Keelan X was formed by chance in 2021 after Keelan Cunningham (vocals/guitars/keys) rummaged through his parent’s attic to dig out his untouched-for-years Telecaster and recorded a few song ideas into his iPhone Voicemail app.
“Initially, I hadn’t planned on writing a batch of songs to be honest. I just wanted to play some covers again. Before I knew it, I had dozens of original song ideas recorded on my iPhone” says Keelan.
His time playing various instruments in other bands (often just out of necessity) unknowingly prepared him for the writing and recording of the songs on his upcoming debut album. Keelan describes it as a means-to-an-end and a side-effect of the pandemic. “During lockdown you clearly couldn’t get other musicians into a studio so I thought, what the heck, I’ll do what I can myself and see where it gets me. I’ve recorded the best part of an album by now.”
Why the name ‘Keelan X’?
Even though this started out as a solo project, it very much has a band-vibe to it. This is partially through the multi-tracking of each instrument but also because of the contributions from Declan (Engineering/Guitars) and Julian (Engineering/Keyboards). “Music, like life, is a team sport. Loads of people contribute to the energy in this…Declan, Julian, my friends, random people I bump into, photographers, video producers, actors, engineers, promoters, etc. I didn’t want to call myself just “Keelan” as I thought it was a bit “Beyoncé” so I came up with the X as it signifies the multiplier effect others have on the development of the music and each song”.
Keelan X has a diverse blend of musical taste – from late 70s & 80s bands like Fleetwood Mac, Joy Division, Tears for Fears to solo artists like Bowie, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty; electronic-led acts such as Depeche Mode, Ultravox, Kraftwerk; and guitar-centred bands like U2, War on Drugs, The Killers, My Bloody Valentine etc.
“People who’ve heard the songs have referenced everything from – Marc Almond, Prefab Sprout, Coldplay, The National, David Gray, The Clash, INXS, The Waterboys, etc. I find it really interesting to hear what people hear in it – my intention is write the kind of music that I’d love to listen to myself ” says Keelan.