Kelly Lee Owens is an electronic music producer and songwriter originally from Wales. She’s released two critically acclaimed albums and done remixes for Björk and St. Vincent. Her most recent album is is called Inner Song. It came out in August, following what Kelly described as the hardest three years of her life. In this episode, she takes apart her song "On," and explains how its tone and shifts mirrored her journey processing her own trauma.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
You're listening to song exploder, where musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. My name is Rishi case. Your way, song exploder is sponsored by Dave's killer, bread. I actually love Dave's killer bread, but they gave me a script to read so appeared as attention shoppers. We now have taste in the bread, Aisle Dave's killer, bread, that's right, an organic bread, that's no longer a sedative for your tastebuds Dave's killer. Bread is on a mission to make the most of the loaf to rid the world of GMO those high fructose corn syrup and artificial ingredients and plant the seeds of good in all that they bake, killer, taste, color texture, always organic Dave's killer, bread, bread amplified. This episode is sponsored by indeed, indeed makes it easy to.
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so. She takes a part or song on, and she explains how the songs, tone and tempo shifts mirrored her own journey processing a drama the the The name is Kelly Lee Owens, the last two or three years before Making this album I'd been through quite a lot personally and I would say, It, you know, suffered a lot of losses which involved a lot of grief. The day I made the song was a data Keith Flint from the prodigy passed away and the prodigy I've loved my whole life, and I think I see it technically counts as having been my first CD single yeah, I've loved them for most of my life.
So when I heard that he passed it really affected me. the song in a sense, was born of that energy initially, but even though this was inspired by the passing of Keith Flynn. the very emotional thing I, a thin star, songs, with inspiration from samples that I take So anyone that knows me knows that I'm obsessed with capturing sounds one of the samples that I have at laying round on my phone was of a train that I recorded, like a year later was London station, and I was into an airport down. It's so high definition, there's a specific rhythm, and so you know I just whipped out my I've been recorded that quickly, I'll bring those little samples to the studio and often that can spark an idea and that some
pull as because of tool. As a high hat really stood out and so I thought that would be a great starting point, but the original sample was quite slow and this track. Wasn't certainly going to to be that I wanted to find a baby and they felt good and then sped up the train sound celica, a high hat or America. It's just way more exciting to me at least to the sample that sounds like America, Maraca actually use America. So start with that sample and then built up the because it ideas around that. Initially this track was cold for very long time. Spirit of Keith, because I can't even envelop, partly like his spirit, was coming through in this kind of like that slight break, he prodigy influence with the precaution as well
I knew I wanted a kind of crazy kind of know quite hard section, but wanted to go into them. Mall kind of melodic stuff, the court sequences came out very quickly. I feel like that quite emotional, into with sadness. Quite euphoric. What Quiz James Greenwoods, who co wrote and co produced on this record and it's his sense descend from nineteen, eighty four and analog, and I just fell in love with it.
Once the main quotes have been established. This always like Armenia is usually on the same since just a kind of like in her, And build a wall of sound I like a sonic hug, the I wouldn't romanticize. You know feeling low or depressed as being the only way that you can access good arts. I think we're kind of moving on from that cliche. You know, but I had a a body trauma, release therapy session and I became very low a week after that
I was able to really feel all of these things. I'd been suppressing, and so I could access things more truthfully and it actually that week that I happened to be putting aside to write lyrics for the album, and so it was kind of like the floodgates opening says, Musca and and then and then The word like this is how it must go now. I am moving on the quite open, the quite simple, but it definitely felt like what initially, singing over the music that that was just What needed to come out the emotions came through and I really need
it's unwanted, to be very direct and very honest. It was cathartic for me when I find like a melody that really works and lyrics already work. I then start to build harmonies around that, so this is my Ska and then, when it actually comes to the recording, I can't have anyone in the room. It's really important for me to be able to have a time and space to be able to do that freely. It's a real like intimate experience for me that I really treasure.
We can go of the simplicity in the melody where it sometimes feels like a not a lullaby, but it has quality to it. You know where it's like kind of holding a dreamy emotional. Base for you, my favorite, so Larry. Send this is- can only Love is deeply. As you see yourself, and this
something that, like going through therapy and my personal situations that I've been through is like, I realized, like someone, can only love few as deeply as they are willing to see themselves. We all have that responsibility and the deeper you go into that the deeper. I feel you can actually truly love me, a a. I don't think I've written a breakup song before Sometimes you know you feel like that over simplifies it, because actually you know that can be things that come late, the derogatory within a sense we'd like all another break up truck, but it's more complex than that. The losses I experienced the most devastating Lhasa experience, that was the loss of myself in the chorus
I just keep going with the harmonies and the layers until I get to the point where I feel like it's emotionally connected that moment, when you can kind of just go like all out, you know after the second quarter, This mean I was aware that is quite an emotion, the heavy song I wanted to almost free myself from one eyed created. You know so well, it's him. both for for us emotionally in life as well to like lean into those cracks. I think it's important to have hope I wanted to create that sonically. it's sort of transmute pain.
And the sense of loss within the sounds of the first half and create this whole other second half that just allows you to move on EU at the second chorus ends. Does it sent, but we made it sound like a siren as a klaxon like okay. Here we go we're moving from. One state of being to another, not moving from one phase to the next phase, and then the kick comes in and it just becomes quite in your face, just being right here we go we get on with this, so the chorus is saying now I am moving on. The second half was the moving on bit and sell
rating out with with movement I believe we still traumas in the body and it's well known that kind of movement can shift a lot. So I wanted it to be like a dance floor moment, this like a sin flying and sometimes it can feel the since all lining up, but then we are then this kind of like the back and forth of cannot move forward like can we do this? We can ok rights. Does what I needed. That moment myself, it's in the outro but that is just simply the beauty of working. with analog synths and sequences, have a mind of their own
and they sickly that technically mistakes, but I always leave the mistakes in Those last little few notes really made me chuckle, so they had to stay in there and that was representative of like nothing's, perfect and the mistake sometimes they're, actually not mistakes at all, the vocals that come in in the second half, they don't happen very often, and they were one of the last things to be placed in the track. it was completely instrumental and then it felt like okay, I need to knit in something that connects to the fest off the
to me. It just made sense that those moments in particular that we connected back to the initial feeling better is actually in life. You can move forward from stuff, but of course like we all have memories and we feel like we're always going to be connected to the things that happen. to us. It's what makes us and I think it's important to acknowledge that and so just acknowledging that sonically Would be times where James and I were working on it and I just say, oh sorry, crying again, and I know that can be an amazing sign right when something is moving you, but it happens so often that it wasn't a problem, but it was like okay Ellie, like previous, also govern our focus were hit. So this one in particular, hit me hard, but I experienced was so deeply
traumatic, and you know it was a situation that zapped heaps of energy, to the point that I didn't know if I could create anymore so just that this album mixes is like a testament in itself. To my spirit, I think something about. When we go in the pain and we access those feelings of sadness. So melancholy. I think that says they can be transformed, transforming that pain,
and finding the blessings within it and now here's on by Kelly LEO it in its entirety.
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.