Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Ryan Bourne, who discusses his origin in music and new single, Wasted World.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Ryan Bourne: As a kid I was thrown in piano lessons, learned some fundamentals there and developed my ear. My mom and dad were singers (actually met in a singing group) so definitely some influence there… switched to trombone in middle school, started taking guitar lessons at about age 15, started stringing chords together almost immediately, was writing poetry constantly at that time, and soon began stringing phrases into lyrics, so kind of a natural course into songwriting there.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Bourne: I always get the music first, these days a lot of it comes in dreams. I sing it into my phone, work it out later on guitar or piano, and usually add words last, based often on the phonetics the melody suggests, though sometimes the dream melody has words, or I have a song title or a concept I want to play with.
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Bourne: This is always changing but currently mind blown by experimental synth pioneers Pauline Oliveros and Éliane Radigue, and a new film by Lisa Rovner SISTERS WITH TRANSISTORS (been a longtime fan of Susan Cianni and Laurie Speigel) about the formative role these and a few other incredible women have had on the evolution of electronic music… Also been loving LA based musician John Carrol Kirby, his latest record and his soundtrack to the gorgeous new animated film Crytpozoo by Dash Shaw, which is massive inspo, haunting, original, stunning to look at.
Review Fix: How has CO-Vid affected your art?
Bourne: It basically shut down the live component of what I do, and (esp. early on), much of the relational aspect of creating, the exchange with an audience and with bandmates, so it became a much more solitary process than it had been for a while . I’ve always loved home recording but the pandemic forced me to really lean into it this past year or so, which was kind of a blessing in disguise, being able to hone that process a little, and I’m excited to be finishing up my debut record for Hair Control, my lo-fi synthpop project, and demoing for the next Ryan Bourne record.
Review Fix: What does music mean to you?
Bourne: It’s an inevitability, a compulsion, and infinitely interesting, the constant exploration and endless learning curve within it. It’s healing and relational. It’s electrical, I like that it’s a visceral form of communication, electrical communication, often non-verbal, or supraverbal.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Bourne: Well my bio reads “lush, psych-laden songcraft… idiosyncratic takes on garage pop, glammed out rock cruisers, baroque pop, and dark psych-folk”, which I think is pretty apt? Art pop, with experimental/avant garde influences and a late 60s/ early 70s (and occasionally early 80s ) bent ? I’ve been told it sounds “not of this time” , and I like that putting on the record could feel transportive in this way, that it could act as a portal to another temporal dimension.
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Bourne: My live shows have tended to be a bit more stripped down, a bit more raw in a way, there are a lot subtle layers to the recordings that wouldn’t cross over to the more visceral live show, though I do want to convey the new material with at least a 5 piece band.
Review Fix: What inspired your latest single?
Bourne: The melody for Wasted World came from a dream, with lyrics playing on the theme of being hopelessly love-sick. “I got this sickness” – all the ecstatic, chaotic, nauseating overwhelm and illusion in being “in love”. I think I was listening to the Clean a lot when the melody came along…
Review Fix: What are your goals for the rest of 2021?
Bourne: I’ll be rolling out another single or two off my new forthcoming full-length record, Plant City, and gearing up hopefully for a spring release and tour.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Bourne: Watch out for another video single from Plant City in 6-8 weeks!