Stand Atlantic interview – F.E.A.R. and musical therapy

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After the massive success of their debut album, Skinny DippingStand Atlantic was set. They had written an album they were proud of called Pink Elephant, booked a sold-out headline world tour, and they had plans. Then it all went to shit. 2020 hit everyone hard, but for the Australian four-piece, the prospect of putting out an album without being able to sing along with fans and feel the reaction to the songs was an anti-climactic let-down.

Although Pink Elephant was their most successful album to date, charting on the Billboard Top 100 and UK Top 200 Albums for the first time, gracing the cover of Rock Sound magazine and winning “Best Breakthrough Artist” at the Rock Sound Awards, and seeing single “Blurry” hit #1 Most Played song on triple J Australian radio, the band faced the inevitable reality of the pandemic. They had to postpone, reschedule, and ultimately cancel, every tour over the next 2 years. 

“My heart stopped,” singer Bonnie Fraser tells me. “It was weird because I live in Manchester with my partner, but all the band and everyone is still in Australia. So I don’t know how the fuck I finangled my way to be able to go back and forth throughout the two years but I would have to spend like six months in each place at a time and that was really hard, especially when I was in Australia. I went back specifically to do this record and write it and everything. And then as soon as I got there, everything shut down. We had a tour as well and everything got shut down again. So I was just like, I literally can’t catch a break here. This is ridiculous. So I was just living in my mom’s basement for like six months and it was fucking hard. Like, I couldn’t see my partner and I just felt so frustrated at everything. And it was a very hard time, I went to therapy and shit. I know a lot of people had it way worse than I did, but for me it was just like, my whole life felt like it was taken away and I couldn’t do anything about it. So finally when we did get to write like this record, I was like still so angry at everything. So that’s why the record is super aggressive in a sense of like the general feeling of it is just angst without sounding like a teenage brat. So that was my experience. It fucking sucked.”

The band said “fuck it” to waiting for touring to come back, and ran back into the studio to record their new album, F.E.A.R. (which stands for Fuck Everything And Run). I ask Bonnie if making the album was also some kind of therapy.

“I don’t know about the whole band, but I do definitely think the morale shifted once we had a bunch of songs we were like really happy with and I think it finally felt like we were able to do stuff, even if they weren’t a hundred percent involved in the process of writing it and everything. It’s just nice to know that the cogs are still moving. But yeah, because in Australia, like the laws were like, you can’t go and see anyone or anything like that. And I’m talking literally last year, it was like that. So everything was locked down in Australia, so we weren’t even sure if I could go to write this record in person and I’d already done so many Zoom sessions with people and I was so sick of it, man. Like, that’s crap. I say that, but pity party was written over Zoom so I can’t hate on it too much, but there’s nothing that beats just being in a room with someone. Same way with live music, there’s nothing that beats like actually playing in front of a crowd. You can look at numbers all day on your phone and it doesn’t mean shit until you like go out and do it. So me and Stevie Knight who we’ve done every record with so far, me and him just locked ourselves in his apartment for like seven weeks and we wrote and recorded everything. The guys came in to track their parts, obviously like towards the end. But we were going mental and it was awesome. And it was the first time I felt like I’m actually living for a reason if that makes any sense without sounding too dark. And yeah, it was great. So finally being able to like, get all the emotions out and stuff into songs, which is something I’ve done my whole life anyway because I didn’t really talk about my feelings. So the only way I express them is through writing. And that was super therapeutic for me. And I felt a lot better once A, I had gotten all that shit off my chest and B, we’d finally got something that was like really good and we were really excited about.

Opening with “Doomsday,” a song that Fraser admits starts F.E.A.R. off perfectly with the introduction of the absolute chaos that her psyche was going through and starts the haphazard journey of a very unromantic existence. “If you think I am a creative or a visionary, I am not.” Fraser asserts, “I refuse to be immortalized as anything other than a collection of erratic, irrational, and oxygen-starved emotions I wrote on a page just to be able to breathe.” This self-awareness and disdain for false pretenses and sugar-coating are prevalent throughout, ultimately showcased in the sing-a-long anthem, “pity party” featuring Royal & The Serpent. Bonnie and Royal & The Serpent’s vocals complement each other, yet contrast to form two distinct sounds. This juxtaposition surfaces throughout, further showcasing that life doesn’t make sense and doesn’t always piece together into a life romantic from start to finish. 

Stand Atlantic are finally back out in the world playing in front of sold-out crowds and will be Fairmount Theatre in Montreal on June 14. GET TICKETS HERE

During our conversation, Bonnie also tells us about her dream to bring her dad onstage with them one day to do a guitar solo and why Stand Atlantic shows are all about the crowd.

Watch the full interview below:

F.E.A.R. is out now!

Interview – Steve Gerrard

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