Having worked at a radio promotions company for a couple of years, long songs are a mystery to me. We all know a 10 minute song would never fly. Rules are meant to be broken though and that’s where Kieran Leonard comes into play. His latest single “The Greatest Show on Earth” is about four times as long as your typical song and has some pretty bizarre, yet interesting lyrics. With that, I had to sit down and talk with this singer-songwriter about everything from conspiracy theories to his new album fans should expect sometime this fall with a handful of singles before the year is said and done. Now let’s get to more from Kieran!
Kendra: Not many can say their first single went on to be on the soundtrack to a movie. Being a part of Ridley Scott’s Life in a Day, and later Get Him to the Greek – did you get a little bit by the acting bug, or would you rather just always remain on the soundtracks?
Kieran Leonard: I am very engaged and interested by acting and cinema, I admire it greatly. I have dabbled in a little acting myself, however I think my focus shall remain very much musical and indeed I am looking at working on other film soundtracks in the near future.
Kendra: Speaking of, you got to record at Stanley Kubrick’s estate. The Shining is surrounded by conspiracy theories. Is there a theory out there that you happen to believe in? Like Elvis being alive, the Loch Ness Monster, things like that?
Kieran: I am a fiend for a good conspiracy theory, I can while away many a late night scrolling through the weirder and darker end of YouTube and endless conspiracy blogs. None that I would particularly like to share right now though…apart from that one about Paul McCartney…
Kendra: You were at Kubrick’s to record your latest single, “The Greatest Show on Earth.” It’s quite a doozy clocking in over 10 minutes. You had to know radio was going to hate you for that, so what made you record a track that long?
Kieran: Well I wasn’t really thinking of radio when I recorded it, I was thinking more about what I was trying to say, and it turned out that was quite a lot. It ended up at around 15 minutes, but it could easily have been twice that length, in fact on one of the nights we performed it at the Gallery launch show we did a rendition that was just a little over one hour, I even took a break to go for a cigarette in the middle.
Kendra: One of the lines that stood out in it, “I believe in you Google” caught me off guard, and then made me think – what’s the weirdest (PG) thing you’ve found yourself looking up on the search engine?
Kendra: You’re working on your next record now. Will we see more lengthy tracks from you on it?
Kieran: Well it’s finished now and there is nothing quite as gargantuan as Greatest show… in fact the rest of it is relatively snappy.
Kendra: How will the upcoming record vary in terms of emotion when compared to your 2012 release, Out of Work Astronaut?
Kieran: Personally,I think it’s a far more sophisticated record, with a great many broader themes. To my ears there is a very clear emotional landscape and story being told in the new one. However it retains certain things in keeping with Out of Work Astronaut…namely it being drawn from my own personal and observed experiences. I think the experiences I have had since making my first record have exposed me to wider and more diverse influences, and I have had the chance to tour and work with some truly stunning musicians which has no doubt developed my ears somewhat. A lot of what I read seems to find its way into the music, and I have certainly read quite a bit in the process of making this new one.
Kendra: You’ve lived all around the world at this point in time. What city provides the best backdrop when it comes to penning lyrics?
Kieran: Very hard to answer that categorically, it depends greatly on what has been happening and what I have been doing in that city, I did find a different voice in Los Angeles, having written most of my songs and my debut album under the glorious overcast skies of London, I did find that LA allowed me to access a totally different perspective point and I was being influenced by some wonderfully odd experiences there. I wrote a couple of the songs on the new record while I was staying in two very different remote locations…one was a log cabin on the outskirts of Nashville Tennessee and another batch were written on the Moors of Yorkshire in North England. Both had their own unique qualities that I think were brought out by the idiosyncrasies of the environment I was inhabiting.
Kendra: If you were to put on an elaborate musical circus, your own “Greatest Show on Earth,” what five songs would play during the performance?