Nolan Kennedy / by E

Stream parts of The Honesty Theory on SoundCloud now, see what Nolan Kennedy had to say about his debut album below, and look for East coast tour dates in Spring 2015. 

The Honesty Theory was released a few weeks ago, what's been the best response to the album so far?

Nolan Kennedy: The response so far has been really overwhelming actually. We're getting a lot of love back on this album. It's pretty great hearing things, personally, especially on Facebook and text message and through word of mouth; people talk to other people I know who are just sending so much love back, they're just saying how much it's affecting them. Just, if they're really into the tune then everybody's got a different opinion on a song, everybody's got a different flavor, so many favorites. It's nice waking up and somebody you haven't heard from in a while just bought your album and is like 'I think it's great and I love what you're doing' and I guess that's the biggest thing is, you know, people really appreciate what we're trying to do.

How would you describe the album?

I would describe the album as seven songs and I think that's the perfect size nowadays 'cause everyone's really interested in a single but this album is more of a project, it's a collection. I think if I [had] made twelve songs on an LP it would be a little more difficult to digest, you might get lost a little easier, in this giant digital music world that we've created, you know, I think seven songs is easy to digest and it's easy to take in because every song is a little bit different. I have so many different influences in my life and I wrote the songs at various times and chapters in my life where I was either into different sounds or in different bands, you know, how old I was and so it's all a little different but it all dances around the same idea. We chose to do songs that I had written years ago: "Apologize", for example, was the first song I ever wrote and "Cover You" and "Devil Creep" are some more recent songs. Because this is my first album, you know, just as a new album, I think it's important to, if you're going to know an artist, to know them from the beginning, so we thought it was important to take songs up to my life thus far, rather than strictly newer material. I wanted everybody to see where the songs used to be and where they come from, where I come from, 'cause each song is personal so it's my way of kind of sharing my story.

Is there a track from the album you're most happy with the way it turned out or really want people to pay attention to?

I think my two favorite songs on the album are probably "For Jaclyn", and that's due to, you know, that's one of the relatively old songs. Some of the guitar work and harmonic and things like that I just think of as basic and I think that all just came together very nicely. It sounds nice and it's a very poetic song, but the song that I am probably most proud of, based off the response I've gotten, is probably "Devil Creep". It's a very simple song, melodic, but it's a very personal song to me and, you know, getting up on stage and playing that song, it's the last song I always play because it's the hardest to play. A lot of history goes into that song and some of the references are pretty direct, like I talk about my mother and my siblings and my father but, you know, for people who know me and know my background, they are overwhelmingly moved by that song and those who really don't know me - I think everybody can relate to sometime or some instance or something in their life where they just think "why". You know, there's nobody to blame but things are just hard and they're just not going your way and you're not really sure what it is and that's what the devil is in my song. Everyone can relate to that so even people who I don't know, who I don't have a history with, find solace in that song; they can relate to it and it really makes them reflect and for me to put something so personal out there - I mean, that's kind of the point, I guess, for me doing this is to put out personal things - that song in particular and the overwhelming response has just been like "I feel you" and really moving people. That's what I love the most about this song. So that's my favorite song: "Devil Creep".

Is there an artist whose work has inspired your sound or writing style? Any current artists you take inspiration from?

It's kind of a mix; I'm really a '90's kid so a lot of those bands I grew up listening to, like Foo Fighters and Nirvana, songs with messages, but my writing style.. I don't know. I really don't know; I have no idea where it comes from. I know that growing up I played with my [cousin]; I learned most of my guitar work from my cousin; he's kind of like my older brother figure and I always used to watch him play and that's kind of how I learned, for the most part. I taught myself based off of watching him play so a lot of my style I developed by watching him and other people. My sound though is very basic, you know, melodies are catching and lyric driven. So, I guess I would say, anybody '90's and any old school singer-songwriters; I'm really into blues like Muddy Waters  - things with a solid melody and the lyrics are driven too, I guess I'm just inspired by everybody.

Oh yeah, Alexi Murdoch; I'm really into Alexi Murdoch right now. I really do enjoy Ed Sheeran and what he does with lyrics; I think he's extremely talented. I listen to a lot of those guys just because they have a killer melody, killer sound, simplicity and, you know, it's just really, really awesome.. Who else am I listening to right now? James Bay. James Bay is killer, man. He's got a great acoustic sound, rough voice, bluesy, definitely him.

What tracks have you got on you iPod now?

Actually, really embarrassing story: On the subway the other day I was coming down from my girlfriend's place and I had just smoked a joint before I got on the subway and it's jam packed and the one One Direction song that I have on my shuffle pops up on the subway on the screen and I leave it on because, I'm like, 'this is alright'. This girl sitting next to me on the subway taps me on the shoulder and gives me the dirtiest look and holds up her iPod and she's got the same One Direction song playing. She's like fourteen years old and I had a full beard at the time; I was totally embarrassed, like, "ah, I got caught".

So, that one One Direction song, James Bay, Alexi Murdoch, Pink Floyd - I just downloaded the re-mastered greatest hits - I'm really into classics too.

What's the best part about performing?

The best part about performing is watching people sing along; I really enjoy looking out into the crowd and seeing everybody's mouth move. At the album release party there was a hundred and thirty something plus people there and, you know, there's so many lights on my face and I can't really see everybody, but I'm looking out at these faces and you can hear people sing back at you and that's really cool, when people sing back to you.

How would you describe your sound as a whole to someone who had never heard it?

My sound as a whole I would say is acoustic indie rock, lyrically driven, with some blues and folk influences.

What do you want people to take away from your music?

A unique listening experience, really. I want people to listen to the songs and hopefully they like it and it's catchy and they like the melody and all that stuff but, really, I hope they can relate to what I'm saying or they find some sort of relationship to the words and can relate and then therefore reflect and think about their own experiences. I think that enhances relationships, is self-reflection, and so I think I want people to take away from my music is listen, relate, and reflect on your own life as well. Everybody shares kind of the same baggage a lot of the time that we don't talk about and music's a way to express that so, hopefully, people can find comfort in that. 

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