Rylands Heath are an Indie duo which consists of Jack and James. They are making waves within the music industry and this year could look like their greatest year ever with their new release, radio air plays and endless gigs!
I was lucky enough to get an interview with the guys where we spoke about their music, (of course) their influences and much more! They even shared some great tips for those who want to follow in their footsteps.
Check out their interview below and then go give their music a listen.
Nadine: So to start, can I have a short intro? What are your names, where are you from and what is your role in the band?
Ryland’s Heath: Hi! We are Jack and James, both from Luton and we are Rylands Heath. Jack sings main vocals and plays guitar while James sings backing vocals and plays drums. In the studio, as there’s only two of us we both dip into different roles too. James plays drums and bass and Jack plays some keys and lead guitar parts but sometimes we switch this up a bit!
N: What music styles did you grow up listening too? Who are some of your favourite bands/artists?
RH: We both grew up on the likes of Busted, McFly and other guitar pop types. We were both instantly captured by this. James remembers seeing a Busted music video on TV and suddenly getting closer to the TV and that was it from there, guitar pop all the way! We’re also heavily influenced by what our parents listened to. We love the likes of Queen, ELO, Meatloaf which is were we think we get our love for massive power harmonies we drop into our tracks. We’ve discussed this at length but we both hate it when people say ‘I love all types of music really’ but that’s completely us! If you went on either of our Spotify accounts and put them on shuffle you”d literally find The 1975 followed by N.W.A then The Beatles, Little Mix, Skepta then Queen!
N: Do you have any hobbies outside of music?
RH: We’re both massive Football fans. Jack supports Liverpool and James supports Arsenal so it’s always interesting watching us both nearly win the Premier League every season is as painful as it gets. Next season we’re hoping one of our teams is a big more successful!
N: Walk us through a day in your life. What does a typical recording session look like?
RH: It usually starts really early, none of these rock and roll recording sessions through the night! The studio we’ve recorded all of our stuff at so far is called ‘The Fold’ in South London which is a massive trek but so worth it, we love it there! James will pick Jack up at about 8am, get on a train, then a few more across London and arrive at 10am after somehow surviving lugging drum gear, guitars, pedals and other bits through rush hour on the tube. We then settle down for a 10 hour session where far too many bourbons are consumed, where whoever isn’t recording at the time is either napping or getting massively excited over whatever is being recorded, throwing ideas around and so on and hopefully some good music gets recorded. We really value our time in the studio as it’s so clear to see progression of where you’ve come from to where you are now – that’s in relation to recording our first song to where we are now but also from where you were at the start of the day to where you are at the end of a day with a song. At 8pm we say our huge goodbyes (even though we’ll be there again the next day) and set off home… and repeat! That’s quite a common day but our days are always different if we’re not in the studio, we’re writing, recording demos at home or playing shows. Regardless, we’re always working hard and having fun
N: How do you tend to write new songs? Is it more of a collaborative effort or do you prefer to work apart and then come together to share your separate ideas?
RH: Generally, Jack will write the initial verse and chorus of a song on his guitar or piano. He’s definitely the ‘songwriter’ out of us. James can receive between 1 and 5 of these a day and sometimes they just click and other times Jack will really be behind a track. Then we might share a couple of ideas after one of us has imported some parts in to Logic X on our computers and we see where it takes us. The next step is to get together in James’ little home studio and replace all of the parts to properly recorded ones and so on. We’ll then develop structure, lyrics and every aspect possible which falls under more ‘songwriting’ again until we export it, listen a bit then go back a few weeks later where sometimes we completely replace all that’s been recorded but adding drums and everything else. Sometimes we have completely full, live recorded demos, other times it’s all programmed before we go to the studio – it usually depends on the type of track. For example, our first release ‘Do What’ was pretty much complete as we took it to the studio where we just replaced parts and the track was there. Other tracks such as our new song ‘Rollercoaster’ had a more bare sound which we wanted to develop in the studio, which we did and we’re super happy with!
N: I have to say that I am constantly impressed with the artwork that you put out for all your songs. They’re all so different yet I always know it’s from Rylands Heath without even having to read the title or see your name on it. I also think that this rings true for the sound of your music also. I have written about your music on my old blog, KNEWYU raving about how much I love your songs and that still stands to this day. So in your own words, how would you describe your music and the branding? What message or thing do you want people to take away from hearing your music or seeing the content you put out (photos, videos, text)?
RH: Hahaa thank you! We take great pride in our presentation of everything we put out from the music to the artwork to music videos and more. One of our aims from the start was to try and make everything we put out as instantly recognisable as something Rylands Heath has released. We want everything to feel familiar and we think it’s working! In terms of our sound, we feel we’re definitely sat comfortably in ‘Indie Pop’ but in each track its as if we branch out slightly into another sub genre. We’ve had tracks such as ‘Coming on to Me’ with a bit of a punk-y edge whereas the likes of ‘West Coast’ defiantly draws influence from synth pop. We’re exploring different sounds while always sounding like Rylands Heath. We think that this constant evolvement is actually the reason we have that ‘sound’ as there’s nothing to specifically pin point. We want people to think we’re putting out a consistent, clean image from everything we do, hopefully that’s true so far!
N: What would you say has been the highlight of your musical career thus far?
RH: That’s such a hard one as we’re so thankful for everything we’ve done so far. I think it’s actually just launching as ‘Rylands Heath’. We’ve both been involved in other things before but always worked just together as well all the way through. Once we realised that Rylands Heath was the one, it was almost a year until we launched. In that year we wrote songs, recorded them, recorded a music video and just got better at what we were doing. Once it was time to launch we we’re so ready! It was such a proud moment seeing our first track being released, seeing people responding to the music and getting involved. A definite highlight!
N: What tips can you give to aspiring musicians?
RH: That’s a tough one as we still feel like aspiring musicians ourselves! We look up to so many people so the thought that people could be looking up to us is an honour. All we can say is just keep doing what you’re doing. Believing in yourself is such a big part of being a musician. Prove people wrong by battling through everything and doing what you love, essentially that’s what we’ve done, we’ve just done what we want to do and believed in ourselves. Just do it, it’s fun!
Thank you Jack and James!