interview music

Interview with Kelly Jay Roberts

Through the Void is a new EP from Kelly Jay Roberts.

Perfect time to ask him a few questions about those wonderful tracks.

Check out the interview!


Headphones For Robots: Who is Kelly Jay Roberts? Where do you come from? Where do you live?

Kelly Jay Roberts: I’m a musician & songwriter from Anchorage Alaska. I was born and raised in Alaska and never found my way out. It’s a really interesting place and provides an inspiring environment for creativity.  

HFR: How did you start making music? Could you tell us a bit about your influences? 

KJR: I started playing instruments when I was maybe 8 to 9 years old with the saxophone. Shortly thereafter, I picked up the guitar and bass. I always enjoyed playing the drums too though I’m not particularly good at it. I was introduced to hard rock and metal at an early age by my parents and it’s sort of stuck with me though my tastes have mellowed over the years. In college, I got my hands on one of the original versions of Fruity Loops and discovered the world of electronica. I had great fun programing trance styled techno songs but it wasn’t serious. At the time, I had a vision of mixing guitar based rock music with electronica but it wasn’t until the last five to six years that I decided to do something about it. Around the same time, I really got into reading science fiction opera’s and that’s been primary source of inspiration for me. The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons and the Commonwealth Saga by Peter Hamilton are absolutely fantastic reads.

HFR: You have just released Through the Void, a 4 tracks EP. You ‘ve qualified the music as a “electronic dark synth rock spacey retro sci-fi adventure”. What should someone who listen to you for the first time should expect?

KJR: I try to create vibrant and intriguing worlds with my songs that transport the listener on an adventure to another place. Sometimes it’s nice to take a mental break from this world to imagine another.

HFR: Where does the melancholy of your music come from?

KJR: A lot of it is probably environmental. In Alaska, it’s dark and cold for long periods of time and the winter is when I tend to do a bulk of my writing. It’s beautiful but it can also be tough on mental health and this certainly makes its way into my craft. Sometimes this world is a lonely place and that’s probably part of it. Also, writing in a minor key just feels right to me.

HFR: Could you tell us a bit about your “go to” equipment? What do you use when writing a song and which are your favorite instruments? Do you prefer Software or Hardware ?

KJR: I’ve got a hybrid studio setup with some pretty decent hardware (Retro2a3 EQ, LA3/1176/Obsidian Comps which are mostly used for vocals, bass and mixbus duties…). My preference is hardware for the sound quality and tactile enjoyment but the convenience of software especially when my kids are trying to sleep takes precedent (often it’s the only time I get in the studio). Software can sound really good too and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. For drums, I trigger Superior Drummer with an Alesis DM10 kit. I could probably just program the drums but I’d miss out on the joy of playing. A large majority of my synth work is with Alchemy which is awesome but I can really see moving into hardware synths as the next evolution of my studio and sound. I’ve got my eye on a Moog One and an OB-6… My Fender Strat will probably always find a spot somewhere in my music though it’s been taking a back seat as of late.

HFR: Will you play some music live? Do you have other projects?

KJR: Many years ago I played both guitar and bass live and while it could be fun at times, I don’t really have any interest in it now. I won’t say no to playing live again but at this point, it’s just me in a studio writing and I’m really enjoying it. KJR is the only project I’ve got going on and I’ll probably keep it that way for now as it’s fun and a great challenge to write, perform and record all the instruments myself.


HFR: Last words?

KJR: Thanks to Headphones For Robots for featuring my music and if you like it, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… whatever you prefer. I really appreciate your support and thanks for listening


Support Kelly Jay Roberts


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