Today we are kicking off our week with an exciting new single by RYAL who is back with “Blackout Kiss”.
The first thing to remember is that there are two Ryals — RYAL the project, and Ryal the artist. The second thing to remember is that Ryal and RYAL are two sides of the same coin.
Combining the soulfulness of Solange with the dream pop of The xx, RYAL the project is an artistic vision of music with a unique style, an emotional vision, and a glittering inclusive world view. Ryal the artist is a passionate siren whose odyssey has taken her from the wilderness where desert meets disco to the city life of New York, where she currently makes her musical and creative home.
Called “angelic-voiced” by Time Out NY when she was the keyboardist of indie pop group Strip Darling, Ryal considers herself a songwriter first. “People have always commented on my voice,” she says. “But the comments I really appreciate are the ones they make about my songwriting.”
Those songs are catchy alternative electro-pop, jagged musical pills that feel edgy and sophisticated, mix glitter with thunder, and dive down to the intimate while they reach for the sky. Songs that are created with a combination of craft and improvisation, songs that chart a journey of discovery rather than following a map of directions.
Ryal’s creative journey never locks itself into a thematic straitjacket (“I’m going to write about this!”). She simply starts writing, which makes the electricity behind her discovery of what the song is about part of the energy of the final product. It’s writing as a marriage of revelation and ingenuity—and it’s always committed to the truthful, the heartfelt, and the vulnerable. Like all born writers, Ryal knows that the more particular you get, the more anyone can relate to it—and the more personal the inspiration, the more communal the experience.
Whether looking up to role models like Bjork for style, Kendrick Lamar for lyrics, and Thom Yorke for DGAF attitude, or bouncing from foundational influences to current obsessions as guideposts along the creative way, Ryal has always had a deep love for electronic music, and is on a constant hunt to expand her melodic ideas.
Which is all part of RYAL the project, which spun out of Ryal’s restless creative curiosity. After a period where all she seemed to be singing about was lost love and heartache, she recognized that the next move for her to make was a dance step. It was time to pack up all that gloom and loss into a brighter lyrical suitcase, like the musical equivalent of wearing pink lipstick, using hairspray, applying just the right amount of glitter, and dancing like there’s no tomorrow.
Producer Aaron Nevezie was on the same wavelength, and saw the innovative possibilities in helping Ryal fulfill her desire to push and challenge herself into a new direction as a songwriter. He has been a part of the project since its inception, when Ryal holed up in a Music Building studio and started writing pop song after pop song. Cheerleader and sounding board, guide and fellow passenger, Nevezie is RYAL’s co-project manager, lending his considerable musical talents in the studio and on stage to help create a musical experience whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Those parts? Classic and cutting edge. Inspired by the vintage electronic textures of pulsing modular synth bass lines locked to analog drum machines and keyboards, the music blends live guitar and drum kit for an experience that combines the minimalism of Eno with the energy of the club, where the venue becomes a live wire that dances with the electricity of the songs. Songs that are the best kind of disco-pop, which can go light and dark, frivolous and deep, and sweet and wounded—and always during the same song.
“It’s all part of the endless journey,” Ryal acknowledges. “Painters have blue periods, musicians have blues periods. I’m in my RYAL period, and it’s talking to me just as much as I’m talking to it. I don’t know what will speak to me when that dialogue is over, but until it is, I will honor the conversation.”
In a city with so many disparate music scenes, RYAL is dedicated to community over exclusion. If the scene is a room, then the community is the house, and it’s RYAL’s goal to get everybody in that house dancing together, no matter what room they’re in.
All of which illustrate Ryal’s belief that music is the most inclusive art form. Listen to it, dance to it, give in to its spell—music is a block party where everyone’s invited, and an all-are-welcome haven for the heaven that is dance.
RYAL is currently working on full-length record with plans to release in 2017.
In addition, we sit down with Ryal for an exclusive interview to discuss the single and more!
Hi Ryal, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Thank you! I love Vents! You guys premiered one of my best friend’s music videos which I was featured in by Anana Kaye. The video is for a track called Carolina. Thanks so much for having me!
I’m doing pretty ok, considering these dark times we are in, but we are working hard and making music so doing what we can do to stay afloat.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Blackout Kiss”?
Yes, Blackout Kiss is pretty straight forward. It is the story of two alcoholics making way in their relationship in spite of their disease.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Have you ever been piss ass drunk and tried to make out? That situation inspired it.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
We just filmed a live music video series at the Bunker Studio in Brooklyn and this is one of the tracks we recorded, so we will have that. I’m not sure if I will make a separate stylized video for it…we will see.
How was the recording and writing process?
Blackout Kiss was a track Aaron and I made shortly after our first EP. We recorded it before we started writing the full-length record. Writing it was the usual RYAL process where Aaron sent a track and I wrote the melody and lyrics. This song came pretty quickly. It must have been that drunken stupor that I needed to sweat out. HA!
After the success from your previous tracks, were you any nervous while working on this newest single?
We really don’t get nervous when writing. For me, writing is my safe place; therapy. Performing on the other hand, pure anxiety.
Does your new single mean we can expect a new album – how’s that coming along? Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Yes! We have a full-length record ready to release. We are hoping these singles gain some traction and then we will decide on the release date.
The title of the record is SILVER AND GOLD.
Any plans to hit the road?
We would love to, but the right opportunities will need to present themselves. We are playing so shows locally (NYC), but no current plans for tour.
Ideally Europe, but we will see. Wherever people are listening, we would love to go and play.
What else is happening next in RYAL’s world?
Aaron and I have been working on a duo set up of our live show and I just treated myself to the TC Helicon VoiceLive Touch 2 and a Roland Juno-60, so I’m very inspired to push myself in this live context. Just the 2 of us playing live almost feels like what I imagine sky-diving to feel like. Free-falling. It’s great!