Ryan Keen – Back To The Ocean EP (Review & Interview)



When you hear tracks with such lyrical emotion it’s seriously hard to not result in writing about it by spraying multiple clichés over a web page. Which is why writing about Ryan Keen’s newest EP instalment, ‘Back To The Ocean‘, is a tough task. Despite that, it truly is an absolutely amazing listen. With such power in the lyrics and their careful delivery, matched equally by the exquisite, expansive guitar playing Ryan has become known for, you seriously can’t help but be taken back by it all.

Know About Me” gets us going, and in this 5:21 you’re sold on Ryan’s obvious talents. ‘Wanna know what I’m thinking, why I can’t sleep at night, wanna know what I’m drinking, a double of anything’s fine…‘ As an EP opener, you couldn’t really ask for more. Openers are always important, and you have to say Ryan’s nailed the lyrics incredibly on this one!

Moving on next to “All This Time“, and another very strong, emotional track. It’s hard to actually write about it whilst listening to it, as you become instantly under its spell, unable to do anything, apart from bring appropriate memories up with fit like a jigsaw into your head. The video to the song is also fittingly brilliant, have a look. Only cost £20!

Reflections In The Water” arrives now, a compelling duet with Newton Faulkner – who Ryan recently supported on tour. There’s been comparisons drawn between the two of them, but as much as I dislike comparing artists, both have sublime song-writing and guitar playing ability, and being together on one track only heightens this. Stunning.

Now for an unfortunate end, “Old Scars“. ‘We might move slow, but we’ll go far,’ is perfectly describing the best way to grow as artist while maintaining your credibility, and Ryan’s showing that this method does work. If you put work in to build upon your base of talent, you’ve built the foundations thoroughly. His previous work has been at this same high standard, and he’s remained humble, and thoroughly likeable as a person – which is what you want from a musician really. The track itself, is 4th and final, beautiful showcase on elegant song-writing and magnificent guitar work.

Soundhall were lucky enough to grab a quick chat with Ryan recently, and you can read what’s in store in terms of his debut album, touring with Newton and who he thinks will have a big 2013!

We had a little interview just over a year ago now. Since then you’ve released continually good music, gone on your own headline tour, supported Ed and Newton amongst others, as well as a few radio plays of your tracks. But is this upcoming 2013 your most important yet – in terms of pushing on?

2012 has been pretty crazy but really awesome! Yeah 2013 is set to be bigger than this year, already got a lot planned….!

How’s it been seeing so many artists you’ve played along side and admire begin to make big movements in the past 12 months?

It’s awesome, its so inspiring and exciting to see friends do well, and when you’ve seen the build it makes the whole thing feel more achievable.

Who else can you see having a good 2013?

Gabrielle Aplin, Fiona Bevan, Sam Brookes to name a few!

Would you say the ‘Back To The Ocean’ EP is your best work so far?

Its hard for me to say, I’m always most excited about my newest songs! But I’m really happy with the EP.

The new EP features Newton Faulkner on a stunning duet, “Reflections In The Water”. How was playing that song in front of his crowds on tour recently?

Absolutely amazing. He’s been an inspiration for years, so it’s a real pleasure to be able to write, record and gig with him.

The video for ‘All This Time’ is really in-fitting with the track, set in a impressively lit up Devonshire cave. Yet it’s quite unlike the animated video for ‘Focus’. Was this to maybe focus on the track itself a bit more?

Exactly, the track is really ambient and I felt a slower, more atmospheric video would set a mood to listen the lyrics rather than tell a story.

How quickly was this EP written, do you get on a roll and find you can write brilliantly in a certain mindset, or does it take more consideration and reviewing?

It really varies, often I doodle around with ideas for months and slowly start to write, other times I’ll write a song in an afternoon.

After seeing you perform live a couple of times, I don’t remember you not really smiling – which is very refreshing in music. Do you ever think you’ll get tired of music and playing live?

I hope not! I love gigging!

You announced that your debut album will be released on April 8th (your birthday). What can we all expect from it?

The albums going to get a lot more publicity (hopefully!) and will be exposed to lots of new people so I want to have my best songs so far as well as new ones….so I’ve taken a track or two off each EP (I’m re-recording some of them) and then there’s lots of new ones too! You can expect more of my normal style but on a slightly bigger level – I’m going to go a bit bigger with production on a couple of the tracks (eg strings/double bass etc) as well as keeping some raw and acoustic. I’m really excited about it!

So, big things to add to the already big things coming from Ryan Keen in the upcoming new year. Make sure you do yourself a favour and go grab a copy of ‘Back To The Ocean‘ if you haven’t already, seriously, just get it. Now.


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