‘The Burden of Fever Dreams’: Parisian Artist Ethel Dwells in Hazy, Dreamy Depths on Seductive & Smoldering Debut EP

Ethel © Victor Jacques Sebb
Ethel © Victor Jacques Sebb
Dark, dreamy, and delicately dazzling, Ethel’s debut EP ‘The Burden of Fever Dreams’ introduces the Parisian singer/songwriter through a haze of smoldering, ethereal alt-pop that enchants the ears and soothes the soul.
Stream: “WANNAGO?” – Ethel

I hear your voice in silence; shadows hangin’ over me,” Ethel sings at the start of her debut EP, her warm, whisper-like voice glowing against cool piano chords and seductive, static vocal samples. “… You’ve been wastin’ all your time, buildin’ glass walls in my mind.” It’s a fragile expression of inner emotion, and one that immediately sets the tone for a record that aches unapologetically from the inside out – all while utterly mesmerizing its audience.

Dark, dreamy, and delicately dazzling, Ethel’s The Burden of Fever Dreams introduces the Parisian singer/songwriter through a haze of smoldering, ethereal alt-pop that enchants the ears and soothes the soul.

The Burden of Fever Dreams - Ethel
The Burden of Fever Dreams – Ethel
I hear your voice in silence
Shadows hangin’ over me
Somewhere in the crowd
I’m the one they come for
You’ve been wastin’ all your time
Buildin’ glass walls in my mind
Fightin’ demons all along
Hell is near, I can’t go on
You were never on my side (Oh-oh)
Losin’ all my motor functions
If you wanna go, it’s time (Oh-oh)
Better off without your toxins
– “WANNAGO?” Ethel

Released March 22, 2024 via +1 Records, The Burden of Fever Dreams is a beautifully provocative, bite-sized best-foot-forward from France’s Ethel Nass, who has, over the past few years, slowly and steadily introduced an artist project full of passion, poise, and absolutely stunning sonic prowess.

Working closely with producer Banshee, Ethel has found her voice in a soothing pool of hair-raising indie ambience. Recent singles like “Pixie Dust” and “Passing Ships” evoked her ability to cultivate intimate environments inside and out, with “Pixie Dust” especially standing out as a a gentle, beautiful immersion. Her songs may have a certain fire and modern flare to them, but don’t mistake a sleek design for bells and whistles: Within each track, there lies an artist dwelling in the raw depths of her own achingly exposed humanity.



“I would say that this record will forever be a time capsule of the beginning of my 20s; it comes from a place of both self-doubt and self-discovery,” Ethel tells Atwood Magazine. “Before I met Banshee, who produced this project, I used to make French songs that I didn’t like, none of them felt like me. I was confused, and he wanted to learn how to work closely with an artist, so we started to create a lot of songs together. I love that this record is the product of multiple attempts.”

“We didn’t know we were making an EP until we made ‘Pixie Dust,’ she continues. “Before that, we were just making loose songs, still in a place of exploration. But making that song really felt like we had matured in our process and dynamic. It sparked new ideas and helped me shape a sonic frame.”

Ethel describes The Burden of Fever Dreams as intimate and eclectic, and filled with discovery. “I hope that it conveys my strong desire to not stick to a proper genre, and the freedom within my creative process,” she smiles. “It captures my artistry as a result of accumulated experiences and the music I’ve listened to over the years.”

Ethel © Victor Jacques Sebb
Ethel © Victor Jacques Sebb

The EP’s name itself came to her while listening to a podcast on a plane, half-asleep.

“The speaker was talking about how he didn’t want to take medication as a kid when having a fever,” she recalls. “All the songs from this EP are tainted with the fears and insecurities that invade my daily life and sometimes make me dissociate from reality. This resonated with the experience of fever dreams and how, as the body changes its temperature, you start reaching new levels of consciousness, realizing there are multiple aspects to who we are and how we think.”

While this EP is best experienced as one exhilarating, consuming twelve-minute journey, each of its four primary songs (the final track, “Having a Fever,” is a 21-second interlude) stand out on their own and capturing another side to Ethel’s burgeoning artistic identity. Lead single “Pixie Dust” remains a personal highlight, its lyrics reminding us that, deep down, we’re all the same, while its music is something of a heavy, melancholic blanket of thick beats and sweaty synths. “When you light up in the dark, it gives me such a rush, are we made of the same pixie dust?” Ethel sings into the haze.

I should take off my make up
I can’t lie, I’m quite self conscious
Should we pretend
or fake emotions?
Can you tell if I’m content?
Is there a thing that I said
that made you close
The door on me
Scattered flaws on the road
don’t have to make you go
‘Cause when you light up in the dark
It gives me such a rush,
Are we made of the same
Pixie dust?

“[My favorite] changes often, but today I really like ‘Passing Ships,’ Ethel says. “This is my favorite one to perform at the moment. It sums up the sonic world I aimed to build for this project.”

A moody, alt-R&B eruption presented in soul-stirring slow motion, “Passing Ships” is another exemplar of Ethel’s ability to blend rousing, radiant music with shiver-inducing lyricism (at this point, it behooves me to remind readers that this is not her mother tongue).

“‘Passing Ships” explores commitment issues, insecurities, and the impossibility to hold secure relationships due to anxiety and depressive states,” she explains. “It is about being stuck in patterns of self-sabotage as we deliberately run away from things we know are good for us. This song is like a warning, almost a prayer dedicated to a loved one for them to stay, despite the many cries that may arise.”

Ethel Nass’ journey is only just beginning, and with The Burden of Fever Dreams, she has ensured that we’ll be along for the ride.

“I hope I’ve been able to tell stories as if they were time capsules, signifying both melancholy and intimacy,” Ethel shares. “I really wanted this EP to feel like a sketchbook of thoughts and feelings – almost like a diary.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Ethel’s The Burden of Fever Dreams with Atwood Magazine as she takes us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of her debut EP!

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:: stream/purchase The Burden of Fever Dreams here ::
‘The Burden of Fever Dreams’ – Ethel

:: Inside The Burden of Fever Dreams ::

The Burden of Fever Dreams - Ethel

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I wrote it during a time of what I’d call an intense depressive state. It’s about accepting the fate that comes with living with your inner enemy; the part involved in self-sabotage, keeping you from being your true self and becoming a better person. In the song, I want to run away from the voices in my head only to realize we are inextricably intertwined. We made this one in Los Angeles alongside Banshee and another amazing producer, Zach Ezzy. Being in another environment and being introduced to new processes definitely sparked a renewed creative energy. The track contains a sample we created from scratch with my own voice, which was an unexpected foundation to build t Being in another environment and being introduced to new processes definitely sparked a renewed creative energy. It contains a sample we created from scratch with my own voice, which I found unexpected and surprising to build the song over!

Pixie Dust

It is the first song I wrote in 2023, I had just got back from a short trip to Lisbon with some of my friends from university to celebrate New Year’s – a lot of them I hadn’t seen since COVID. It was like jumping back to my ‘old’ life a bit, which gave me a breath of inspiration. So the day after I got back, I went to the studio and remembered this uplifting conversation I had with one of my friends where we admitted that we were intimidated by one another, yet realized our friendship was never rooted in jealousy but in admiration. She said “You and I are made of the same stardust,” which moved me greatly.

Time Apart

“Time Apart” explores a more external kind of tension as it tackles co-dependency issues. I wanted this one to feel a bit bouncy, less melancholic, and instead, have a lighter ring to it.

Passing Ships

This was made at a time when I had accumulated a lot of demos but didn’t really know what the EP was going to look like. Sometimes you just need that one song that’s going to tie everything together and help tell the right story. In the midst of this search, my producer Banshee found this producer on YouTube called Lovén – and listening to his beats, it really felt like he would help us find the missing piece we needed. So we decided to fly him over for a week to work with us… and that’s when we made “Passing Ships.”
I remember the writing process being extremely exciting and fluid. Banshee had an immediate creative spark and created the loop within minutes – soon completed by some background vocals by Lovén before I laid down almost all the melodies for the verses and chorus. I felt strongly about wanting to keep the intention of that first take by staying faithful to the gibberish and how it sounded. I really love it when the process is sort of abstract and surprising; when you don’t really know what the song is about until you fill out the gibberish with words. Turns out the lyrics revealed exactly what I was feeling at the time.

Having a Fever

I can’t say much about this one, but if you listen closely enough, you’ll be able to find something interesting. A phrase that could describe this interlude would be ‘hidden in plain sight.’

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:: stream/purchase The Burden of Fever Dreams here ::

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The Burden of Fever Dreams - Ethel

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? © Victor Jacques Sebb

:: Stream Ethel ::

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