of vinyl records in the new apartment, I’m slightly addicted to it – probably better than other addictions though.
HAPPY: We’ve been loving the new EP! How does it feel having it out there in the world?
RYAN: I’m glad that you liked it… I was hesitant to release it but I am glad I did. It was a relieving feeling, it was like opening a room filled with water and finally tasting that first breath of oxygen. I think most of the time, generally, artists are quite critical of their work and will always have an idea or amendment to make or add into the arrangement/piece, although it’s like a child in a way and at some point you are going to have to – let it go.
HAPPY: Tell us a bit about the title Arcane… is mystery/the unknown an important element of your work?
RYAN: Mystery and the Unknown is an element that essentially enables me to write songs. I rarely sit down and plan it all like some orchestral arrangement… It’s the unknown that drives the compositions creatively. I usually write the songs chord progression, and as it progresses I will pick up different instruments and record off-the-cuff takes in the key of the song and usually after a few mistakes I will have the idea of each instruments part in the song. Arcane was recorded/written like that as I went into the studio with the base of the songs but essentially improvised everything else around the centre-piece, the frame. I try to be unpredictable with my approach but sometimes I catch myself out and go ‘hey man, that was a little bit vanilla’.
HAPPY: Did you approach the writing/recording of this new EP differently at all to past material?
RYAN: All the past recordings were utilizing my 8-track Tascam (which are incredible – I’d recommend buying one if anyone’s starting out) which were all in my bedroom or some lounge room with cables all over the ground a few bottles of red wine, books with words written down – but this time I had set out to acquire a clearer sound with better equipment and also, record decent drum tracks. I wanted to transition from that acoustic sound I had into a more rock style / band set-up.
HAPPY: Do you have a favourite track off the EP?
RYAN: To be honest, I don’t really have a favourite but I am happy with how Submarine Pt. II turned out with the instrumental section at the end, I’ve never really been that great at mixing but I am happy with the way it bloomed. Submarine Pt. II was supposed to capture the feeling of falling into the ocean and slowly sinking to the depths watching the bubbles rise to the surface and enabling yourself to be in this euphoric state. Sleep To Dream is what I would say is the most ‘accessible’ song and I think I was happy how I wrote that as far as songwriting goes.
HAPPY: Are there any other artists you’re really loving at the moment?
RYAN: Oh yeah absolutely, I love listening to new music all the time. At present I really love the new Weyes Blood album Titanic Rising and I’ve got on rotation at the moment a little Timber Timbre, Angel Olsen, Le’pee – Diabolique, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Ariel Pink and Deerhunter. Additional to that all the classics and some random spanish/greek records I bought at markets. I love the classical arrangements – really beautiful sounds, makes you feel like you are in some retro european film.
HAPPY: What’s next for Ryan Kristian? Any other exciting plans in the works?
RYAN: I want to get a fair bit of surfing in over the spring/summer and I’ll continue to work on new music. I’m actually writing the next record and I want to aim for a full length debut album hopefully within the next couple of years and a couple of tracks in between that time. Hopefully something with a little bit more oomph as I think my music to this date has been pretty chilled out and some people probably fall asleep listening to it.
HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!
RYAN: No worries Bill, thanks for having me man!
Arcane is out now. Listen above.