With an urge to play music at three years old and a mum who’d play guitar around him throughout his youth, Dylan Fraser was a misfit compared to his fellow pupils at school in Bathgate; none of his peers shared as strong an artistic impulse as he did. So, like his dad, he dropped out of school at 15 – but not to work on a building site. Instead, within the space of four years, Dylan signed to Atlantic Records and his second EP on the label is due for imminent arrival.
“My Mum wasn’t too chuffed when I decided to leave school, but she got over it,” Dylan laughs. Funded by his social media company where he would run meme pages on Instagram, Dylan would take regular trips to London whilst studying a music course at Edinburgh college to work on new music projects, and it was there where he began meeting people that he’d consider friends. “I struggled a lot with [making friends] in school,” he explains, “but since getting into the music industry, I’ve found people that I really connect with and share the same interests.”
Other struggles that Dylan has openly coped with during his youth include his battles with anxiety and depression. “Songwriting gives me the opportunity to get shit out,” he says bluntly but purposefully, a self-proclaimed “extroverted introvert” who, like the majority of us over this past year, is still acclimatising to his own headspace. Yet, lockdown also came with its pros for Dylan. A keen visual thinker, his time spent in quarantine allowed him to come up with the “weird” concepts that embody his new EP. He says, “I wanted the whole project to be set in this weird facility. Weirdly, and unintentionally, it kind of links into how everyone’s been in the last year feeling trapped inside and stuff.”
Major label? Tick. Huge social following? Tick. But success? This is something Dylan still ponders over as a young artist in the modern music industry, where capitalisation often conflicts with music’s egalitarian values. “I’ve grown up in a generation with social media where success is defined by numbers,” he says. “I don’t know if that’s truly what success is? All I know is that I want to be doing this for a long time. I’m evolving as an artist. I want to be playing shows till I’m 70.”
WHAT: Profoundly honest Gen Z songwriting
WHERE: Bathgate, Scotland
3 SONGS: ‘Vipers’, ‘Nightmare’, ‘I’d Rather Be Here’
FACT: When Dylan was in college he started a social media company – which maybe explains his colossal army of online fans.
Words: Jamie Wilde
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
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