For RØYLS’ Sean Killeen being in a band isn’t new to him or the other guys in the band. They were all previously in The Tide (Drew Dirksen) and Over Atlantic (Sean Killeen and Liam Ross). Over a phone call with Sean we talk all things from his favourite childhood music to inspirations for the bands brand new single ‘Choose To Believe’ that we have been kindly asked to do an exclusive premiere for and of course we jumped at the chance- it’s our new favourite dance/dark banger for the summer!
Sean tells us he’s not known a specific age he started music and that he was just super young, none of his family were ever musical- so it wasn’t ever something that was passed down. “I just loved listening to the radio and I loved singing and being the clown in the room, I guess. I started doing karaoke bars from a young age, I think I found a passion of singing just from doing that.” It’s not only until he was 15 years old when he took his music career seriously by starting to write songs. Sean has a soft spot for classics like Johnny Cash’s music, tells us he sang his songs and to add to that George Michael and Robbie Williams then when he got into his early teens he moved onto The Killers and John Mayer being the biggest inspirations to him.
Sean goes on to discuss in detail what the new single is about and the story behind it, “I’d say it’s channelling on from ‘Savages’ but we are definitely always trying to evolve and grow as artists every time we put out new music, which is really important to us. I don’t know it’s so hard to put a label on what your sound is, I’d say it’s a bit of everything in my opinion. The song is so raw, we wrote it for over the course of ten hours, and we spent the whole day then came back to it here and there. We really wanted to nail in the message, which was quite personal for us. What we were writing about like this particular song is about the beginning of a relationship, something’s happened which I won’t go too much into detail about but it’s kind of like “Do I try crack open what actually happened and get to the bottom of it or do I just trust you? Because the relationships not going to work.” So it’s like I ’Choose To Believe’ you instead of ‘Trying To Believe’ You, it’s got quite a dark story but the music lifts it up which was what we were going for!”
With writing songs, the band all get in a room together all pumped up with coffee, “we kind of have a therapy session within ourselves and go “so what’s going on with you, is there anything you wanna talk about or write about today?” After like about an hour of that, normally we’ve written a bunch of things and then we’d be like “this is the direction we’ll go through today.” It could start from there, but it could also start from anywhere else. Like a concept, some lyrics, a melody sometimes you just get a guitar and sing it out, it just completely depends on the day.”
Sean’s most fulfilling song to write on the EP was ‘I Can’t Let This Feeling Go’ is about moving on from a relationship which is quite personal to him, and to that he laughs and says the title of the EP is ‘I think too much’ he tells us he’s an over thinker that just thinks of things in different scenarios, to which he defends it by explaining it’s good since it helps them with writing songs, “ ‘I can’t let this feeling go’ I think that has a lot of specific lyrics in it for memories, we wrote that with John Feldmann, he’s really good at just being honest and helping us get the most rawness into a song.” Having worked with John Feldmann, we ask Sean what it felt like working with someone so greatly respected in the music scene, to that he tells us it’s insane and that John taught them life lessons and music skills. “He’s just such a hard working, honest and incredible person. It’s literally been nothing short of an honour to be able to work with him and work on our music together. He’s been great!”
Sean told us being in a band previously had its ups and its downs like anything in life, he was thankful that he’s been in a band before RØYLS, “ I went head first when I was 18, that was my first band.” With the band being from all over the globe (UK and US), we ask how they make time to run back and forth. “It’s not ideal definitely but I wouldn’t want to do it with any other lads, so we just make it work. I normally fly over there quite a bit and they’re flying over here pretty soon- which is sick because I haven’t seen them for months! It’s definitely hard being away, but the ultimate goal is getting a house together.”
For anyone that wants to start out in music Sean’s number one tip is to just write songs and experiment, he mentions he’s written so many songs that he’s on two percent of his journey, “You have to write bad songs, and then for every one in a hundred you can be like maybe I’ll try to see if they’ll go somewhere” he says anyone can do it if they put their mind to it! “Put content out and just keep going!” he adds.
RØYLS’ new single ‘Choose To Believe’ is out now and their EP ‘I think too much’ is coming out on 16th August. “We are so overwhelmed with the fact we’re doing Reading and Leeds Festival and we have our first headline in London just before too”.
RØYLS tour dates:
21st August o2 Academy Islington London (HEADLINE)
23rd August Reading Festival
24th August Leeds Festival
26th August The Haunt Brighton (Supporting Stand Atlantic)
27th August Mama Roux’s Birmingham (Supporting Stand Atlantic)
28th August The Deaf Institute Manchester (Supporting Stand Atlantic)
29th August Zanzibar Liverpool (Supporting Stand Atlantic)
30th August Sin City Swansea (Supporting Stand Atlantic)
WORDS BY ROJAN SAID