Rilan – songwriter, Pop singer, and Glee Alumni dancer - is releasing his new single “Love or Drugs” today (March 22) and on April 2nd he will release its music video, where I make a Cameo.
“Making fun of Hollywood and all the things that we basically experience here (in Hollywood)”, Rilan said about his new song in my exclusive interview.
“Think about it why do we go to the club? We go out to either get fucked or get fucked up, we go out because we don’t really have real connections with people, not everyone is going to dinners having a good time and actually having a conversation, they are just trying to get involved in something where they will feel something because they are numb inside so basically I am making fun of that because when I came to Hollywood I was like, “This is great, I am the misfit artsy kid I am gonna fit in here”, I didn’t fit in here at all, because it’s very scene related, there is entertainment but there is also the nightlife scene and who is cool on Instagram, and how that influences everything, so just making fun of all those cool kids and parties that I have never been to and thought they would look like.”
He continues: “I always grow up in a theater kid, super theatrical, everything that had to do with performance all the artist that I admired were David Bowie, Prince and Madonna, all that glam pop, and when I came here in 2014 that was not cool here it was very much about a vibe, Lorde had just broken out, so was very minimum, music was very cool, wasn’t about going out there with dancers and performing and showing people what you got, it was more settle, on the background and that’s kind of what’s everyone else dress and acted and I am not like that at all, I mean look at me I look like George Michael went to space. Basically I didn’t fit at all and I am not that type of a person that’s gonna go out and make a scene, I kind of make a scene on stage and that’s where I belong as oppose to getting on the dance floor and getting in debauchery or not, so when I came out here trying to make friends and basically get discovered in the music industry I was very shy and very put off by the scene the only way I knew how to talk about it was to make fun of it.”
He explained to us the lyrics: “The chorus is “I want your love, love, love, drugs, drugs, drugs, give me what you wanna give me I just want your love or drugs, whatever is better for me”, so it’s basically that time of the night when the lights goes on in the club and everyone is looking around, they are either who I am leaving with what I am getting to make this night make sense and have a good time because I don’t feel anything inside, when people are down they tend to try to find someone or something that’s going to make them feel better but they should look inside and deal with other things instead of coping with a problem. It’s a pop song but at the same time dies into some real problems that people have we are addicted to love and we are addicted to drugs and they are very similar.”
Rilan is always working in his cool studio in Hollywood, he said: “The music I have been writing around this time has been about not fitting in Hollywood and that kind of relationship I have with myself and other people and what I am seeing. So, this was just me saying, when people were telling me to write relatable music that people were like I was like, I think the most relatable thing I can do is be myself. People will see through a fake so this me making fun of what pop music is nowadays because it seems like it is very girls and fast cars and money and drugs and that’s what’s cool. So, I am not really in that world, at least not yet. Like I can’t really afford that lifestyle so I figured I would just make fun of it. And have this give a metaphor as to what it’s like to be alone here and kind of poke fun at all the cool kids cause I think that’s what’s pop music is supposed to be.”
“I’m from New Orleans, Louisiana so the most haunted city in the continental US. Just so you know which probably explains why I am so creepy and weird. Self-deprecating too. I have been here five years. I mean like my parents are super cool. I am sure they had a heart attack when I pulled out of college in Nashville after three months and then just moved here. They have been supportive, but it was definitely a thing where my parents were like, “Oh great so you’ll go there (LA) and you’ll succeed within a year and everything will be fine, right?” And I was like Oh yeah totally, it will happen super-fast. No, it is so slow and it is hard. And it is you know that kind of mentality certainly doesn’t help when you are involved in debauchery. You know like night life and what not. So, that’s kind of what I have seen, is seeing people who have been my friends who are artists that come on here with a dream and then kind of get lost in the scene. Making fun of it is my way of kind of staying out of it, you know.”
We also talked about the upcoming music video where he tells us about a scene with gas masks and smoke: “There are some parts that represent the different activity that kind of happens at parties and what I imagine happening when I’m not there. The gas masks are pretty much the weed smoking scene where everyone is kind of connected to each other instead of a bong or whatnot. So, it’s basically saying how we are trying to connect to people but we actually can’t cause you can’t see their faces but everything is connected with black tubing so it is kind of like a metaphor for sin and trying to fit in when actually you are not showing your real self. We got a little weird and artsy.”
And about the scenes under the water, he said: “When I hear the song and when I wrote the lyrics, I was thinking of this fantasy version of drugs and like being high and all that kind of stuff and I think LSD and I think mind-altering substances, freeing you are outside of your body so the best way for me to represent I think was being in the water where everything is flowing around you and you feel like you are not one with gravity. So that really became the focus of the video when I met with Nick Alexander and Collier Landry helped me direct the video. They were like I think we need even more water scenes. I was like, “Oh that’s awesome” and then we know that was possible to get your camera under the water, but it was great. It was 40 degrees outside and it was cold. I think it really is something interesting because I haven’t really seen so much of that in a video.”
Besides his father, Michael Roppolo, who manages his day to day, Rilan is working with new producers ad co-managers: “This year I’m working with Randy Jackson, “yo dog”. He’s a fellow Louisianan. He’s from Baton Rouge, the capital which is like an hour away from New Orleans. But we have talked about some of the same people that we know from there. It’s so crazy. It’s a smaller big city you know. He’s super cool. He’s helping me and he is such a great guy. He is super connected but also understands music so it’s great to work with somebody like that and I’ve been working with a plethora of producers and my co-writers. I still work with Naz Tokio, who I did my single with three years ago, “Blindfolds”. And then my other co-writer, Krysta Youngs. She is awesome. She is basically the other me. There is another girl running around that looks basically the same as me just she, but she dresses like a unicorn.”
“Warner label signed “Love or Drugs” my new single, so they are going to be pushing that out in Scandinavia - Norway, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark. So, look for my face over there if you are over there.”
“I can only really write about what I have experienced or what I witness, so a lot of the songs are from my perspective of basically I always feel like a misfit in the city of cool kids. Which I feel like everyone can kind of relate to. I mean anyone who says that high school is the best time of their life peaked in high school. Like definitely. They are not living a life anymore. You know what I mean? They are probably like…”
And we both agreed that High School wasn’t fun: “Oh awful, horrible, terrible. I guarantee you there are people I know who even I went to high school with they are like “That was the best time of my life.” And I was like this is sad. But I still kind of carry that with me of being that like freak. So, it is about not fitting in and they are tongue in cheek because I think that satire is a lost art form now and I super sarcastic and I think that is something that is missing in pop music, along with mystery. So, they are definitely pop but they are definitely theatrical. There is a lot of influence from Queen and Prince and I guess there is a little Gaga in there too. Kind of the people that I grew up loving. But I have a song about wishing that I had a billionaire lover so that I could afford doing all the things that people do here. I have a song about basically just wanting to stay home when everybody else is out and having a good time doing that. I have a song called, “I feel Nothing” which is just about people that wear you down to the bone and you are just done with them, but at the same time while it is dark-themed it is all pop music so you can dance to it and you can have a good time and then when you go home later you can just cry about the lyrics.”