Corey Kilgannon Shares the Intimacy Behind His Record of American Protest

Emerging indie-folk artist Corey Kilgannon has released a new record this month….. seemingly one of protest aiming to ignite conversation on issues in society. As Above, So Below is musically and lyrically crafted with Kilgannon’s signature tenderness, but the messages from the songs are far from tender. Kilgannon boldly steps up to the microphone to be blunt about the state of our world today, and what needs to change. Bringing light to harsh topics such as rape, racism, oppression, depression, and many others, Kilgannon’s honesty is refreshing…. and is striking a chord with listeners all over the country. Read our interview with Corey below and learn more about As Above, So Below.

Tell us about the album in your own words. What went into the inspiration, creation, and fulfillment of these songs? Why is this album important to you? 

The album summarizes several years of deconstructing what I believed about the world, and marks a turning point towards speaking towards things I do believe. Wether that be my own journey with depression, or just kind of the existential pondering about our world, I’ve come to see things with less duality and more hope. Many of the songs started from exploring consciousness via marijuana/psylocibin/meditation and realizing truly how little we know about the universe. It was also the most fun to make so far, and several friends played enormous roles in bringing the songs to life. I’ve been very inspired by the music of the 60s, and how directly it could comment on what was going on in the world. We seem to be at a similar moral/intellectual crossroads with so many massive issues we’ve drawn hard lines on, the album is meaningful to me because I feel like through it I found a way to exist in this world peacefully and wrestle with the questions in a meaningful way. 

‘As Above, So Below’ touches on a lot of topics in society today. If you had to wrap it all up into one underlying message what would it be? 

I mean, I think it’s simply that “you don’t have to think everything that you’re told”. We are all intimately familiar with how difficult it is to sift through the information we are bombarded with and find truth, but I do believe by making peace with ourselves we can begin to see the world through much clearer and humble lenses. 

Your music has a history of touching on difficult subjects and bringing them to light in an intimate, vulnerable way. This album obviously does the same…. which song was the most vulnerable for you as an artist? 

The most vulnerable one was definitely “Ashamed”. I got engaged last year, and in the process of getting to know my love we’ve had to have a lot of hard conversations about our pasts, including her experience with sexual assault. It’s an ongoing conversation and battle within ourselves to heal from those experiences, but to also acknowledge the depth of the hurt and anger it causes. I think it’s the first time I was really able to experience that level of intimacy with someone else’s grief, and it truly leveled me. I’m learning so much about forgiveness through it. 

What’s your favorite song on the album? 

That changes all the time but I think I’d say “Fishing Feminist” right now. It just came from such a pure place for me, and recording it was the smoothest of all the songs. It encaptures both the driving pressure I feel to speak out about the issues plaguing our world, but also the peace I’ve found with allowing it to unfold at its own pace. The hidden track was also one of the most fun nights of recording in memory. It was basically just a little party with a bunch of friends (who didn’t all know each other) and we got weird and political and conversational. It was beautiful! 

Favorite lyric in the album? 

See through my projections, put to death my ego. Kiss me with 10,000 years of patience in your mouth, The time to set things right is running out “

You’re currently touring the States sharing these songs…. what has the experience been like to interact and share these stories and words with fans in person? 

As I write this we’re really just getting started but it’s already been such an amazing experience. We are focused on primarily house shows for this tour, and hoping to create safe places to contemplate these issues and talk to each other about our perspectives. So far we’ve had silent meditation, yoga breaks, cheese boards and donuts, lots of laughs, and some incredibly deep moments. It feels like the album is just beginning it’s life as a conversation catalyst and I hope it inspires more people to interact with the world. 

How has this album shaped you as an artist? 

I learned, despite the gravity of the subject matter, to not take things too seriously. I’ve had a tight grip on life for years, and very specific goals with music that are all kind of washing away. I learned that as a human being, apart from all my music and emotion and artistry, that I am allowed to be here. I feel confident about what I have to say for probably the first time in my life, and also more free to walk away from the whole thing and just be myself. 

What’s in store for fans next? 

Honestly, no idea! I’ve got tons of more upbeat/joyful music and I’m looking to take some time to really figure out how to bring that kind of music to life. Definitely more albums and more house show tours 🙂 

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