Indie pop artist STRUAN released his single “Better” today, which flaunts a youthful, new wave sound that is similar to that of rising groups such as LANY. We had the opportunity to ask STRUAN about his unique writing process and the artists that inspire him most.
When did you know you wanted to pursue music as a career?
I used to think I wanted to be in the Army (my dad and older brothers are all Army guys) but I realized I’m too soft for that. I started daydreaming about doing music when I was a little kid listening to the Beatles and the Everly Brothers. I knew for sure I was going to do music when I was in 8th grade playing in my first band. One of those guys is still in music in LA and we wrote one of the later singles for this project.
What music inspired you when you were growing up?
I grew up on The Everly Brothers, Frankie Valli, Elton John, the Beatles. Later it was Tom Petty, The Cure, Fleetwood Mac, U2, and Coldplay.
Why did you decide to trade in your iPhone for a flip phone? How did this change your everyday life and your creative process?
It was something I’d joked about for awhile. My iPhone broke about a year ago and my immediate response was to go get a new iPhone that night. I remember standing in the apple store and just feeling that I was missing an opportunity to really experience life more fully in a way I hadn’t since high school—that is to be present, introspective, rather than always outwardly focused through the internet. Everyone told me it was a bad idea except my friend, Nate. I think smartphones are super useful tools for most people, but I have an incredibly addictive personality so it was good to go off the grid. I ended up buying the iPhone, then returning it two weeks later. I had about 150 unread texts and I was like, “you don’t deserve an iPhone”. So I went to the at&t store and bought a flip phone for $40.
As far as everyday life—I literally carried around a little notepad that I wrote directions on like it was 1945. I think I was much more present—a lot of sitting around watching my friends watch their phones. Creatively, I think it helped immensely because it really shrunk my world—I wasn’t worried about what everyone else was doing and was more focused on what inspired me. I had a lot more time to just think and I think a lot of ideas came from that.
How did the music writing process differ between when you were in Nashville and in London?
I think being in London was just super inspiring because it was new. I would just put on my headphones and walk around for hours or ride the tube. I was also all over the UK for a few weeks visiting friends and relatives so I would journal or make a track on the train. When I was in an actual cowrite I would have a lot of ideas to bring to the table just due to all of that inspiration and the fact that I had a thing with a girl in America that was in the process of ending haha.
Nashville is great. It’s where I wrote “Better”. I’m pretty addicted to change, so I tend to hate the mundane, but being in London made me really appreciate Nashville and the great and talented friends I have here. LA was similar to London inspiration wise, and because I didn’t know anyone I could really focus on my sessions.
What was the inspiration behind your new single, “Better”?
I had just started dating my girlfriend and was super jealous about other guys, but rather than expressing to her that, like a psycho I told my friend Kella about it and we wrote “Better”. It was basically like, “yeah, you can go, but if you do you’ll regret it”. It’s my “You Got Lucky” by Tom Petty.
What is the biggest roadblock you face as an artist?
I’m the biggest over-thinker. Next level. I have clinical OCD and am medicated haha.
What do you do when you’re not working on your music?
Overthink. I’m also working on my sport pilot license. I’ve always been fascinated with aviation and I needed a new hobby outside of music. I read a lot too—I was an English lit major and that’s always been a bit of an escape for me.
Who are some of your favorite artists at the moment?
As far as current artists go I love Lauv, The Band Camino, and Julia Michaels just to name a few. All time I’d have to say The Killers, U2, Tom Petty, The Cure.
What would be the dream festival lineup for you to play on?
Oh wow. I’m just gonna assume dead or alive are fair game. Queen, U2, The Killers, The Cure, One Direction, Lauv.
What is your favorite lyric from any of your songs?
“You’re not gonna fix me” or “you used to smoke in high school”—just cause that one was true about the girl I wrote this song about and I love it as an opening line.
Who is your favorite producer/DJ you have worked with?
Producer(s) are JohnLuke Lewis and Austin Cannon who co-produced this whole project. DJ is Pete Kingsman who I did a feature called “Someone” with.
What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
I don’t even listen to their music really, but Twenty-One Pilots BLEW my mind. It was a literal magic show. Them or U2 on the Vertigo Tour.
If you could meet any artist (dead or alive), who would it be?
Do you have any show dates set right now?
No, but very soon.
What can fans expect from you in the future?
More singles! I’ve got several I’m super excited about that I’ll be releasing now and in the New year. And shows! One of the main goals of this project was to write songs that would be fun to play live, so now I plan to play a lot.
Check out STRUAN’s new single “Better” now on all streaming services!