Ryan Kennedy has come to the end of writing a new album, proficiently his third in three years under Horsebeach; his impactful, introspective guitar-pop project. The writing of the record arrived at a time of life-changing circumstances for Kennedy, finding him coming to terms with an unexpected, disorientating new chapter in his life. “I broke up with my partner having just got back from our EU tour, returning home to what no longer felt like home and getting a place on my own. So this record is a long hard look at myself, sadness, being alone and learning to deal with all the above. It’s called ‘Beauty & Sadness.’”
Writing about the most impacting events in his life and how they have come to define him is what, funnily enough, typifies Kennedy’s beautifully sentimental work as Horsebeach. Having worked solitarily on the writing and recording process across the three records, the musician has, even from his self-titled first LP, come across as established and mature in experience, capturing self-consideration alongside a moment in time so well.
“This record is a long hard look at myself, sadness, being alone and learning to deal with all the above”
“It took me a while to find my feet in the beginning, until I learnt how to deal with all the ideas floating around and put them down the way I was hearing them in my head.” He explains, “I started trying to write about situations that were detached from me but I quickly found I was writing about myself unintentionally.”
As proven by Beauty & Sadness‘ heartbreak and having to come to terms with it – “it marks a massive change in my life and a time of much emotional turmoil, the best for song writing” – Kennedy has a penchant for writing about love, whether personal or his perception of the encompassing feeling behind it. Horsebeach in particular, focuses heavily on finding your own way in understanding such an emotionally effecting element of life. ”There will always be a theme of love in most of my songs, it’s a subject I find extremely beautiful. It can be incredible but it can also be fleeting, we all deal with love in some way and we all know how hard it is to lose that.” The fact that Kennedy approaches the subject with openness and empathy proves his own notion of understanding, whether he is still finding it all out for himself too.
This idea of self-education comes across in the music, Kennedy’s approach holding a tender quality from the subtle layers and textures that he creates but doesn’t force upon a listener – creating a wonderful balance between engaging melodicism and instrumentally ambient elements. “I’ve always been a fan of long winding instrumental passages mid-song, or bits where the key melody is enforced and then slowly morphed away, building bar by bar.” Kennedy states, “ I’ve learnt a lot technically, I’ve been able to invest in better studio equipment and each song I understand the recording process better – Next time round it’ll be easier, that’s been the case with everything so far so third time round I’m feeling a lot more comfortable about it all.”
”There will always be a theme of love in most of my songs, it’s a subject I find extremely beautiful.”
This year in particular has found Ryan taking Horsebeach out on the road, playing festivals this summer just past and forming a full-band when he started the project to expand the sounds he creates so personally. While he’s more than happy with how the music has transformed into a live setting, he admits that it’s not an easy feat to accomplish.
“It’s a strange thing, with the songs being personal and almost confessional in nature, take ‘Let You Down’ (From ‘II’) for instance. A song of deep regret and sadness, written alone then taken out onto the stage and openly revealed. It’s the best feeling when it goes down well, I hope that we reach more places.” As displaying his most inner thoughts through his most confessional songs is a daunting prospect, the admiration and acceptance Ryan has been receiving for such work is more than deserving.
The future, while obviously unbeknown, seems bright after such a treacherous space of time for the musician. With ‘Beauty & Sadness’ ready to record, Kennedy is positive and steadfast in not only preparing for what is ahead, but for what Horsebeach stands for. “I can’t say where I’ll be or what kind of place I’ll be in, there’s always the unknown ahead and I guess for now we’ll carry on as we always have done, still 100% independent. Let’s see how far this takes us.”
Horsebeach plays Simple Things Festival on 22nd October. Check out ‘It’s Alright’ below.