Speak Low If You Speak Love Interview
An Interview with Ryan Scott Graham of Speak Low If You Speak Love
By Camree Lynn | Photo of Ryan by Elliott Ingham
Just when we thought it was physically impossible for this man to get any more amazing, Speak Low If You Speak Love decides to drop a bomb ass album on us. The album, NEARSIGHTED, in whole is a big, emotional rollercoaster; a coaster that goes 300mph straight through a brick wall of feels. Trust me, I couldn’t get through one song without the waterworks starting up again. But that’s the great thing with this album, it makes it feel so much more personal.
"Cannot Have It All" is my absolute favorite. The song in entirety is a piece of musical genius. A couple lyrics in particular were a giant slap in the face, like, “I’m afraid to fall apart, I’m afraid of my own heart.” and, “I lose control if I get too vulnerable.”. Honestly, it’s like I have always felt that and never knew how to put it into words, and here Ryan goes elaborating it better than I ever could have. Bro how are you a better me than me? Also it totally feels like a song that was written late at night spontaneously, which is why I love it so much.
Enough of me and my love for these songs, let’s focus on Ryan and himself instead:
In a hypothetical situation- since all of these songs are pure genius and this would be sacrilegious- if you were only able to release one song off the album & you had to completely get rid of all the others, which would you choose?
“I don't think any one song necessarily encapsulates the entire sound or vibe of the record, but the song on Nearsighted that means the most to me is probably Cannot Have It All. It's a sentiment that just hit me hard one night and I had to get it out, so I sat on the couch at 4 am one night and strummed my guitar softly as to not wake up my roommate. I'm so happy with the way it came out.”
What was your major inspiration for this album?
The major inspiration for this record was probably just personal growth. I had seen new things and experienced a lot over the years between the two records and I felt like putting those highs and lows into songs was the only real way to describe how they made me feel. Some of the lyrics are deeply personal and some are purposely vague. It's fun to avoid certain specificity at times to allow for outside interpretation. Other times, I want that moment to be undoubtedly visceral for the listener.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to perform these songs in a huge, sold out venue, where would you go?
Tokyo, Japan without a doubt. It's one of my favorite places in the world and having a massive fan base there would be amazing. All of the photos from the album art were taken in Japan.
What was the biggest challenge you experienced with Speak Low If You Speak Love?
The biggest challenge has been putting the project, which is a huge outlet for me, on the back burner for a bit while I tour with my other band. Don't get me wrong, I love being able to pursue both endeavors, but this record definitely took a lot longer than I had originally anticipated and it's because I just simply haven't had much free time over the past few years.
What was your most memorable experience during this project of yours?
Working with one of my favorite musicians on the new record is definitely a highlight. Aaron Marsh (of Copeland) produced, engineered and mixed Nearsighted, and it was just an absolute honor to work with him. I've been listening to Copeland since high school, so it really was a full circle moment.
What are your hopes for SLIYSL? What can we expect for it’s future?
My goal for SLIYSL has always just been to stay true to ME. I don't want to get suckered into making music for anyone other than myself, but my hopes are that people enjoy and relate to the songs despite the lack of certain pop sensibility. In the future, you can expect the music to continue to evolve, but I truly see Speak Low being a project that lasts a long time.
Was there a specific vision you had for SLIYSL? Is it everything you wished it to be?
The vision is to take over the world! I'm not there yet, but the world domination seems to be catching on slowly.
Some people make art as an outlet, and others do it simply to pass time. Why do you do it?
I make music because it's the most consistent and therapeutic outlet I've had in my life thus far. I have numerous hobbies and passions, and I pursue them when they make sense to me, but music has always made sense. And as long as it does, I will keep writing and playing.
So a little recap:
The lyrics? WOW
The instruments? WOW
Every little portion of this album? WOW
It’s such a beautiful masterpiece that I feel like no matter what I say, it won’t truly show how great it is in actuality. I guess you’ll just have to give it a listen yourself.
NEARSIGHTED is out NOW via Pure Noise Records on Spotify, Apple Music, Merch Now, and Amazon