His single ‘Sober’ which flew into the Viral Top 50 UK Chart, was championed by Zane Lo and amassed millions of streams across DPS’s. Get to know Irish rapper KiLLOWEN via this VIPER interview…

What five words define your sound?
Authentic, Relatable, Emotive, Nostalgic, Unique

Tell me something unique about your creative process.
I guess it’s not super unique but not a lot of rappers make their own beats. 90% of the time most of the songs that I put out start with me chopping up or playing a loop and then turning it into a beat. The beat usually dictates what I say on a track.

Which song of yours would people like to hear first?
‘Bar Fights & Poetry’ is a great introduction to me and my sound.

What inspired you to make that song?
Just my surroundings, where I grew up as a kid. The things I see and saw in everyday life. It’s a culmination of all my influences both in music and in real life.

What’s the most vulnerable you’ve allowed yourself to be when writing/making music?
I’d say I’m pretty vulnerable all the time. That’s how I get the best songs out. However some days are gonna be more open than others. There’s some tracks on the EP that really show a vulnerable side to me, more so than the singles that I’ve put out.

What’s the best/worst experience you’ve had on stage?
The best experience was probably Reading festival. To see 7,000 people going crazy over my songs and singing the words back to me was nuts; I’ll never get over it. Never really had a “worst” experience on stage. Nothing more than sound engineers not doing their job properly and my levels being a bit messed up.

What is your favourite song to perform?
Probably ‘Sober’, we always do a cool live rendition with the remix and everyone always knows the words.

Which artist/song/album made you want to start making music?
There’s so many. If I had to pick a couple though they’d probably be; Skepta and his ‘Blacklisted’ album and Kendrick Lamar’s ‘good kid, maad city’.

What’s the meaning behind your name?
Well Owen is my actual name. But I actually come from a small parish in Cork called Killowen so I guess it’s a homage to my Irish roots as well.

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing instead?
Probably be a director for movies or music videos or something, either that or working in a wildlife preserve or like an animal shelter or something.

What’s success to you?

What moment in your life/career forced you to change direction?
To be honest I feel like I never changed direction. I always on a set path. Once I realised I wasn’t gonna be a footballer I turned my head to music cause my brother was DJing at the time. From then, I knew I wanted to do music and I was gonna find a way to do it for life somehow.

Where can people keep in touch with you?
I’m on all socials as @killowen or @killowen_. Spotify is KiLLOWEN

Photo by Simon Wheatley

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