Commerce alum KIRPAL talks two latest singles

Ryan O'Driscoll started recording music during his time at Queen's

KIRPAL mixing music.
Credit: 
Supplied by Ryan O'Driscoll
For musician Ryan O’Driscoll, Comm ‘17, if you’re not willing to be weird and different with your sound, there’s no point.
 
O’Driscoll, who goes by KIRPAL, got his first guitar when he was  seven or eight and has been experimenting with his sound ever since. His two latest singles, ‘Again and Again’ and ‘35mm Memories,’ are available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music. 
 
During his undergrad at Queen’s, O’Driscoll gained some experience playing in front of a live audience at the Mansion but stopped when it ended badly. 
 
“It’s kind of funny. I used to play a lot of acoustic stuff and I decided I was going to do a short set that was multiple instrumentations, but by myself. Honestly, I was not prepared for it. My computer crashed during it. It was shockingly bad,” he laughed. 
 
“I decided at that point I wasn’t going to perform live again until I could do it right, [and] I could perform my own work. Just when I was starting to release things, that’s when COVID kind of all set in so there hasn’t been an opportunity yet.” 
 
As a student, O’Driscoll was performing acoustic covers of artists like Ben Howard and City and Colour. Now, he writes and mixes his own songs, which are more of an ethereal pop vibe with some inspiration from alt-J, M83, and 80s nostalgia. 
 
“If I was to describe who KIRPAL is […] it’s a one-man project that uses the genres of electronic, alternative rock, pop with its quite deeply emotional but also metaphorical lyrics.”
 
“A lot of [my songs] develop around failed relationships be they romantic or otherwise, [and the] desire to hold on even amongst the devastation. I view my work as sort of a deposition on doubt, yearning, sexual infatuation, and personal connections which you share with people,” he said. 
 
In his recording process, he tends to write the lyrics last, doing a version with gibberish words just to find the right vocal melodies. Sometimes in his early drafts of the lyrics, he’ll stumble onto a kernel of cool words or phrases and expand from there. 
 
A typical KIRPAL song will blend synthwave with reverberating guitars, a rich drumbeat, and airy, washed-out vocals. 
 
O’Driscoll views his music as a release from normal life. 
 
“[Music] was my creative outlet, so I started recording and learning how to produce,” he said. “Through thousands of hours and hundreds of projects, it’s starting to come together.”
 

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.