Kylolus – Interview

Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (

PD: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

K: First and foremost, I’m a songwriter, not a performing artist, and I think of Kylolus as the platform that gives life to my songs. In terms of the music, I try to challenge myself and be varied in my songwriting, but I tend to gravitate towards ballads and rock. I’m at the more melodic, softer end of the rock spectrum, sometimes with folky or ethereal tones, and some of my songs have been likened to musical theatre. If you like Mike and the Mechanics, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John – that sort of thing – then I’d like to think you’ll also like Kylolus.

I use the artist name ‘Kylolus’ partly because I don’t think my own name (Murray Edmunds) sounds at all ‘rock’n’roll (!), but also because to turn my songs into professional recordings, I need to collaborate with others. So I guess ‘Kylolus’ better describes the result of these informal collaborations. For a number of years now, I’ve been working closely with professional singer and vocal coach, Andrew James, who does most of the vocals for the Kylolus songs, as well as producing them and helping me with the instrumental arrangements. We’ve also been collaborating a lot with local guitarist Steve Skidmore (aka “Skidders”) – a very talented and versatile player who brings the perspective of a guitarist to the music. Occasionally, we’ll also employ other musicians and singers when a song requires it.


PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.

K: Sure; I was raised in Buckinghamshire where I learned classical piano from an early age. In my teens I discovered, and fell in love with, prog rock music, and I guess I fantasised about being in a band myself back then, although I was certainly no Rick Wakeman or Keith Emerson! I did, however, start to improvise riffs and melodies on the piano as a teenager, and I had written several songs by the time I went to university. But life took me away from music for many years, and my career has been in medical communications. It was only when we bought a digital piano for my own children to learn to play that I returned to music and discovered that I still had an aptitude for songwriting, which soon became a passion that I’ve pursued ever since and continue to find really cathartic and rewarding.


PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?

K: Musically, I’m certainly influenced by my background in classical piano and the rock music I’ve loved all my life. I also became a big fan of singer-songwriters such as Al Stewart, Chris Rea and Jackson Browne, and these guys (and others) taught me how powerful lyrics can be. I take lyrics very seriously as I believe that the words of a song should have real purpose and be thought-provoking and/or induce an emotional response in the listener.    

I tend to write about life events that are challenging or rewarding, and which other adults are likely to relate to. Occasionally, I get a bit political too! I find a song is often inspired by a small event that has a big emotional impact, but I’ll make the lyrics more general so that others can relate to it. As an example, my son, when he was about four or five years old asked me, right out of the blue, if he would die one day. I’ll never forget the dreadful feeling I had, knowing that I needed to be truthful, but that the answer would be shocking and upsetting for him. It inspired me to write a song called Tell Me, in which the lyrics describe the situation of having to break bad news to a loved one. But the subject of the bad news is deliberately not defined so that listeners can relate the lyrics to their own life experiences. Quite a lot of my songs are like this: I like to make them relatable with a clear subject of ‘discussion’. I really hope that listeners will find they are able to connect with the lyrics and gain some value from them.


PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?

K: Well, I certainly don’t seek fame and fortune! But having written a large portfolio of songs over the years, I hate to think of them all languishing unheard in cyberspace, so my one aspiration is that my songs find an audience; it wouldn’t have to be a large audience – just appreciative! I think songwriters write partly to fulfil a creative need within themselves, but also because of a desire to connect and communicate with others. So, I would be happy knowing that some people out there are enjoying my songs enough to return to them. I think that’s what equals success for a songwriter.


PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?

K: There are no major ‘career achievements’ that stand out, and I tend to be much more focussed on the songwriting process. I‘m a bit of a perfectionist, so I tend to feel most pride when a new song is nearing completion in the recording studio and starting to sound ‘professional’ and as I’d imagined it in my head. I also feel immensely proud when people give me unprompted positive feedback. Recently, a former colleague of mine told me how one of my songs (The Words Left Behind) had had her in tears and helped her come to terms with certain feelings she’d had difficulty expressing following a recent bereavement. That was the ultimate validation of the song for me, and a very proud, albeit bitter-sweet, moment.  


PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?

K: Yes, promotion is a bewildering task, and it’s difficult to know where to go, how far to go, and how much to invest financially. It’s early days for me as I’ve only recently uploaded my first album, Uncharted Territories, to all the streaming services, and I’m still learning ‘how to play the game’. But I received some wise advice from guitarist Steve Skidmore, which is that each of us has to decide what constitutes success for ourselves. A large number of streams is certainly appealing for reasons of pure vanity, but a small number of listeners who are genuinely affected by the songs perhaps represents greater success in achieving that ‘human connection’ that a songwriter seeks.


PD: What can listeners expect to hear on the album Uncharted Territories?

K: The album is a collection of 11 songs that provide more than 60 minutes of music. They have been selected to showcase the range of what I do musically as a songwriter, and hopefully provide some variety, but they all have a common theme: In one way or another, the lyrics of the songs deal with moving on from one state or life situation to another (unfamiliar) one – hence the title. I like to think that the songs have strong attention-grabbing melodies, and that listeners will be affected a little by the lyrics. 


PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?

K: The way music is marketed and consumed has changed beyond all recognition since I first used to buy vinyl(!) albums. In my youth, bands toured (with low-cost tickets) to promote record sales, and money was made through the sales of these recordings. Today the situation is almost completely reversed; people expect to stream or download music for little or no cost, and the money is made through concert tickets. Obviously, this doesn’t help non-performing songwriters at all, but on the other hand modern technology and the streaming websites have greatly lowered the barriers for any individual to get their music ‘out there’. A large part of the world’s population can now instantly access a Kylolus song from the internet. Then again, as we said earlier, the volume of online music is overwhelming. I guess, as in so many things, these tech advances are a double-edged sword.    


PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

K: There are many, but one that immediately springs to mind is The Last Resort by the Eagles.  It’s a really beautiful dynamic song, with lyrics that are so clever, thought-provoking and (for me) deeply moving. It carries an environmental message that becomes ever more topical. I thoroughly recommend a listen for anyone not yet familiar with it.


PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?

K: As an indie artist, the industry feels to me rather like a ‘winner takes all’ situation where fame trumps everything else. Once an artist has broken through and entered into the public consciousness, then every song they release thereafter is guaranteed airplay. But these ‘break through’ acts represent a tiny fraction of the talent pool, and so many other talented artists struggle or remain unheard. This has led to a rather ‘predatory’ environment where unknown artists are targeted by advertisers who encourage them to pay more of their own money to access streaming site playlists etc. The onus seems to fall increasingly on artists to finance their own success, and this requires them to have skills in tech and media as well as in music. So, I wish there were better mechanisms available to support new artists in getting airplay without having to go further out of pocket.


PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?

K: I’m about to release a single called When, and am busy working on a second album. Over the years, I’ve written more than forty songs, and I’m in the process of re-recording and up-grading many of these to sound as good as we can get them. I’ve already got the content of the next two albums mapped out, and as songwriting is in my blood, I’ve always got a few new compositions in progress. So there’s plenty more to come!


PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?

K: You can hear Kylolus on all the usual download and streaming services – Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, Apple Music, YouTube, Deezer, Soundcloud etc. You can also find Kylolus on Facebook, where I’d love to hear from you!

I don’t have much in the way of ‘merch’, but I do have a stock of CDs of the album (Uncharted Territories) for purchase if anyone would like one. I’m a bit old-fashioned, and I still rather like recordings in physical form! 

Kylolus links:
Band/Artist location – Oxfordshire UK
Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – 
Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – HearNow
Check our page for Kylolus

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