This week’s feature presents dance-pop icons Brandyn Killz and Bryce Bowyn discussing their latest singles, songwriting and production processes, and how they’ve been handling the pandemic.
Brandyn Killz: Your newest single “Ruthless” is such a bop! What’s the story behind the song?
Bryce Bowyn: Thanks Brandyn! “Ruthless” is about a guy I was rebounding with after a nasty breakup. He didn’t really understand boundaries at all and was very manipulative. I like to consider myself a nice person, but I was sick of being heartbroken and disrespected so I decided to be the heartless Casanova for once.
Bryce Bowyn: I remember listening to your song “Bones” last year and being blown away. It feels like such an amazing throwback to late 2000s electropop, like Kesha or Femme Fatale-era Britney. What draws you to that particular sound?
Brandyn Killz: Thanks so much. Yasss, that’s exactly the vibe I was going for with “Bones.” To me, that sound is such a mood. I get so happy and energized when that sound hits and it’s hard to stay still. I can’t not dance, and nobody’s unhappy when they’re dancing 😝
Brandyn Killz: Your songs seem to always have a personal touch and go really deep. What song of yours is your most personal & why?
Bryce Bowyn: I would say with each release, my songs have become more and more personal. My song “Nostalgic” was the first time I really addressed my own relationships rather than writing from the lens of a character. That song is about romanticizing dark times in your life and realizing you’re happier in the present.
Bryce Bowyn: The production on your tracks is immaculate. Tell me about that. Do you work with producers, do you produce yourself, or is a combo situation?
Brandyn Killz: Aww, thank you so much. I am very hands-on when it comes to everything I put out. I generally always work with producers in getting a foundation for a track, and then I’ll add all kinds of synths and random sounds. I record and produce all the vocals, and complete most of the post-production as well. It’s been a crazy learning process, but I’m gettin’ better with each release.
Brandyn Killz: How has the pandemic and the last year affected your music, life, and career?
Bryce Bowyn: I would say the pandemic made me go back to square one and re-invent everything I was doing. It’s the one silver lining of this mess. With all the isolation and downtime, I’ve written some of my best work. All of the songs on my upcoming EP were written in the first few months of quarantine. Being able to access that creativity also helped with my social anxiety surprisingly. All in all, I think I’ve come out of 2020 more confident and sure of myself.
Bryce Bowyn: What was your most challenging song to create and why?
Brandyn Killz: “Outta Control” was the most challenging. It’s probably my favorite song I’ve ever written, but getting it to sound like I wanted it to sound was a hurricane. It was one of the first times I had to pull rank with a producer and basically say “This is how it’s going to be.” It definitely taught me a lot, but the finished product is exactly what I dreamed of.
Brandyn Killz: Take me through your songwriting process. For me, it takes a village. How do you make it all sound so perfect and so easy?
Bryce Bowyn: I would say I start with a concept. I take tons of notes on my phone. Whenever I think of a good lyric or concept, I write it down. Then I’ll go for a walk or something that doesn’t require too much focus and the melodies start to pour out. From there, I’ll sit down at the keyboard and find the chords.
Bryce Bowyn: “Losin’ It” is such a banger. I can’t wait to see a crowd lose their mind to it once we are all safely able to party together again. What inspired that track?
Brandyn Killz: OMG, I can’t wait to perform that song. It’s going to be wild. The song was inspired by a friend that was struggling with addiction. It was just my anthem to let him know that I’m always here fighting for you and I’m not gonna give up on you. A way to give him and anyone fighting the good fight a reminder that I’m your #1 fan and we can win this thing together.
Brandyn Killz: What’s the most challenging part of being an artist in 2021?
Bryce Bowyn: Being an independent artist in 2021 often feels like a Herculean task. You’re in charge of everything. You’re the talent, the producer, the writer, the manager, the promoter, etc. It can be very overwhelming. It’s important to remember to be kind to yourself.
Bryce Bowyn: What’s one non-music positive thing that you took away from the hell that was 2020?
Brandyn Killz: It’s been incredibly fun getting so much extra time with my husband while the world was falling apart. All the laughs, binge-watching, good food and quality time has made life consistently feel almost normal.
Brandyn Killz: I’m on pins and needles waiting for more of that ‘Bryce Bowyn’ sound. What do you have coming up that you’re most excited about?
Bryce Bowyn: Well, an EP is for sure on the way and I couldn’t be more excited. We just filmed the video for “Ruthless” and I think it’s going to be wild and unlike anything I’ve released yet. And I have some conversations brewing about live performances. Hopefully, with the right safety measures and whatnot, we can do some shows by the end of year.
Bryce Bowyn: What made you want to create pop music? Is there a particular cultural moment that made you say “I want to do that”?
Brandyn Killz: I’ve had such a huge love for music in general since I was young. But pop music and the fandom that comes along with it has always fascinated me. Michael Jackson. Beyonce. Lady Gaga. Britney. One Direction. The way their fans absolutely adore them. I just want to be loved. 🤣 But in all seriousness, seeing the power that music has to inspire, heal, hype, and change people is why I create.
Bryce Bowyn: And last but not least, it’s time to spill. What’s next for Brandyn Killz in 2021?
Brandyn Killz: I am working on the title track for my next EP as we speak. It’s another banger and I’m really happy with the “dancier” sound that I’m playing around with these days. That should be out in late May. And I’m really hoping to be able to shoot a fun music video for it as well.
About Brandyn Killz:
If you were to combine the soulful stylings of Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, then mash them with contemporary electronic acts like Galantis, you’d end up with BRANDYN KILLZ.
Brandyn is a San Diego-based producer of what he dubs electronic soulpop, a fierce blend of pop and modern electro with tendencies echoed from the classics of the ‘70s and ‘80s. While electronic at heart, Brandyn’s music is built on a bedrock foundation of analog-meets-digital and incorporates a plethora of live instrumentation rooted in rich drums, along with detailed synthwork and edits. The result: ridiculously catchy tunes that are “all electronic & dangerously pop,” as his fans call them.
Intent on inducing feelings of empowerment and independence, Brandyn’s infectious songs are often anthemic in nature. For him, music serves as a form of release and escape; a place where he can be whoever he wants to be, and where he can invite his listeners to do the same, even if only for a moment. Above all, however, Brandyn desires to create something new, timeless and different in the LGBTQ+ community, which he is a proud member of. With every song he releases, he aims to bring his fans “Closer to Closure,” helping them navigate a positive headspace while dealing with heartbreak, loss, anxiety, and other complex emotions, and bring them back to the dance floor.
Brandyn is also a professional ghostwriter with tracks that have been featured on radio and top 40 albums. With 10 years of music production experience under his belt, his artistic persona serves as a brand new outlet through which he can showcase his unique approach to electro soulpop. He is currently preparing for the release of his next single “Losin’ It,” which is set for release on March 5.
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About Bryce Bowyn:
Dance-pop singer-songwriter Bryce Bowyn has established himself as an unstoppable force in the industry thanks to his utterly hypnotic brand of uncensored, unfiltered dynamism.
Based in Washington, D.C., Bowyn’s anthemic electropop tracks have captivated audiences throughout the nation’s capital and beyond. Delivering story-focused songs like “Nostalgic,” a club-ready ode to romanticizing young heartbreak, and “Just Love Me,” a smash inspired by the beauty of queer nightlife entertainers, he effortlessly pulls listeners into his ethereal world and invites them along on an incredible journey of endless entertainment.
An innovative audiovisual artist and self-proclaimed horror buff, Bowyn ignites his tracks with esoteric and evocative music videos that provide a dark edge to his irresistibly sweet, addictive melodies. The demonic, skin-crawling bloodbath of “Nostalgic” and the sultry, mermaid-themed saga of “Cabana Boy” turn up the heat, showcasing the complex and expansive spectrum of the talented visionary’s extraordinary creativity.
Drawing inspiration from iconic pop legends like Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, Bowyn’s live presentations combine his infectious synth-driven tunes with high-octane spectacle. From his explosive performance at Pittsburgh’s 2019 PrideFest to the critically praised show BRYCE: Hydrogen Blonde (Capital Fringe 2016), he never fails to bring the house down with tight choreography and dazzling theatrics.
Bryce Bowyn is an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and has garnered high praise from outlets such as The Art of Being Queer, the Q Review, and Culture Fix. In 2021, he will continue his reign as one of the most brilliant figures in pop music today with the release of scintillating new singles and a bewitching EP, which promise to enthrall and mesmerize his fans all over again.
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(Left) Brandyn Killz photo credit Karina Broden (Right) Bryce Bowyn photo credit Clarissa Villondo