William Ryan Key Might have three solo EPs and eight Yellowcard albums under his belt, but still he finds himself continuing his musical journey by exploring new genres and experimenting with new sounds on his latest release, Everything Except Desire. Rather than serving as an extension of 2018’s Thirteen and Virtue, Everything Except Desire finds Key looking inward and making a conscious choice to challenge himself. The result is a stunning, cinematic release that stands apart from any of his previous work.
With Everything Except Desire out now, we caught up with William Ryan Key to look back on the album’s creation and reflect on the past couple of years. Read the full interview below and stream Everything Except Desire now HERE.
Prelude Press: You just released your new EP, Everything Except Desire! What are you most excited for fans to hear on the EP?
William Ryan Key: I am most excited for fans to hear the departure from the music I have made in the past. The EP really captures where I am as a writer and producer, and I’m excited to share that.
Everything Except Desire marks a sort of turning point and a more cinematic, electronic sound for your solo work. What inspired you to start experimenting with these new sounds?
I have been a fan of instrumental music for a long time now. I started out getting into post rock artists like Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai. Then about a decade ago I started down the rabbit hole of experimental and ambient EDM. Artists like Jon Hopkins, Christian Löffler, Bonobo, and Kiasmos have been huge inspirations for me. I decided with this release to really try and make my own way with a new sound that draws on the music that influences me the most.
Was there anything that you set out to accomplish with the EP that you haven’t had the chance to do or try in the past? Any specific goals you had when you began working on it?
The nice thing about it was that there were no goals outside of enjoying the process. I didn’t really have a plan to release these songs to the public at the time so I was just creating for myself. It was really helpful being that it was summer 2020 when I recorded them. I tried to use the solitude of those early days of the pandemic to focus on making new music with no boundaries or expectations.
Lyrically, was there anything you wanted to touch on with these songs?
The record really looks inward. During that time when the pandemic had set in and the future seemed so uncertain, I knew it would be easy to fall into a lazy apathetic routine. I made a conscious choice to meditate, exercise, and write music. So the lyrics were really a self examination of some recent experiences where I was allowing myself to be taken advantage of by someone I really cared for. Writing the songs really helped me put that behind me.
Did you learn anything new about yourself or even songwriting in general when diving into some different sounds on Everything Except Desire?
I feel like I am constantly learning to be a better writer and producer with each thing I work on. These songs really helped me kick down the door to start making the music I truly want to make.
What was the most surprising or exciting moment of working on the EP?
Listening to the string section from ‘Union Chapel’ by itself when it was completed was pretty awesome. I have really been working on my ability to write and arrange strings, and I am really proud of that song.
What would you like for fans to take away from the EP?
I hope that the EP can open people’s ears to a new genre. WIth most listeners being used to what I did with my time in Yellowcard, the EP might inspire them to seek out more ambient and electronic music.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us! Is there anything else you would like to add?
I think that is all from me! Thanks so much for the support.