Gilmour discusses the message behind ‘Dead In Winter’ and what’s next…

Gilmour, the solo project of Frazer Cassling (FlatlineBathtub) recently released its first EP Dead In Winter (read our review here). We sat down to talk to Frazer about what motivated the new project, how the EP was written and dug into some of the core themes involved.

You’re in some other projects currently, what made you decide to run a solo project too?
A lot of the bands I’m in are mostly hardcore bands like Flatline. I wanted to do something with a bit more soft vocals. Bathtub is still pop punk but it’s on the harsher side of it. The lyrics that I write for Bathtub are more metaphorical. They’re about situations but loosely. The lyrics are a lot more distant, not as personal. I wanted to do something which was a bit more honest and personal, which is what Gilmour is. Also, I watched a lot of my friends doing acoustic stuff and it inspired me to doing something similar. Putting my take on the acoustic genre!

Are you happy with the finished product of Dead In Winter?
Yeah I’m really proud of Dead In Winter, I’ve been listening to it non-stop since I got the files. I love it!

Have you got any plans for putting it out physically?
As it stands at the moment I’m just going to be putting it onto Bandcamp, maybe Spotify and iTunes. I don’t think I’ll release it physically. For future releases I’ll probably try and get them out, but I’ve never really done well with CDs in my other bands. I think I’ll leave it for now, unless somebody wants to make cassettes for me!

How did you go about writing the EP, was it a natural process?
It was all completely natural. I’d come up with a few sets of chords and pretty much instantly I’d think up the melodies for them. Usually I’d get a chorus first, then start working on the verses, how it ended, then start adjusting the guitar parts to make it a bit more interesting to listen to. I pretty much wrote it in a few weeks then changed little parts of the guitar and lyrics.

Did the material for Gilmour change much in the studio or was it set in stone?
It was completely set in stone. I didn’t really change anything once we got there. I’d already written all the lyrics and guitar parts. I changed a bit of the way a few things were sang and obviously Luke [Rainsford] was there helping me out, saying “Try singing this part that way”, and generally swapping a few things around to see how they sounded. The songs on my demos sound very much the same as my final product.

There are lots of themes of location versus holiday location, where did that come from?
The whole EP is about finding a place in your memory you felt content with. A happy place, kind of like a safe space where you go to if things are happening in life you’re not too happy with. I go off in my mind to somewhere I felt happy and content, which is on a holiday I was on. I wrote a juxtaposition between the winter and how I felt not too long ago when it was summery and I was on holiday. Just relaxed. That’s what that theme is.

If you could, is there anything you’d want people to take from Dead In Winter?
Being honest and speaking about things. You don’t necessarily have to be a musician but you should be honest and talk about things. There’s a lot of stuff on there I’ve never really spoken to anyone about. Me being sad about stuff, which is probably a bad thing. The message is you should speak to people about how you’re feeling.

Do you have a personal favourite track on the EP?
My favourite song on there is Pine Over, I love the chorus. It was one of the first things that came to me for the EP, and it’s one of my favourite parts of the EP.

What do you plan for Gilmour in the coming months?
I’ve started writing again, I’ve written a few songs and I’ve got a lot of ideas so I’ll keep working on them. Hopefully recording a split EP in July with someone, I’m not sure I can say who yet! I’ll probably release another EP before then with the amount of songs I’m writing. I want to do a split with everybody, I love split EPs!

Would you have any goals going into writing a new EP?
I don’t want it to be exactly the same as Dead In Winter. I want to keep the catchy vibe of it but hopefully write some more songs which are chorus heavy. I feel like Pine Over and In Your Absence have some of my favourite choruses I’ve ever written, but the other songs don’t really have a chorus. I’d like to write more songs which have quite heavy singalong choruses. Maybe some longer songs as well, as they’re all quite short.

Were you influenced by any specific artists for Gilmour?
Probably the same people that have influenced me for all my other projects. I’ve been listening to a lot of Little Brother and a lot of Trophy Eyes. It’s the same singer [John Floreani], it’s really solid music. I really like Citizen, and I’m really liking acoustic stuff at the moment. Anything that’s chill. Joyce Manor as well, a big influence for the EP.

Are you planning on playing some live dates?
I’m hoping to get some gigs together, though I’ve not been offered too much yet. I’m hopefully going on a weekender in June with my friends in Crime and Punishment. They’re a grime group, but it can work!

Gilmour – Dead In Winter [EP]

Gilmour is a solo, emo-influenced acoustic project rooted in the UK’s west-midlands with Frazer Cassling at the helm. After dropping the first single In Your Absence, the EP Dead In Winter followed barely twenty-four hours later.

Opening with its title track, Dead In Winter foregrounds itself as a downbeat, intimate set of songs. The first track documents a wilful desire for the summer, and being anywhere but here. Frazer throws out some harsh vocals in contrast to the melodic pattern that fills most of the EP.

Pine Over begins with another strummed pattern. The themes of absenteeism continue here, with a want for holiday freedom. Some layered vocals allow the track to sidestep the two-dimensional nature of much acoustic music, lending an appreciated sense of dynamism to Gilmour’s music. Pine Over includes some vocals from Luke Rainsford which provide even more contrast.

The middle track of Dead In Winter is Hey. It’s a slower offering than some of the others, invoking an open-letter style. “Hey, I hope you’re sleeping fine. I don’t want to die tonight” is repeated, etching into reality. Frazer’s clear vocals portray his emotion effectively, rendering a poignant EP.

Lead single In Your Absence is one of Dead In Winter’s standout tracks. It’s nostalgic without detracting from the ongoing sense of displacement. Standing as one of the most personal songs on the EP, it’s a window into a past life.

Finally, Palm Trees is an ode to Gilmour’s home and name-sake. A dichotomy between death and idyllic palm trees by the sea is a thought provoking scene. A sombre finish to a thoughtful EP.

Dead In Winter is an enjoyable introduction to Gilmour. Whilst it doesn’t break the boundaries of acoustic emo, it fills the walls of its five-song breadth with a wealth of emotion. Further, the effort put into making the EP more dynamic has not gone to waste. Take your time, listen through, relish in the vacation imagery and take in the emotional landscape of Dead In Winter.