Dylan Fraser talks through The Storm
Dylan Fraser is a rising star within the music world. Having first gained recognition from posting covers on Instagram, the 19-year-old Scottish musician is now about to release his first EP, The Storm. Fraser’s debut is an experimental commentary on the anxieties of the modern world, whilst yearning for the simpler days of his childhood. To better understand the impressive mind behind the music, we sat down with Dylan to discuss his musical inspirations, struggles with mental health, and what it’s like to release music during lockdown.
It’s been a crazy year so far! How have you coped during lockdown?
For me, it was weird because I had just signed a record deal and then we went straight into lockdown. When you sign a record deal, you think, “F****** hell! This is the coolest thing ever,” but then suddenly I was back to sitting in my bedroom in Scotland and it felt very underwhelming. However, saying that, I had a lot of time to just sit with my own thoughts and, fortunately, it’s been quite a creative time for me.
That’s interesting. So do you feel as if you’ve missed out on the experience of working in a studio?
To be honest, I’m not too sure if I’ve missed out or whether was a blessing but, either way, it’s been good! I’ve had the luxury of letting things breathe, planning everything, and making sure that what I’m releasing is exactly how I want it to be.
Before signing your record deal, you used to post covers on Instagram. What was that journey like for you?
It was definitely a long-winded process. I started posting covers in 2014 on Instagram and started networking on there. As a result, a management company reached out to me. I started working with them, but things didn’t work out. From there, I went to college and started my own social media company, where I was running meme pages on Instagram, and I started to sell advertising space to companies – that’s how I made my money. I then invested it back into my music and, after some time, labels and publishers started reaching out.
You’re clearly someone who knows what they want. Is creative control something that is important to you?
I’m a Virgo, so I’m a control freak with everything! I don’t need someone to tell me what to do, as all the ideas are in my head. I just need someone to help me realise them. For me to be fulfilled as an artist, I need to have my own ideas.
Your sound is hard to define as one genre. Which artists and musicians do you admire?
My main influences are Kanye West, Lorde, and Radiohead. They’re the top three in the kind of space I want to occupy. I feel as if they’re in a space where they’re so huge, but they’re so mysterious and we don’t know much about them. With every release, we’re always thinking about what they are going to do next and that’s the sort of artist I want to be.
As a songwriter, is there a particular song you wish you had written?
That’s a hard question because there are so many, but the song I wished I had written right now is I Know The End by Phoebe Bridgers. I love that album; I’ve been rinsing it. Phoebe Bridgers makes me rethink everything about the writing process. Her writing flows so naturally and she just tells a story.
What was the inspiration behind the songs on your new EP?
The EP is called The Storm and I like to think of it as my headspace. It really defines the process of growing up, finding myself, and who I want to be as an artist. It describes the feeling of having anxiety and depression, and all the crazy feelings you experience whilst growing up. There are songs where I reminisce about being a child and not having internal stresses and worries. It’s the realisation that the world is not a perfect place.
So is music a therapeutic process for you? Do you find it helps ease your anxieties?
Definitely! I’m not the type of person who likes to talk about my feelings with other people. I find it a bit awkward and uncomfortable, so I think shutting myself in my room and writing melodies and lyrics is just easier for me. Songwriting is my release and my therapy.
Do you find it frustrating that you can’t take these songs on the road and perform them live?
It’s definitely a bummer, especially when this is my first time releasing music and it’s something I’m very proud of and I’ve really worked hard on. It would’ve been good to perform my songs in a live setting. However, having said that, I now have this time to really plan and work on something conceptual for the live shows. I want to work with the idea of The Storm and I don’t quite know how it will look yet, but I’m excited.
With this being your first time releasing music, do you have any expectations on where this is going to take you?
I’d like to say I have no expectations, but I certainly have expectations of myself. I have internal pressure on myself to always be the best version of myself. I want to be doing this when I’m 70; I don’t want this to be a one-time thing. I want this to be huge at some point, so if it takes time to build on and get more people on board with my music, then that’s cool.
Let’s imagine it’s a year from now and your fans have had the time to digest and appreciate The Storm. Where do you go from there?
I don’t want to just limit myself to music. Music is always my main thing, but I love fashion, photography, and art, and I would love to have my own clothing line at some point. I just want to keep expanding!
Dylan Fraser’s debut EP, The Storm is out now
Photography by Joupin Ghamsari
Grooming by Kara Whittaker
Styling Jheanelle Feanny
Interview by Joshua Evans
Sub Editor Primrose Jeanton