The latest musical venture from Billy Keen is Love Is. All the music is self-produced and there is no sign of him stopping. His latest release ‘Romanticism’ came out earlier this year. We sat down with Love Is (LI) to talk about the new release, his creative process and much more!
OSR: If ‘Love Is’ is your latest musical venture tell us about your previous ones.
LI: I’ve been producing music with friends since I was 14. Most of the projects have involved my best friend Justin. Our projects together varied. We’ve collaborated on Metalcore, Synth Pop and even Gothic Metal together. Our most ambitious, I’d say, were the Synth pop project “Human Again” and the Gothic Metal/HIM inspired project “Wilde Nights”. He still masters some of the Love Is stuff.
OSR: What is your creative process like?
LI: The process really varies. Sometimes I’ll sit and work on a song from start to finish within a day and sometimes I’ll work on it for an hour here, an hour there. Really depends on the situation at the time. Generally, a hook comes first. If that fails, I make a lot of instrumentals and then listen to them until a hook comes.
OSR: Who and what influences your music?
LI: Lyrically I’m very much inspired by Gothic Literature and Poetry. I get a lot of inspiration from reading or watching documentaries and gothic films. I love everything dramatic. Musically it varies over time but the main influences are Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, recent Bring Me The Horizon, Nicole Dollanganger and Grimes.
OSR: What is your favourite part of this line of work?
LI: Being able to express myself. The lyrics, despite how dramatic and romanticised they are, are very personal. Whether that be romantic interests or how I’m dealing with my mental health at the time. I love being able to put my feelings to music.
OSR: Who would you most like to collaborate with?
LI: Recently I’ve been enjoying an artist called Suckerpunk. I love their style. Would be great to work on a track with them. I’d also love to work with Nicole Dollanganger. I think our mix of dark, personal and melancholic imagery would work great on a track.
OSR: If you could open a show for any artist, who would it be?
LI: Definitely Wicca Phase Springs Eternal. That would be a fantastic opportunity for me considering how heavily he’s inspired my work. I don’t think my sound is all that different to his so I imagine my presence wouldn’t alienate the crowd that much too either.
OSR: What was the inspiration behind ‘Romanticism’?
LI: “Romanticism” was inspired by a romantic situation I briefly found myself in late last year. A friend and I were both obviously going through our own problems at the time and I think we foolishly mistook the comfort we gave each other as something with romantic potential. At least that’s how I seen the situation. We don’t talk about it. It’s just a thing that happened in our books.
OSR: Do you ever sing in the shower? If yes, what songs?
LI: I don’t funnily enough, but I do sing whilst walking around the house or at work. “All is found” from Frozen 2 has been popping into my head ever since I first seen it. My colleagues know all too well about that. Then after I saw the latest version of Cats, I’ve been subconsciously singing “Old Deuteronomy”. I’m a big musical theatre fan if that’s not already obvious.
OSR: If you didn’t have a music career, what would you be doing right now?
LI: Outside Music, my other passion is history. I love European history. I spend a lot of time watching documentaries on composers, kings and queens, poets and authors etc. I probably would’ve studied history at Uni instead of music and I’d probably be a history teacher in the making.
OSR: What are the plans for Love Is in the future?
LI: After “Romanticism”, I released another single entitled “In Silence” on the 17th of May. I have another single, “Skin on Skin”, being released on the 10th of June. I’ve got a ton of half/almost finished songs to finalise so there’s plenty more coming. A few friends and I have also spoken about working together as part of a collective so there could be some exciting news around that. The future is looking busy!