Scottish alt-pop artist Dylan Fraser opens up about his urgent and unapologetic third EP ‘2030 Revolution,’ a four-track coming-of-age reckoning with the modern era.
Stream: “2030 Revolution” – Dylan Fraser
I saw a headline that said “scientists say if we don’t change our ways by 2030, there’s no going back” and, well, that’s f-ing terrifying.
“Gonna see if it’s good to get lost in the woods; gonna hope they don’t make a human out of me,” Dylan Fraser sings in “Apartment Complex on the Eastside,” the feverish opening track off his recently released third EP. Channelling the chaos and turmoil of recent years, Fraser lends an electric energy to his escapist-laden existential crisis, inviting listeners to join together over our collective misery, uncertainty, trepidation, and cynicism as we stare down the barrel of the 2020s. Balancing a sense of helplessness with guarded optimism and hope, Fraser’s 2030 Revolution is an urgent and unapologetic four-track coming-of-age reckoning with our modern age.
Locked inside some big frustration game
And none of us are well enough to quit, to play
Face-to-face just isn’t quit the same
But both of us have plugged ourselves straight into the maze
And I wish that we could take just what we need
But instead, we like to bite the hand that feeds
But I wish that we could see it from a different, sane advice
We don’t care unless there is a fire
I guess we’re all in for a 2030 revolution
Well, there’s no point in getting upset,
my dear, we’re not gonna make it out of it
It’s past the point of any kind of resolution
You can pack your bags and try to run,
but you cannot stop what’s come undone
– “2030 Revolution,” Dylan Fraser
Released August 26, 2022 via Asylum Records UK, 2030 Revolution is a visceral alt-pop reeling through the trials of our time, perceived through the lens of an artist in the throes of his own journey of growth and self-discovery. Actively releasing music for the past two years now, 20-year-old Scottish artist Dylan Fraser has found his voice in achingly vulnerable, nuanced self-reflections and sonics that are at once irresistibly catchy and relentlessly churning. Unbridled energy, charged lyricism, and raw emotion have come to be his friends over two EPs (2020’s The Storm and 2021’s The World Isn’t Big When You Know How It Works) – and through it all, Fraser has balanced his own personal experiences with observations of the greater world at large.
“Fraser’s debut is an experimental commentary on the anxieties of the modern world, whilst yearning for the simpler days of his childhood,” Joshua Evans wrote for London-based publication Vingt Sept in late 2020, ahead of The Storm’s EP release.
The older we get, the more we feel the world crashing down on us – and the more we feel the impact of those hot-button issues that so easily consume casual conversation. It comes as no surprise that 2030 Revolution is Fraser’s most socially conscious and critical effort yet – even if it does come only two years after his debut. As Fraser comes into his own version of young adulthood, he explores topics as wide-ranging as gentrification, industrialization, climate change, and disinformation, with his own dealings with anxiety, insecurity, relationships, and self-love. In so seamlessly weaving these themes into his songs, this EP comes to truly feel like a snapshot of modern life.
”I like to look at records as an exploration of the current stage in my life,” Fraser tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s me trying to figure out the world and make sense of it as much as I can, whilst also driving myself crazy in the process. Life has been insane for us all over the past few years now, and I think everyone’s had so much to think about and reflect on. This record was very much that for me.”
“I’m not sure I had an exact vision,” he says, diving deeper into the record itself. “It sort of revealed itself as I started writing it, but what I love about it is how it’s unexpected. You think you’re gonna get a nice little indie song and then things take a darker, more distorted route. Gotta keep you on your toes!”
“I think it shows different sides of me and my music, and what I can do. I never want to be pigeonholed into one thing – that’s so boring to me. I love so much music and I’m constantly discovering new artists that inspire me. Hopefully this record shows my love for merging different sonics and seeing how I can make them work together.”
2030 Revolution‘s title is an urgent cry and call to action.
“I saw a headline that said, scientists say if we don’t change our ways by 2030, there’s no going back,” Fraser recalls. “Well, that’s f-ing terrifying.”
It is with this sense of passion, drive, and raw urgency that the world of 2030 Revolution reveals itself to listeners. Fraser hits the ground running on opening track “Apartment Complex on the Eastside,” a dramatic reflection and societal commentary co-written with NYC singer/songwriter Samia. “All the time I spend talking God and institution at those family reunions, what a waste of my time,” he laments in the second verse, dwelling in his nihilism and disillusionment whilst trying to find clarity around his own purpose and place. “It’s so funny that we’re fightin’, when we all know that we’re lyin’ about things that we can never understand.” Yet “Apartment Complex on the Eastside” is not all doom and gloom; contrasting his lyrical despair is Fraser’s charismatic, larger-than-life indie rock-infused pop sound. Comparable to COIN or Troye Sivan, Fraser’s emotive vocals soar alongside rip-roaring melodies and dynamic beats.
Sure, the song’s chorus goes, “I’ll know if it hurt when I fall to the dirt, but by that point, it won’t matter anyway,” but in spite of everything, Fraser makes it a mantra worth singing at the top of our lungs. That’s a direct result of his magnetic presence and engaging personality – two qualities that hold constant throughout this fifteen-minute joyride through anguish and dread.
I don’t know what you’re looking for
I’m throwin’ meaning at the wall
Gonna see if it’s good to get lost in the woods
Gonna hope they don’t make a human out of me
And I’ll know if it hurt when I fall to the dirt
But by that point, it won’t matter anyway
We all fear the end, but it’s all we ever live for
And it seems to have me laughin’ either way
And I’m waitin’ on these things that are never gonna happen
God, I hate when they start clappin’ on the plane
2030 Revolution holds nothing back in its four songs. “It Took A Lot To Get To This” is a particularly poignant moment of truth for Fraser, finding him charting his journey while grappling with concurrent feelings of sadness, distance, and heartache. “My family wanna talk, but I’m way too tired to think,” he sings atop an increasingly tense backdrop of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. “I’m staring into space, looking down the bathroom sink. I wonder if I fell right down the plughole. Where would I go? And so, I fall…” By the time Fraser reaches the chorus, thick synth bass notes engulf the ears as he pours himself out in hushed, impassioned tones:
It took a lot to get to this place, to get to this place
So why do you break me down?
It took a lot to get to this place, to get to this place
So why do you break me
“[This] is a song about how you can put a lot of work and time to get yourself into a good headspace but little things can bring up old insecurities and send you spiraling again… It’s crazy to me how much our brains can send us right back to a place that we worked so hard to get out of at a flick of a switch,” Fraser observes. “But this song is really about growth, and I guess could be taken positively too – it’s more just me dissecting my own emotions during what was a confusing time in my life.”
Fraser cites this song as his definitive favorite. “I had so much fun making this in the studio with Jonah Summerfield and Rob Milton – its a pretty crazy merge of genres.”
Driving through our hometown
It’s been weeks away from here
Don’t know how to think ’bout anything at all
I’m wired to the speaker, she’s telling me no
Don’t you worry, it’s a false alarm…
…No, I don’t need a party, there’s a big one in my head
They don’t play any music and the vibe is pretty dead
Sorry, I think before I catch the last thing that you said
The EP’s back half is as emotionally exhilarating and exhausting as its front. “Vampire,” a duet with Atwood Magazine artist-to-watch Alaska Reid, sees Fraser plunging into his darkest depths and finding cathartic release. Fraser and Reid meld their voices into a beautifully vulnerable upheaval, with cool, cutting percussion, vivid, cinematic synths, and hot, sweltering guitars creating a truly captivating sonic environment all around them.
I’m a vampire and you’ve got the sweet blood
And if spill my guts, it’s only ’cause I love you so much
It’s 3 A.M. and it’s startin’ to rain
And I’m walking ’round the city, getting outta my brain
I’m a vampire, a parasite, a vampire
‘Cause being with you is a place I know
And I’m too far gone to ever wanna let you go (Don’t let me go)
And I love nothing more than to hold you close
But I suffocate the ones that I love the most
As its conclusion, title track “2030 Revolution” closes the EP with angst, ire, and a fire within. Pulsing drums slap a slick beat over Fraser’s intimate, up-close and personal vocal performance: “I wish that we could take just what we need but instead we like to bite the hand that feeds,” he sings, his words ringing out into a thick and omnipresent darkness.
In that darkness, Dylan Fraser is the spark of light.
There’s no denying that 2030 Revolution is all up in its head, but these songs have a way of making us feel safe and sound despite our world full of woes. Maybe it’s the act of knowing we’re not alone that soothes the wary soul; maybe it’s Fraser’s uncompromising spirit and brightly buoyant melodies; more likely, it’s a combination of these factors and more that make 2030 Revolution resonate so profoundly in our bones, deep down inside.
“Take whatever you need to take from it,” Fraser shares. “I just hope people can connect with the songs and interpret them in their own ways, and relate them to their own lives. That’s what I love about the music I listen to and I hope people can do the same with mine.”
Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Dylan Fraser’s 2030 Revolution EP with Atwood Magazine as he goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his latest release!
:: stream/purchase 2030 Revolution here ::
Stream: ‘2030 Revolution’ – Dylan Fraser
:: Inside 2030 Revolution ::
Apartment Complex on The Eastside
Life is crazy and has always been but more recently, it has been extra crazy. I wrote this song about existential crisis and dread and how fucked up the world is but in a weird way, it’s also a positive message. It’s me being like well “we’re fucked” so we might as well enjoy life whilst we have it.
It Took A Lot To Get To This
“It Took A Lot To Get To This” is a song about how you can put a lot of work and time to get yourself into a good headspace but little things can bring up old insecurities and send you spiraling again. I wrote this song at a time in my life that was super busy – I was traveling down to London a lot from my small town in Scotland and it was so exciting but also exhausting, and I felt like when I was home I didn’t even have the energy to speak to my family and that just sucked. I felt so mentally drained and I was like, how does this make sense? I’ve worked to so hard to get to this place in my life where I’m doing the job I love, but now I’m so mentally drained that I can’t even enjoy this experience with the people I love…
It’s crazy to me how much our brains can send us right back to a place that we worked so hard to get out of at a flick of a switch. But this song is really about growth, and I guess could be taken positively too – it’s more just me dissecting my own emotions during what was a confusing time in my life.
This song is about feeling like you’re a bad person to someone you love. When you love someone, you show them every side of yourself, even the bad parts. I think sometimes you tend to lash out at people you love the most but it’s only because you feel comfortable enough to let your frustration or upset out around them but it can leave you feeling like you’re a bad person; a liability, over the top. Who knows maybe even a vampire, a monster….
During the pandemic, it felt like there was a crazy news headline every day. I saw one that said “scientists say if we don’t change our ways by 2030 there’s not going back” so the title 2030 revolution stuck in my mind. This song is about how we’re kinda all just sitting around waiting for shit to hit the fan. We kind of pretend we’re climate activists on social media but does it really run that deep. Are we really doing everything in our effort to save the planet? I’m definitely not and I’m fully aware of that.
:: stream/purchase 2030 Revolution here ::
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