Kaylan - May 2000

This month GIRL.COM.AU features one of the hottest R&B groups to burst onto the Australian music scene - KAYLAN. The current release of their debut single "Rock Me All Night" has seen them on a non-stop promotional tour around Australia and if enthusiasm, personality and amazing talent count for anything these days, then Kaylan are destined for worldwide success.

GIRL.COM.AU caught up with Kaylan (brothers Dennis and Darren) and got the low-down on music, life and yes you guessed it - love.

Girl: Firstly, thanks for joining us guys and congratulations on your debut single "Rock Me All Night". Now at what age did you start taking an interest in music?

Dennis: When I was five minutes old! (laughs) We grew up in a very musical family. Every Sunday we would gather at our grandparents place, and play music and sing together. So music has always been a big part of our lives.

Girl: Have you had any formal music training?

Dennis: We have had a little formal training.

Darren: When we were younger our father enrolled us in guitar and keyboard lessons but it wasn't our thing.

Dennis: Yeah, we actually got kicked out! (laughs) We used to fake the reading part, and play instruments by ear, but they caught onto our tricks after a year!

Girl: Who was responsible for giving you a break into the music industry?

Dennis: I'd have to say we were. We used to live in Melbourne and were telling our friends for years that we wanted to take music seriously and that we were going to get a record deal. They were like "Yeah sure guys" and we were saying, "No we're serious, we're going to go to Sydney to land us a record deal". And we did, we jumped on a plane and moved to Sydney.

Girl: What has been the reaction from your friends now?

Darren: "We can't believe you guys did it!!"

Girl: Have your friends changed towards you?

Dennis: No they haven't, they have been really supportive.

Girl: What was your first professional gig?

Dennis: In 1991, we went on tour with Dannii Minogue as her choreographers and dancers. That gig was a lot of fun.

Girl: Is it important to you guys, to write your own music?

Darren: It's very important; we take that as a first priority. When we were recording the album and deciding what would be included, one of the Rockmelons went over to the States to look for songs written by other writers. He came back with a hand full of songs but we felt that they weren't us. So the Rockmelons said, "show us what you want". We spent a year and a half writing songs for the album, so we take that side of things really seriously; it's what we want to get into.

Dennis: We have also written two songs for the popstars Bardot, which will be on their album. We really want to concentrate on writing and producing other acts too.

Girl: When writing lyrics, what do you draw upon for inspiration?

Dennis: Anything really, experiences and people that you meet.

Girl: Who have been your major musical influences?

Darren: Definitely Stevie Wonder because that is what you call an all-rounder.

Dennis: Also, Al Green, we like old school guys and Motown.

Girl: Now, as you previously mentioned, the Rockmelons produced your debut single "Rock Me All Night", which is a really cool track. What was it like collaborating with them?

Dennis: It was fantastic. As soon as we met the guys, we instantly hit it off.

Darren: Yeah, they're cool. And rather than us writing a song and giving it to them to fix up, they really worked with us. If there was anything that needed to be fixed on a song, they'd give it to us and we'd take it home and work on it ourselves. So it was great of them to let us have that option.

Dennis: Yeah it was a really great partnership. And even now that the album is finished, we're still involved in production with them. There is mutual respect between us, they don't just treat us as an act or a band, and so we've established a really good relationship with those guys.

Girl: Has the response to "Rock Me All Night" been positive so far?

Dennis: It's been very positive and it's all happening very quickly. We've been playing it live and we've had a really good reaction from everybody, so we're pretty happy.

Girl: Describe the sound of your up-coming debut album.

Darren: Diverse, it's very diverse. We don't stick to the generic R&B sound, we are an R&B outfit vocally but we branch off into other areas like blues, and even country. But the album does have continuity, as our vocals are very R&B.

Girl: When can we expect the release of your debut album?

Dennis: The album will be released in a couple of months.

Girl: And what will the album be called?

Dennis: No Commandments.

Girl: No Commandments? Is there any particular reason for this title?

Darren: At the time of writing the album, we weren't living by any! (laughs)

Girl: Now, you have both been described as gifted vocalists, musicians, songwriters and dancers - is there anything you haven't tried your hand at?

Dennis: Juggling! (laughs) No, it's good being able to walk into a room and pick up a guitar and play, or jump onto stage and perform.

Darren: We can put acting under that belt too. We have got parts in the film 'Moulin Rouge' starring Nicole Kidman and Ewen McGregor.

Dennis: We just love the whole aspect of entertainment. When you look back to the days of Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, to be an act meant you had to be able to sing, dance, act and play a musical instrument. And that is what we believe in, that is what entertainment is.

Girl: What are Kaylan's plans for the immediate future?

Dennis: To get a night off and maybe go back home! (laughs) No, we'd like to continue song writing, producing other acts, finding other acts that we can develop and eventually setting up our own record label.

Girl: The last month has seen you off on a promotional tour around Australia. Do you have any more promotional appearances planned?

Dennis: We're performing with Human Nature at the moment.

Darren: And in a month's time, once the single has well and truly kicked in, I think we're going to go out on tour again with a live band.

Girl: What famous person would you most like to meet and why?

Dennis: Berry Gordy, he discovered Motown. He brought together all these ghetto guys, cleaned them up, and gave them a sound and a look. He discovered the Supremes, wrote the songs for the Supremes and got them performing in front of white audiences - he crossed them over to a white audience on a global level. He had such vision.

Girl: And Darren?

Darren: I'd have to say Prince, as he is a mastermind, a complete legend and definitely eccentric.

Girl: Australian artists to date haven't really been successful in producing a good R&B sound. Why do you think that has been the case?

Dennis: I believe they've got the talent but perhaps don't have the vision. When we put together our album, we wanted to compete on an international level. And that is what the other acts were lacking. They just wanted to get their material out to the public. All up, it has taken us three and a half years to get to the level we're at now.

Girl: What was it like performing on Molly's "House of Hits"?

Darren: The "House of Hits" was a funny experience as we had all these fans running down the corridor into our dressing room. We had a lot of fun performing on that show.

Dennis: Yeah we just love performing, we love getting out there, it's a buzz.

Girl: What can an audience expect to see at a Kaylan performance?

Darren: They can expect to never see the same show twice.

Dennis: We never rehearse our shows; we just go out there and do whatever we feel like doing. At one recent performance, we played the guitar, then we sang a ballad and we were on this tiny little stage. No one in the audience thought that Darren was going to do a flip, but he managed to flip on this tiny little stage. And everyone was like "How did he manage to do that?"

Girl: Darren, has it become your trademark now?

Darren: Yeah I guess it has.

Dennis: We actually went to the Bardot launch in Sydney and Darren did a flip on the red carpet in front of the media line up.

Girl: So is Darren the spontaneous one of the group?

Dennis: You could say that.

Darren: Or crazy, I'm pretty crazy!!

Girl: When you guys aren't performing as Kaylan, what do you like to do?

Darren: Dennis wants to be in a rock band! (laughs)

Dennis: I do, I do! I want to be a rock star! (laughs) No really, in our spare time we like to go out with friends and just party. We love socialising and talking to people.

Girl: Dennis, being the older brother, do you get to boss Darren around?

Dennis: No, not at all. We work together so there is a mutual respect. We get along extremely well and sort of lose the idea that we're brothers.

Girl: And lastly, for all the girls out there, we have to ask, are you guys single?

Darren: Yes we are, but that is one of the sacrifices you have to make because you're spending so much time on the road. It is hard to have a relationship unless you find someone who is really understanding.

Dennis: I just can't get anyone to like me enough! (jokes)

Girl: Dennis, is there something you're not telling us?

Dennis: No comment! (laughs)

- Annemarie Failla


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