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Q&A: Liam Kirby on his latest single “Romanticize”

Liam Kirby

Brooklyn native Liam Kirby released “Romanticize” along with its accompanying music video in March via Americana Highways.

The single combines quaint acoustic chords with insightful, existential lyricism. The music video translates the song into a heartfelt, homemade-like music video. You can hear Kirby’s influences of 60’s music, Brian Wilson and Nick Drake.

“Most of these were written using a half-broken keyboard, which was already of poor quality before some of the notes ceased to work,” says his biography. “Even so, his passion couldn’t be stifled, and so he continued to use his broken keyboard to write the majority of his songs throughout his twenties.”

Kailey Howell: What was your inspiration behind the song, lyrically and with sound? 

Liam Kirby: I was trying to convey two sometimes conflicting worldviews, one of over romanticizing things and the other of maybe “under-romanticizing” them-maybe being too cynical is a better way of putting that.  I don’t think it’s always necessarily bad to romanticize something, it can help make life more exciting.

KH: Can you tell me more about the creative process behind the music video? 

LK: My friend Tristan Teshigahara Pollack directed it, it was basically meant to be nothing special happening superficially, but at the same time a walk in the park can be very special depending on what’s going on in your mind.  You might be thinking about someone you love, you might be thinking about being in Candyland with the chocolate monster.  I was thinking a lot about how ridiculous I felt trying to pretend the camera wasn’t there.  I’ve never been a good actor, and I knew I’d look self conscious in the video.  But that was funny to me so it was okay.  

KH: This marks the second single of 2020 following “Alice” – can we expect more singles from you in the upcoming months?

LK: Alice was actually a new recording of a song I originally put out in 2018, but that I thought could sound better. And yes, I’m working on a couple new ones right now, they’re almost ready!

KH: How do you feel your work has progressed since the release of your self-titled album in 2018?

LK: One likes to imagine they’ve improved.  I hope the new stuff helps to convey the ways I’ve changed since my twenties (I’m 31 now), and the ways I’ve stayed the same. I’m definitely more relaxed and at ease with myself nowadays, more accepting of the things I can’t comprehend and less anxious generally, life doesn’t feel so unreal and dreamlike all the time, which was always a problem for me.  So when I put out new stuff that may show.

KH: Your bio paints a picture of hard work and dedication. Tell me about how you got started as an artist. 

LK: Haha, well I always enjoyed coming up with different melodies, then I met some friends who really inspired me to try and get serious about making full songs with lyrics and everything.  I guess I heard a lot of Irish music and The Beatles as a kid, that was what first sparked it.  I remember being like 4 and my parents must’ve put on Revolver, and I was completely transported, I didn’t know what was happening haha.

KH: If there was one thing that you wanted fans to understand through your work, what would it be?

LK: I’m completely freaked out by existence, in my 20s it got really bad, and I tried to express that in a lot of my songs.  Sometimes it feels like I’ve just been beamed into existence and I’m seeing everything for the first time.  I’m simultaneously horrified by and in awe of it- even though I know it’s ultimately beautiful. It’s hard to describe, depersonalization.  But hopefully someone else out there feels something like that too.  I’m sure they do actually.

Follow Liam Kirby on Facebook and stream his music via Bandcamp.

Check out our other Q&As here.

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