Solo project The Key Rocks offers inspiration to anyone that has a scratch of inspiration to write music that it is absolutely possible to record and release it with decent production quality and without breaking the bank.
The work of Irishman Kevin Murphy, the Americana Irish rock project sees limited production as he keeps it simple with his LoFi approach to acoustic-influenced rock.
We took a listen to The Line, from the recent album Love & Alcohol, which opens with a laid-back winding guitar riff. Deep vocals come in over the top, with another guitar line joining in, and building up to a cool little dual guitar solo. It’s very chilled out and a nice easy listening track that’ll be sure to have you feeling mellow and chill.
The album is an interesting mixture of similarly laid-back laments and more upbeat tracks, such as the catchy opener Casanova.
We had a chat with Kevin Murphy, the man behind The Key Rocks, to find out more about his interesting approach. Give it a read below…
GR: Who are The Key Rocks?
KM: “My name is Kevin, I am a 48-year-old from Ireland who presently lives in Malaysia. I have been living in various parts of the world over the past 28 years or so and a guitar has always been close by as my travelling companion.
“The Key Rocks is a solo project that I started in 2018 that is focused on showing that music can be released by anyone, anywhere in a relatively cost-effective manner. There is too much focus in the world at the moment on overproduction, being perfect, and the expectation that everyone needs to live up to a certain image.
“I wanted to work against that concept, so with an iMac, Logic Pro, a couple of guitars and a piano in my living room, I recorded, produced and subsequently released and promoted a load of songs – one of which is The Line.”
GR: You just released The Line. What should people be expecting from the song?
KM: “This song is an expression of regret and hope when reflecting on unnecessary relationship problems. Wondering about what would happen if some things had been approached differently. What decisions might lay ahead in the relationship? Would we cross a line that could alter the course of our lives?
“Relationships are complex things, everyone has regrets, too often people can get trapped in a ‘what if?’ loop. We all need to move forward. I am prepared to wait and carry whatever burden comes with crossing certain ‘lines’ together.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
KM: “I strive for a raw simple sound. I don’t agree with overproduction. Every song is recorded in a maximum of two or three takes. I play all the instruments on the single and album. I try to write honestly and all of my songs are based on direct or indirect real personal experiences and exposures over the past decades.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
KM: “Real-life experiences are my main motivation. I seem to be stuck on a ‘relationship’ topic at the moment. Whether remembering old experiences or reflecting on the incredible journey I have been on with my wife. I have many guitar demos but often struggle with writing of lyrics.
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
KM: “Oh dear, where to start, all music is essential to me. I started playing the piano around the age of 6 and was primarily classical trained but branched off into blues around the age of 16. I started playing the guitar at around 12, played in folk groups, some bands, some solo gigs, and also spent some years learning recorder and clarinet. So a broad base.
“The foundation influences when I was young would be Bob Dylan, John Martyn, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Janice Joplin, in my 20s it would have been The Frames, Counting Crows, Jeff Buckley, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, in my 30s more like Rory Gallagher and some essential Tom Waits.
“My most recent influences would be mainly Irish bands such as Staring at Lakes, Niall McCabe Band, Jack O’Rourke, Laura Elizabeth Hughes, Foy Vance, David Keenan – an incredible bard from Ireland who is about to take the world by storm, and top of my playlist at the moment is Fontaines DC. There is incredible depth to the Irish music scene – from Punk to Rock to Jazz to Rap to Country.”
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019? New music, new gigs, recording etc…?
KM: “I just released an album called Love & Alcohol on 1 June, which the single The Line features on. There are a few other songs released from that album now Casanova, Pilot Light and Take It Away. I am planning to release another EP later in the year. This one will focus on Blues. The concept that is growing is ‘me, some slide guitar, a microphone and a bottle of whiskey’ – mix it all up and see what emerges.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music?
KM: “Getting to finally release these songs has been a very positive, empowering and passionate experience. I hope that other musicians that may feel that releasing their music is a daunting task can learn from this. It is not necessary to have fancy studios and top of the range gear to record and release. Get the music out and keep moving forward – build the confidence.”
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank GigRadar for taking the time and interest in promoting new music. It means a lot to me and, hopefully, my music will reach out to a few people and mean something to them.”