Kyan Talks 'Remote View' EP & the Unpredictability of Inspiration

Paolo Zerbini
Kyan

A new voice from Cambridge, England, singer/songwriter Kyan announces himself fearlessly in his third and deeply candid EP. Released Friday (Oct. 9), Remote View portrays a personal journey as intense as it is liberating. In its mere five-song span, Kyan manages to capture heartbreak, torment, presence and freedom in the same breath. The EP is an invitation and a greeting, as Kyan’s poeticism pulls us into his lens with a lyrical grip. Strong, sentimental, and brave, Remote View is a remarkable composition.

In a recent conversation with Billboard, this U.K. artist spoke on the inspiration behind the EP, the mystery of creativity, and his debut album in the works.

Can you talk to me a little bit about your EP and the inspiration behind your lyrics and production? How did Remote View differ from your last EPs?

The main focal point of the EP was the song "Sometimes," and originally I'd intended just to put out that song on its own. The reason behind that is the two previous EPs have been quite experimental in production sonically and lyrically. That's always been something that I've done, but I've thought... no one knows that I'm a musician and I want to get across the fact that I do write these songs on the piano. And when I play it like that, that's what I enjoy doing and that's how I've been. So, the point was that I wanted to get that across something really stripped back, no special effects and crazy stuff going on. I wanted to be able to match the song with the video and that's why we did that. I guess the thought was just to give a bit more context to people that hadn't heard me before, so they didn't think, oh, he's just this acoustic guy. They kind of had a bit of the rest of the story as well. Without the songs, it was just a kind of step on from the last EP but a similar sort of style.

Is there something that gives you a creative spark, or do ideas just come when they come? 

It's one of those things where, I think if anyone understood what is the basis of inspiration, then they'd be really, really rich. You can't control it. No one really knows where it comes from. It does sound a bit dramatic. Anyone can write a song. You can sit down and you can write a good song, but every now and then you do have a moment where it does feel like it's coming from somewhere else and it just flows through you and it just comes out and you're like, ah, where did that come from? And that's one of those moments, that's kind of what you look for. When that happens, it feels…it feels amazing, and those are always the best songs. So, yeah, it's just waiting for that.  

How far along are you in putting your next album together?

Well, the thing is, at the moment I'm doing it for myself. All the playing, all the production and everything. And that's been fun for the EPs, but I've reached a stage now where it's so much work, and as much as you try, you can't be good at everything... Now, I just want to work with other people who just absolutely blow my mind. Now, I'm just looking for amazing collaborators, just amazing producers and musicians just to come and take things to the next level. So, yeah, I've got a bunch of songs but I kind of want to go in and work on them with a bunch of people, really.

Do you have some people in mind?

There's a lot of people. I love people who do things a different way. I mean, I would love to work with Kanye West and Timbaland and Malay and James Blake and Dan Auerbach and Mark Batson. There's loads of people, but they're mainly Americans and mainly people in the alternative but hip-hop but soul-y kind of area. Those are the sorts of people I'd love to work with. Just because that's what I've grown up listening to and they just blow my mind. Rather than working with someone and being like, "ah, how do we get that sound?" Just to actually work with them.