Play it by ear

BVH senior Ian Kearns releases EP

Album art for

Provided by Ian Kearns

Album art for “Saving Face” by Ian Kearns. The EP was released on all music platforms this year.

Jenny Dye, Editor-at-Large

Continuing along his journey with music, senior Ian Kearns released his latest Extended Play record (EP), “Saving Face.” “Saving Face” is a representation of Kearns’ feelings towards growing up and facing the reality of the world with the quickpaced nature of the pandemic.

“As we progress into [becoming] adults, we have to figure things out. We can’t afford to make mistakes [as] if we were in a different situation [where] there was not a pandemic. We don’t have a senior year, we don’t have direct access to teachers or counselors anymore, we’re stuck at home,” Kearns said. “I feel that before I grow up, I have to save face, take a step back and reflect on where I’m at before I go out into the real world.” 

Kearns’ process began in early November when he had just finished and released an album within the musical project he and his friends worked on called “The Side Tide.” With that, he also needed to provide a piece of work for his upcoming college applications. 

“I had a lot of leftover ideas after the album with ‘The Side Tide’ and I just wanted to put it out there, [so] the entire month of November […] I wasn’t going out, I was stuck at home doing work, still looking for a job and I had nothing to do, so I started to put my time and energy into [the EP],” Kearns said. 

Having this entire month dedicated to producing the EP, Kearns quickly began with writing, recording and producing which ultimately took him three weeks to complete. Compared to other artists, Kearns finds that he “saves time” by “seeing where it goes” when writing and recording his music.  

“I feel like people think they need to have this finalized idea when they are recording something, [but they don’t]. The second half of the EP didn’t exist when I started recording. I just improvised and [included] whatever sounded good, and that’s how it came to be,” Kearns said. “[When I first started recording music], I used to think that I needed to finish everything and then record, but I think it’s more beneficial and efficient to keep an open mind in recording and go at it from there.” 

While the styles of his music do not alternate too much from his various albums to EPs, Kearns attempted to take a more “progressive” approach to the style for the “Saving Face” EP. 

“I took a more progressive look at it, so a lot of older bands like King Crimson and Pink Floyd [inspired me]. But I attempted to give it a more modern twist with [styles of alternative] artists today such as Phoebe Bridgers or Radiohead. I’m trying to combine them both the best I can,” Kearns said.

Throughout his process of creating the EP, Kearns shared his creative process with several of his friends and bandmates from Twelve Blocks Apart for feedback and other perspectives before furthering production. 

“[Kearns] showed me some of the demos he had and they were pretty good. Starting out the first week of making it, [the songs were] good and just needed some editing. He made a lot of changes before he released it [and] some of the things he showed me at first were not included in the EP,” The Side Tide collaborator and senior Sebastian Sotero said. 

For Twelve Blocks Apart bandmate and senior Victoria Webb, she too heard his songs before release and was amazed by the final product once the “Saving Face” EP was officially released on Jan. 22. 

“I was shocked because when I joined [Twelve Blocks Apart] I forgot how talented everyone was around me and that they put their heart and soul into this music because they love it, and you can hear and see that through this EP,” Webb said. “Listening to it and finally hearing it when it was done after he had spoken about it was a proud moment.” 

For Kearns personally, he does not feel any different since creating this EP. While an exciting and validating process, he expresses that he “doesn’t make music to do good.” 

“No [small artist] makes music to get famous because it’s so hopeless if you do. You’re not going to get famous if you make music just to get popular; you’re gonna go nowhere. I feel like if you approach it with the attitude that ‘I’m going to do this because I like making music,’ you actually have a shot,” Kearns said. “To be honest, I haven’t actually checked up on the stats because it’s there for anyone who wants to hear it, but I’m not going to be pushing it out for a career; I do it because I like to do it.”   

Ultimately, Kearns has heard positive feedback on this EP and for his skill in producing music at a young age with the little equipment he has available. He is now looking to a future in music post-graduation where he plans to focus on production. 

“If you want to make it as an artist, it’s really a roll of the dice; it’s mostly luck. I feel that the producing aspect isn’t. I can make a serious career path with it [since] there’s a lot of money and jobs in that industry because it’s a very hard industry to get into at a young age. It’s expensive, all my paychecks and all my money has gone into different equipment to make my things sound better and I feel that career path would be for me on the producing side,” Kearns said. 

As of now, Kearns is going to continue producing music with his band Twelve Blocks Apart, the musical project “The Side Tide” as well as his solo career. While he hopes for success in his future career, he expresses that it is most important to have people appreciate and enjoy his music. 

“It’s wishful saying my ultimate goal with music is to be famous and become this whole musician or star. Really, I just want to have a good time and have people appreciate the music that me and my friends make. It’s such a cool thing to hear that people enjoy your music and ask how you created it without a studio. It’s nice to be validated by other people like your friends or close people to know that you make good music,” Kearns said.