Ryan Vail Q&A

Hello and welcome to Magazine Sixty Ryan. Can we start with your breath-taking new single: SHADOWS. Can you talk us through where the inspiration came from for the track and how you then transformed those ideas into music?

Shadows was a song I had written quite soon after leaving my place of employment for the last 10 years. I was toying with the idea of going full time for way to long. The security of full time employment was great, but it really prevented me from pushing my music. This song kind of talks about that. It’s a struggle that most artists never see through. I can understand that, it’s a total gamble.
The idea really started with the pretty massive analog bass line. I wanted the track to be very minimal and to focus on a solid vocal delivery. This was something that I previously wasn’t very comfortable doing. As the lyrics progressed more elements where added. I used a lot of synth sounds that haven’t been used in a musical sense such as the modular style glitches. This was to sonically push my synth skills and sound. Finally the string sections. Strings are something I’m absolutely obsessed with. I had Rachael Boyd & Laura Mc Cabe brought in for that. Both stunning players.

Your recent session for Across The Line highlighted your use of analogue synthesizers. Which artists first inspired you to use those sounds and how would you describe the difference between the sounds they produce and those similar instruments recreated by digital plug-ins?

Yeah this topic is something I get asked by a lot of people. I grew up listening to loads of different genres. I’ve never really pin pointed one artist that inspired me.
I kind of started learning synthesisers when I was about 16. I’ve been collecting ever since.
I was never really against computers as such. It was more the case of synths were cheaper to buy at that time rather than computers and software. I’ve heard amazing software that can out do hardware and vice versa.

A lot of electronic music these days is more or less instrumental (especially Dance). What does your voice say about you, and do you think that there is anything that the human voice can’t convey which instrumentation can – or vice versa!

I think a combination of bought is now a good happy medium.

(Pics by Wrapped in Plastic Photography)

Your studio has an amazing array of keyboards. Do you have a favourite and why?

I would have to say analog my Roland Juno 6. Digital would have to be the ROLI GRAND.

How long did it take you to acquire them all? Where did you source them from?

This has been built up over 15-16 years of collecting. I’ve bought from all over the world now. Ebay has been the main search engine I’d have to say.

Tell us about how your involvement with Quite Arch and Northern Ireland Arts Council came about?

Quiet Arch was a label that myself and Lyndon Stephens started up to release an album called Sealegs. The album done so well that Quiet Arch began to grow.
The Arts Council have been amazing. They noticed me about two years ago and have been helping me develop. Support like that is vital these days.

How do you see the future of record distribution and sales in the digital world?

Vinyl unfortunately is dying off again along with CDs. Streaming is how us artists are going to survive.

And finally. Please share with us your future plans for live performance and your next album?

Wednesday I play in London with TALOS, Thursday I’m in Belfast & Sunday Dublin. Festivals are over, now the gigging begins.







Ryan Vail – Shadows – Quiet Arch

Lights down low. It’s autumn and the radio is on. Sounds like the seventies but then Ryan Vail is introduced on Radio Ulster’s Across The Line and the moments slow to standstill. Moulding live electricity sometimes comes at a cost, though the transformation of analogue machines into dramatic emotion generated through the airwaves feels life-assuring in that blissful, melancholy way. Ryan’s voice smouldering, rippling with regret and possibility hangs on the keyboards in a uniquely distinctive way as this new single testifies. Watch, look and listen below and anticipate the next album full of this to come.

Release: September 29

Live in session on Across The Line