The Toronto-based Contemporary R&B/Pop Artist and Singer-Songwriter Reyles releases a stimulating experience with his atmospheric EP, 'Red Lights.'
The self-produced multi-instrumentalist is continuously garnering inspiration from his life experiences and surroundings. Aiming to make the listener feel the emotion and depth that his music is made with, Reyles is undeniably forming an intimate connection between his music and the listener. Through his latest EP, 'Red Lights,' we're able to feel the dynamic emotions within this project while Reyles sings of life's sweet and sour moments.
Opening the EP with the intro song, "Hindsight," the song begins with plucky and nostalgic R&B synths, while heated and modern Trap drums appear and bring a versatile aspect. Once Reyles starts singing, we can't help but get lost in his intriguing vocal performance while he sings salty lyricism towards someone who showed him the signs to steer clear. The overall production offers this punchy and playful blend of R&B and Pop through the short synth bursts and heated percussion arrangement. We love the energy and authenticity that Reyles has delivered within the EP thus far.
Through the second song and title track, "Red Lights," Reyles takes on more of an atmospheric tone through ambient piano melodies, warm Alternative percussion breaks, and haunting background pads. As Reyles begins to pour his warm vocals over the track, the song transports us into this spacious and blissful atmosphere that's met with his lyrical content surrounding the deception of a past lover. The production is like if 1975 met a modern-day Machine Gun Kelly, experimenting with present Hip-Hop sounds while basking in the Poppy instrumentals. This track evens out the EP with Reyles' passionate performance and emotional lyricism.
Moving on to the third piece, "Think of You," Reyles brings the most profound emotions that the project has to offer. While the song opens with Reyles' layered vocals singing of his attempts to keep someone off his mind, the surrounding production takes us back to prime 90s-00s R&B with the chiming synths, warm percussion breakdowns, and Reyles' layered vocals offering the most ear-pleasing harmonies. A sweet electric guitar solo takes the stage around the bridge and heats the song to be incredibly passionate, and we're head over heels for the piece as it's highly relatable as well.
Reaching the outro track, "Move On," the song begins with bright acoustic guitar melodies and modern Trap drums. The mid-tempo pace allows Reyles to offer the depth of his emotions while the surrounding instrumentals steadily increase with punchy sub-bass that brings present-day elements. Listening to Reyles' lyricism, he ends the project off by reciting to himself that this pain won't last forever while wishing his ex well on their future endeavors. Ending the song off with sweet instrumentals, we're truly captivated by the atmosphere's overall warmth and delicacy, as Reyles paints vivid images of lost love all over.
The entire EP 'Red Lights' offers listeners a sonic sweet-escape while allowing them to relate to the saddened story Reyles presents. Through each intricate production arrangement and Reyles' in-depth lyrical content, the project offers a breath of fresh air when times get tough.
What inspired you to create such an in-depth project surrounding lost love with your EP, 'Red Lights?'
I went through a pretty rough break up at the beginning of the year, so I drew a lot of
inspiration from that. At the time, I just isolated myself and just listened to a bunch of songs
revolving around what I felt at the time. You know just typical post-breakup things.
How did you write your songs to offer a continuous lyrical concept within 'Red Lights?' Was it challenging to write from a place of hurt and sorrow?
It was honestly super liberating to finally write about how I feel and what I’m going through. I used to write songs from a perspective of “what if I went through that, what would I say/do” and whatnot, mainly because I was scared of being too personal in my songs. Like, the song Red Lights was written in 2018 and I’ve never experienced somebody hiding their relationship from me while I was with them. There wasn’t supposed to be an EP in the first
place, just Hindsight as a single but at the end of the song I kept on saying “You said you don’t mind running through red lights. Shouldn’t be blind, I shouldn’t be blind.” So, I just said screw it, guess this is tying into Red Lights and making that the name of the EP. Move On was the only song off 'Red Lights' that I wrote with the EP in mind, I just thought throughout writing that song “If she called me then, what would I say to her? If she called me right now, this what I would tell her” and at the same time telling my past self that the pain is temporary and it’s time to start moving on. That song is basically the glue that binds the songs into a story.
Within your EP 'Red Lights,' the instrumentals and production are incredibly atmospheric. How did you arrange your production to offer elements of nostalgic R&B while pushing modern aspects as well?
I’m always listening to songs through a producer mindset so when I hear textures and
other details I kind of just playing around with that idea. I’ve been listening to a lot of R&B and Hip-Hop this year. Just learning techniques and getting ideas from a production and songwriting standpoint. R&B chord progressions, lyrical content with the element of Lo-Fi textures, Hip-Hop drums, and of course the 808. I made an inspiration playlist for Red Lights on Spotify with artists like Joji, Keshi, Omar Apollo, and other artists that blend that nostalgic R&B sound with modern aspects, and it just influenced the new sound I’m working with.
Speaking on the instrumentals and production once again within 'Red Lights,' how did you craft your production to offer similar emotional tones as your lyrics?
The first thing I do is grab my guitar, figure out a chord progression, and figure out a
rough beat to fit it and everything else just falls into place. I love the sound of vinyl hiss and I
guess it’s sort of symbolic in a sense where how something so new and pristine eventually will degrade over time. The last thing I write is the lyrics and I usually just have the instrumental on loop for hours until the lyrics reflect the vibe of the song well. The only exception for that would be Think of You which I made the instrumental revolve around the vibe of lyrics. Making parts of the song sound super intimate by just isolating the line “It’s too soon. I’m just trying not to think of you.” Then afterward the song explodes dynamically, sort of like an intrusive thought.
Is there a track off your project 'Red Lights' that's the most personal to you? What makes the song so dear to your heart?
Oh definitely, "Think of You" hands down. I wrote that song at the end of the relationship and finished the lyrics the day after the breakup. I remember feeling like the song was missing something and when I added the guitar solo and listened back to it I just couldn’t help but cry. I’ve never been so forward with my feelings in my songs but "Think of You" is just raw emotion. I remember sending a voice memo of the song to my best friend and started it off with me saying “Y’all ready to cry?” in a very enthusiastic voice. It honestly felt cathartic to write this song, letting my feelings be heard and not letting it bottle up as I had to do in the past.