Brian Kelley (Ferocious Designs) in his home studio.

Ferocious Designs is the music project of central New Jersey-based songwriter Brian Kelley.

Although he has spent most of the past 30-plus years as a songwriting hobbyist, Kelley is not a complete stranger to the New Jersey music scene. He collaborated with singer-songwriter Christian Beach in a band during the late 1980s and early 90s that played the long-gone and much-missed Green Parrot Rock Club in Neptune, NJ, multiple times. Kelley has played keyboards, accordion and percussion in Beach’s backing band since 2007, playing a number of iconic Jersey Shore venues in the process, and has recorded with him as well. 

“I’ve been in bands and have been writing songs for over 30 years with the hope of releasing something of my own at some point,” said Kelley. “That never happened, but with the pandemic hitting in 2020 and my turning 50 in 2021, it made me realize it was finally time to get a few of my songs into a release-ready condition — or as close to it as my abilities would allow — and put out something of my own.”

Kelley said he is using the project name Ferocious Designs because it is a lyric from a Marillion song — “Cover My Eyes (Pain and Heaven) — that always stuck with him as a possible band name. Also, he read about the guy from Florida Georgia Line who has the same name — “he even spells it the same way, with the extra ‘e’ in Kelley!” — releasing a solo project this year, so he definitely did not want to be confused with that.

“The name Ferocious Designs also kind of fits my musical style, too,” said Kelley. “My material generally trends toward a synth- and drum-heavy 80s sound, and I consider my creative process more akin to song design or construction rather than traditional composing, so ‘ferocious designs’ seems an apt moniker for what I produce.”

Kelley is also a four-time marathon finisher and multi-sport enthusiast. “I’ve done a number of sprint and international distance triathlons, and was hoping to do an IRONMAN 70.3 in 2021 before everything went haywire in 2020.” He is still aiming to compete in and finish an IRONMAN 70.3 in either 2022 or ’23.