Founded in January 2020, singer/songwriter and producer Billy Keen began his project Love Is. Inspired by acts like Lil Peep, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal and Nicole Dollanganger, Love Is takes alternative pop to new heights. We spoke with Billy about Love Is, future plans and his new single ‘Romanticism’.
What can you tell us about your latest track ‘Romanticism’?
‘Romanticism’ lyrically depicts a brief romantic experience I had with a close friend. It was doomed to begin with and didn’t last very long. I think the two of us were both dealing with a lot of stuff at the time and confused whatever we had for something with romantic potential. We called it off and went back to being best friends. It was definitely the right decision.
What was the writing and recording process like?
The instrumental of the track came together long before the lyrics had. I tend to make a lot of instrumentals and just leave them to gather dust on my laptop until I have a lyrical brainstorm. Once the lyrics came to me, I went back to the project and grinded it out. It was a very easy process; everything fell right into place when I needed it to.
Do you think your songs have a similar theme or do they differ?
Lyrically, I try to be very honest. I often tend to masquerade personal lyrical themes with poetic and exaggerated overtones; more so for my own sake. It’s very easy to overthink the situations and replay them in your head when you spend a lot of time refining lyrics. So far, I’ve talked a lot about my own romantic experiences and my mental health. I imagine this has become an important theme for the Love Is catalogue and will continue to be so.
If you had to describe your style of music, how would you describe it?
It’s hard to really say what I’m going for with Love Is. I utilise a lot of dramatic and orchestral soundscapes because I think it pairs perfectly with the dramatic and romantic themes. It’s almost like ‘romantic pop’ if I had to name it anything.
Who influences you to make music on a personal and professional level?
Personally, the support of my family and peers is what inspires me to make music. I went through a long period of writing but not releasing anything due to my mental health and situation at the time. Once I got the support I needed, I felt a lot more comfortable releasing what I’d made.
On a professional level, I’m heavily inspired by Grimes. I love how much of herself she puts into her art. I relate to her a lot ’cause I write, produce and do all my own artwork. She’s an all-round artist and it inspires me to be the best I can in every aspect of my art.
If you could meet anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Undoubtedly, If I could meet anyone it would’ve been Lil Peep. I sadly only got into his music a few months before his passing, but ever since then, I’ve had him in the back of my mind. The way he cared about his family, his friends and even his interests as a young person heavily resonated within me. I honestly think we would’ve been close friends had our paths ever crossed.
What is one of your worst habits?
Being a perfectionist. I know it sounds funny, but I have to force myself to post a song or a post on Instagram. I care way too much about the tiny details that the average listener probably isn’t going to notice. I’m definitely working on kicking this habit though.
How do you stay motivated?
Music for me doesn’t really feel like a chore. I get ideas pretty much every day so I’m always working on something, no matter what the situation is. During lockdown, I’ve released two songs as Love Is, co-wrote and produced a track with a friend and reimagined a song by a band I’m friendly with. I think it’s really important to keep yourself busy and keep the mind stimulated. Being a musician, it’s really important to be seen to be doing something all the time so I try to keep that in mind whilst being careful I don’t burn myself out!
What can we expect from Love Is in the future?
I’ve been trying to release one song a month and so far that’s been going really well! I’ve another single entitled ‘Skin on Skin’ which is set to be released on June 10th on all major streaming services. I’ve also got a project/collective that a few of my best friends and I are announcing at some point in the near future. There’s a lot to keep an eye out for!
Do you have a message for our readers?
If you enjoy ‘Romanticism’ please check out ‘In Silence’ that I released on May 17th and keep an eye out for ‘Skin on Skin’ on June 10th. If you could follow me on Spotify as well as Instagram, I post every week and love making/supporting friends. Come be part of the family!