‘Please Leave Quietly’: Melbourne’s Leo Channels Trauma & Angst into Breathtaking Beauty on Rip-Roaring Debut EP

Leo © Claire Giuffre
Leo © Claire Giuffre
Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Leo takes us track-by-track through their breathtaking, shiver-inducing debut EP ‘Please Leave Quietly,’ an intimate, in-your-face record unpacking trauma, processing pain, and channeling angst and inner turmoil into raw, soul-stirring indie rock beauty.
Stream: “Rough Hands” – Leo

When I tried talking, therapist called it shocking. Through teary eyes she asked how I feel deep inside…

Unfiltered, unapologetic, and unbelievably raw, Leo’s debut EP is as beautiful as it is breathtaking.

Songwriting, especially introspective songwriting, is often likened to a deep-dive into the self – and on Please Leave Quietly, the Australian artist plunges headfirst into their darkest depths, hitting hard and holding nothing back as they pick apart their turbulent teens and early twenties. In some respects, this record is a classic coming-of-age full of demons and typical teenage melodrama: “Let’s get straight down to it: I’ve been feeling like sh*t,” Leo sings with all their might at one point, channeling unknown levels of angst into a hearty and impassioned upheaval. It’s a sentiment that feels in so many ways like a thesis statement, and yet it’s just one of this EP’s many memorable, emotionally charged moments of reckoning. Leo’s turmoil is fresh, feverish, and in-your-face throughout Please Leave Quietly as they unpack their trauma, process their pain, and turn agony into beauty through five fiery, soul-stirring indie rock songs.

Please Leave Quietly EP - Leo
Please Leave Quietly EP – Leo
You’ve got rough hands, you’ve got callouses
You work in the farm house
and I’m in your dog house.

You didn’t wanna see me,
and I wouldn’t wanna see me too.

Though I still love you,
even when you’re killing too.

You left me down by the street
and you weren’t meant to.
And my thoughts they’re creeping in
and i’m screaming in my sleep.

And my nightmares they are coming back,
it’s a sign that shits not going right.

Calculating when will be my last night.
I’ve heard if I blink three times say my name
in the night maybe things will turn right

Independently released April 5, 2024, Please Leave Quietly is a stunning and truly singular introduction to Naarm / Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Leo, who has a tendency – or rather, mission – to say the quiet parts aloud in their music. The Australian artist, born Leo McCloskey, debuted their mononymous artistry via the shiver-inducing single “Doctor” in 2022, and has been steadily introducing themselves ever since, garnering comparisons to artists like Bec Stevens and Angie McMahon in the process thanks to an energetic and cinematic sound full of heat, friction, and a seemingly unstoppable tenacity.

Underpinning that music is a vulnerability so brutal, that it often hurts.

Leo © Claire Giuffre`
Leo © Claire Giuffre

And if you ask Leo about it, they’ll likely say that’s the point: Each one of these songs is a massive cathartic release as the artist confronts their own inner demons – spilling their guts candidly, openly, and honestly.

Please Leave Quietly is an ode to my late teens and early twenties,” the singer/songwriter tells Atwood Magazine. “From my late teens, it encapsulates sitting around graveyards in my spare time, drinking Little Fat Lamb, to finally going to therapy (still looking for the right one) and having to address all that I tried to believe had never hurt me. I played music live for a few years and got referred to Jonathon Tooke through Eaglemont, which is where the EP got kicked off. After our first session, we straight away knew that we would be making an EP.”

“The tone for the EP was set on the first day of recording when we recorded the demo for ‘Half Unconscious,’ they continue. “I have a somewhat obsessive belief in my head that groups of songs fit into time periods within my head. For example, the EP has the songs that fit into the ‘loveless/isolation period,’ and the demos recorded subsequently are a different period. All songs were recorded in the order in which they appear on the EP, and there was a subconscious stamp that ended the EP after we recorded ‘Thursday Morning.’ Musically, there is a ghost-like ambience throughout the EP which signifies both lyrical and musical intentions for the EP.”

Half unconscious, state of loving
anything in the grave bed.

Hanging on to all I saw in you
even though you had a pedestal.

Buying in to every word you said,
coming out of a one year older head.

Taking what I needed from one of the nicest
I could think of, you were my start off.
Because of you the graveyard is singing
and because of you, you cause desolation

And because of you I can’t help
but wonder what might’ve been
Maybe think I blamed you
’cause this is a song of despise.

I thought I loved you
but I won’t forget what you did that night.

And my best friend, they couldn’t comprehend
why I was so f*ing mesmerised

With your wide eyes i’m hating
how I gave you so much time
– “Half Unconscious,” Leo

Leo describes Please Leave Quietly as a melodramatic, valid, and introspective record. The name of their EP is itself enough to make our hair stand on end: “The title was written around an assumptious mentality of ‘I know you’re going to leave and that’s okay – I am used to it. But when you do, please leave quietly,’” they explain.

As far as first-looks are concerned, Please Leave Quietly is a powerful, unforgettable best-foot-forward, its songs as catchy as they are cathartic and charged.

“I think that Please Leave Quietly is a good introduction to my music as it ‘does what it says on the box,’ so-to-speak,” Leo reflects. “Both the EP and live shows rely on the lyrical nature of the songs in their dark and sometimes sarcastic themes. When making the EP, I wanted all of the songs to be recorded in a way that made them possible to perform entirely live (as I wasn’t ready to delve into track) and with no more than four people including myself.”

Leo © Claire Giuffre
Leo © Claire Giuffre

From the explosive opening moments of “Half Unconscious” to the searing, confessional churn of “Thursday Morning,” Please Leave Quietly is an all-consuming fifteen-minute barnburner.

Of note is “Rough Hands,” the achingly visceral third track that also served as Leo’s third song release when it came out last June. “A sonically and emotionally charged indie rock/pop reverie, “Rough Hands” is a raw inner reckoning of the highest order, finding the singer/songwriter dwelling in an intimate space of vulnerability and volatility,” Atwood Magazine wrote upon the track’s release last year. “We all hurt from time to time, but for some of us, that invisible pain is more intense and more frequent… In bringing their own depression to life so vividly through song, Leo offers a lifeline to all who need it – and a means of connection to all who long to be seen, to be felt, and to be heard.”

While all five of these songs have the power to take listeners’ breath away – again, that’s the point – EP closer “Thursday Morning” is especially haunting, its raw lyrics an unflinching reflection of the artist’s lived experience: “It’s Thursday morning, my teeth are gnawing. They’re going through my cheeks, my hearts bruised and I’m weak,” Leo sings hot on the mic – and for a moment, it feels like it’s just us and them together in the same room as they admit, “I’ve been eroding, my brain imploding. I have nothing to say and if I did, you might take me the wrong way. When I tried talking, therapist called it shocking. Through teary eyes she asked how I feel deep inside.” It’s hard not to feel the weight of aching and alienation pile on within, coming to a breaking point just in time for a massive, anthemic climax:

It’s like I’m 14 again.
Sitting in graveyards of the dead.

I’m 21, how? Sitting out the front of a cemetery now.
I’m feeling my feelings the same way,
I can’t love and it’s all a catastrophe

“It was a deep pleasure to finally finish ‘Thursday Morning’ after much lyrical turmoil and indecisiveness over 2021-2023,” Leo says on the topic of favorite moments. “To be sharing a song that still resonates with me and my experiences with mental illness means a lot to me.”

They further highlight four of their favorite lyrics, each one seemingly more exposed than the last:

  • from “Half Unconscious”: I’m hating how I gave you so much time.  “This line means a lot to me as being re-written from some butt-kissing malarkey, this line reclaims the reality that being treated badly will eventually always eventuate in realising that no matter how much someone matters to you, their harm will hurt and leave a stain.”
  • from “Tendencies”: I put up with you, you’re unhinged and unstable too. I think I love you. “This line encapsulates the harsh thoughts we often have regarding ourselves yet the commonly disregarded act of challenging those thoughts.”
  • from “Thursday Morning”: When I tried talking, therapist called it shocking. Through teary eyes she asked how I feel deep inside. “Writing this line felt very therapeutic as I feel it holds the feeling of when someone cries on your behalf after they hear what you have been/are going through. This line was genuinely written after seeing a therapist that cried when I told her about my trauma. To be dry eyed and watch someone cry over your reality doesn’t feel great.”
  • and from “Thursday Morning: It’s Thursday morning, my teeth are gnawing. They’re going through my cheeks this is me telling you I’m getting weak. “This line feels like the core of the EP’s message. Chewing cheeks can be such a impactful to self yet subtle to others marker of how you’re really doing as no one can see it. This song encapsulates a comparison of feels between the age of 14 and 23. When I was 14 I didn’t want to burden anyone with how I was feeling and but when I got to finishing this song between 21 and 23, my mind got too heavy to carry alone so I had to tell someone. This line signifies both the ongoing impacts of mental illness as well as the importance of telling someone (in my case finally) how much things are really hurting.”

Leo © Claire Giuffre
Leo © Claire Giuffre

Writing these songs meant writing about the times I’d never felt more alone, but singing them and having them be heard meant feeling safe.

There’s a lot to take away from Leo’s debut EP, but perhaps the most lesson from these songs is that we’re not alone in what we’re going through.

Please Leave Quietly may be the product of turbulence – and the songs themselves are full of a raw, palpable inner heat and an unshakeable, volatile energy – but without a doubt, this record is a safe space for all those working through depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and more. Not once does Leo sugarcoat their pain or play something off as being easier than it was to deal with or work through; instead, they shine a light on open wounds and sing, achingly and honestly, about those invisible scars we must so often hide from a surface-level-loving world.

But here, we can be free, like Leo, to hold nothing back. Unfiltered, unapologetic, and unbelievably raw: These are the characteristics of a heavy heart and soul unleashed through music.

Leo © Claire Giuffre
Leo © Claire Giuffre

“As much as it is said, and validly so, I hope that this EP holds space in which people can feel whatever they have been feeling and a space that helps them to feel less alone,” Leo shares. “Writing these songs meant writing about the times I’d never felt more alone, but singing them and having them be heard meant feeling safe.”

“Creating and putting out Please Leave Quietly gave me the courage to write the narrative of the story I felt too scared to tell. Having hard and unfair things happen to you often doesn’t welcome a safe space to share those circumstances, but putting the stories and feelings that I held into Please Leave Quietly meant that I could share the secrets that I had been holding onto for too long. Secrets and lies make your body hurt, and I don’t want to welcome that.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Leo’s Please Leave Quietly EP with Atwood Magazine as the artist takes us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their debut EP!

— —

:: stream/purchase Please Leave Quietly here ::
:: connect with Leo here ::
Stream: ‘Please Leave Quietly’ – Leo

:: Inside Please Leave Quietly ::

Please Leave Quietly EP - Leo

— —

Half Unconscious

“Half Unconscious” was the first song written, recorded and finished for the EP. It was first written with quite a self-deprecating lens in 2016 and finished/partly re-written in 2020 to reclaim the actual narrative behind the song’s meaning… Not the one I was led into believing.

Erase Me

“Erase Me” was written at the forefront of covid about so deeply wanting to be able to be alone but still needing the validation that someone will still be there when you get back. When recording it with Jonathon Tooke, the central goal was to make the song feel as uncomfortable as the themes being explored lyrically, e.g., “I see myself swallowing forks” and “lock me in a room with no key.” We did this with the dissonance you can hear in the guitars, symbolising a fraught moment and with the comparative loud dynamics in this song, standing for how loud your mind can get when it wants to.

Rough Hands

Believe it or not, “Rough Hands” was initially a country-esqe ballad that had nothing but the first verse (of the now “Rough Hands”) sung at less than half the current tempo with double the emotion. Working out a longer version of “Rough Hands” coincided with me playing around with more representations of chords and thus changing the shape of the prior G chord which welcomed a chorus and an extra verse. With Jono, we (as per usual), upped the tempo and shifted the song into something you could cry to (whilst you dance).


“Tendencies” was written in a conversation style from a third person perspective whereby anything goes – similar to the comedy channel roast specials but (generally) way more shallow. The song addresses the harsh and immediate nature that anxiety presents for me whereby anything said and any thoughts had are absolute.

Thursday Morning

“Thursday Morning” was the last song written and finished for the EP. It almost didn’t make it as so much had changed between writing it in 2021 and signing it off for the EP in 2023, that it felt like the contents wouldn’t hold true in releasing it. Thankfully, Jono was deeply patient in waiting (and gently encouraging) for me to finish off the song right as we sent it off for mixing. It feels like the perfect closer for the EP as although things are better than they once were, mental illness has a way of always making you remember it’s still there.

— —

:: stream/purchase Please Leave Quietly here ::
:: connect with Leo here ::

— — — —

Please Leave Quietly EP - Leo

Connect to Leo on
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Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Claire Giuffre

:: Stream Leo ::

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