I can’t honestly say I am a big fan of…
their name but am certainly a supporter of their music. Kylypso is the name in question – hard to spell and remember; I refuse to put it on bold-type as it is something that grates my testicles – but that is a small downside to a group really starting to shine. I ask the London boys about the new single, Blame Love, and the background to the song. They talk about how they got together and whether we are going to see some more material arrive soon. Having been compared to the likes of Tame Impala; I ask how they layered and evocative sound comes together. Tom, Rudi and Hugh discuss music that means a lot to them and how important East London – where the boys are, primarily, based – is to them and their musical output. The boys tell me how newcomer Hugh fits into the fold and what he brings to the music; the new artists they are attracted to and how they have progressed since their debut single, Mean 2 You.
ALL PHOTOS: Laura McCluskey
Hi, guys, how are you? How have your weeks been?
Hiya! Full-on but great, thanks. Lots of music and tennis.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure! We are Kylypso; a three-piece Alternative-Electronic band from London consisting Tom, Rudi and Hugh.
Blame Love is the new single. What can you tell us about its origins and how it came together?
Before Hugh Joined Tom and I wrote a bunch of demos., Blame Love was just a scrappy idea we forgot about.
When going back over everything, we realised the chorus melody really stood out, so we took that and started over.
Not much of the original remains: just the chorus, chords and melody.
The song has so many different layers and goes through stages. Was it quite a tough thing to coalesce or was it quite a natural process?
We write songs by taking projects and sharing them with each other. The songs tend to go through layers and filters of each person doing their ‘thing’. After a few rounds, we come together to distil the final version. It seems to work really well for us. By the time it all comes together, it feels like the most obvious way to finish songs to us.
The sound has been compared with Tame Impala and Caribou. Would they be fair comparisons? Are they artists you look up to?
For sure. They have been a constant source of inspiration for us.
I’d say we sit in a similar area of production: exploring the gap between electronic sounds and ‘real’ recordings of sounds/instruments.
Tame Impala really commit to taking a song on a journey, but, however, deep down the rabbit-hole they go, there seems to always be a sense of classic songwriting somewhere – poking it’s tiny-wee head through. We take a lot of inspiration from Caribou’s live set-up. There are some amazing videos on the Ableton website taking you through their approach – with an amazing performance of Sun.
They are two artists in particular we’ve held close for so long. It feels great to be able to write music which may be considered in the same vein.
Their shoulders have provided a solid foundation for Kylypso.
Once, Dan Snaith (Caribou) crossed the road in front of our van and I waved. He waved back.
Does this mean we might see more material later in the year?
Totally. We aim to have two more songs out by September leading up to a four-track E.P. Then, in December, we will release a double-album of Christmas songs (written by Hugh).
Mean 2 You was your first single (released last year). Even over the course of two songs, do you think you have changed and grown in confidence? Do you think, with each track, you lift your game and add something new to the mix?
The biggest obvious change has been the addition of Hugh. He has bought a new lease of life towards the mountain of songs Tom and I wrote. Recently, we have changed the computer program we have been using to work on songs. In theory, they all do the same thing but the workflow is different. For some reason they have produced drastically different results. It defies Logic sometimes…
We’ve learnt that the ideas you have in your head which you think would be too crazy, often are less so once you have realised them. We are less scared of going for those weird ideas and seeing them through; so, in a sense, more confident.
You are based out of East London. How did you all get together in the beginning?
Tom and I have been friends for years. It was inevitable that we’d start a band as Tom kept begging me to do so.
I worked with Hugh on some mixes for my old band and we just hit it off. Hugh’s studio is actually West, so we straddle London.
I know Hugh is the ‘newbie’ in the group. Is he behaving himself? What do you think he adds to Kylypso?
Definitely. He is the production corner of the triangle. We bounce ideas off of each other really well. I think the three-piece suits our song-writing style. Either one of us can contribute the bones of an idea – which is often picked up soon after. This way few ideas float around for too long and go stale. His fluent command of Ableton speeds things up in the studio for sure. He definitely can pick out the gems from a scrappy idea; so we don’t lose certain great elements which would otherwise be lost. It’s really helped to craft a sound which is more identifiable as Kylypso.
How do songs come together for you? Is everything written at home and transferred to the studio or do you have a D.I.Y. approach to production?
We all work around Ableton and share the projects online. This allows us to work remotely or meet as a two or three – between Hugh’s studio or at our house. Each has strong points: Rudi’s room has lots of synths, drums and toys; kind of a melting-pot of ideas. Hugh’s studio is often used to look at the details; make sure everything is working in a song; is it polished enough…should it be more raw. We usually consolidate ideas here and take them from the writing stage towards the mix-stage.
Who are the artists you all grew up listening to?
The Beatles, The Beach Boys; Pink Floyd etc.
I know you have a gig at The Finsbury on 1st June. Are you looking forward to that one and is it the first time at the venue?
It’s our second time there, actually. The last time we played there was our first-ever show, and, in some ways, our best – so we can’t wait to go back.
We try to keep pushing the envelope in terms of our live show: try new things; take more risks.
We have initially been slightly outside of our comfort-zone with an electronic drum set-up but we want to embrace it and use the freedom it opens up in new ways. We are excited to see the live shows are getting busier.
Are there any other gigs planned for later in the year?
There are going to be a lot but nothing is 100% confirmed yet.
Who are the new/upcoming artists you advise we keep an eye out for this year at all?
Cocoa Futures are really great – we played with them at the Seabright Arms and they killed it. Tom and I live with Honne. They aren’t the new kids on the block but are coming out with some massive tunes. W/O (WITHOUT) are sounding really exciting; edging the horizons of Electronic-Pop production forward. We are putting out a Spotify playlist every month with a load of the artists we are currently listening to in case anyone is interested in hearing more.
What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?
Never stop writing songs: don’t get down when someone promises the world and doesn’t deliver.
Don’t care about any label/manager/industry thing until you really feel like you have an album in the bag.
Finally, and for being good sports, you can each name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that)
Tom: Real Lies – Deeper
Rudi: Anesthetized Lesson – GUM
Hugh: A Slow, Slow Death – Los Campesinos!