Hiya and thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Who are you and what is your musical history?
My name is William Fraser, I’m a musician and producer from London. I’ve been performing in various bands and musical projects since I was a kid. My first proper band was called ‘SWIM’ when I was at university from 2007-2010. I’ve also been in an electronic duo called ‘Thermoluminescence’, another band in made of expats in South Korea (believe it or not) called ‘The Big Dispute’ and I’ve recently worked on the soundtrack to a short film called ‘The Suit Weareth the Man’ with another musician friend of mine. I currently have about five other musical projects with various collaborators in various stages of completion which may or may not ever see the light of day! You know how it is.
What made you decide to start this project?
In my first band, ‘SWIM’, I was a guitar and keyboardist, but my favourite thing to do was turn on all of the effects on my BOSS pedal processor and make horrible reverby ambient sounds. My interest in the more experimental and electronic side of things was established there and then. As part of the composition process for the band, I would make off-the-wall demos with bizarre loops of slowed down guitars and voices. Very few of them were accepted by the band because they were too strange and would be impossible to play live. I continued that line of experimentalism and produced the tracks for my first EP ‘Urbran’ which finally saw the light of day in 2017 under the moniker ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy’. It’s been gestating for a long time! I’m a high school teacher by day, so anyone who works in education will get the name.
Tell me about your new album and how it came about?
Foley Age is a collection of tracks which I’ve been working on for about a year, but really came into fruition during the first lockdown. My last EP ‘Bitter Lake’ was very experimental and introspective, so I deliberately wanted to make something a bit more ‘outward facing’ with this one but keep the experimentalism and sonic textures of the last EP – think Bloom’s Taxonomy goes to the beach. The tracks are therefore a little more accessible I think, a bit more on the chilled end of things, and hopefully a bit danceable in places. It’s the kind of music that you can watch a sunset to and be reminded of the wonders and mysteries of the universe. But there’s also a vein of darkness and tension – perhaps the times we’re living in couldn’t help but imprint themselves?
What makes you stand out as an artist? If your fans could remember one thing about you what would it be?
Hopefully my music transports you to another place – I hope people can ‘tune out’ and get carried away somewhere. Watching me perform live is a full audio-visual experience – I do my own visuals which are projected behind me. So that’s what I hope makes me stand out, and that’s what people will remember me for: that my music took them on a journey somewhere and painted a picture in their mind.
What support is out there for new artists in your part of London?
I’m part of an amazing community of electronic musicians, wizards and tinkerers called the ‘Electronic Music Open Mic’. They have nights all over the UK and beyond, but the London crowd congregate in the basement of a church in Camberwell. The atmosphere is amazing and you are always guaranteed to hear something different to what you are expecting. There are people who bring suitcases full of analogue synths with tangles of wires, and others (like me) who are more software based, but I also do live visuals for the performers as well as perform regularly myself. It’s a great night and its helped me build a great network of indie electronic musicians. When all this is over, you should definitely check them out if there’s one in your area. I promise you will be awed, entertained, amused and inspired in equal measure!
What advice would you give other artists starting out?
Don’t assume your music will find an audience on its own, and don’t be embarrassed to promote yourself. Push, push, push. Once you’ve honed your craft of actually making music, the next step is honing the craft of finding your listeners. I’m still learning that bit. Also, figure out how to perform whatever you do live. It has made me into such a more versatile and disciplined musician and producer. It’s also really fun.
What’s your favourite song right now from another artist currently on the circuit?
If by ‘the circuit’ you mean unsigned, there’s an amazing track called ‘Thrill Me’ by a guy called Andy’s Echo which was recommended to me by Spotify. It’s got a great vibe.
Who would you like to work with on the circuit right now?
I would love to get a support slot with either Caribou, Four Tet or Jon Hopkins for obvious musical reasons as I feel they share my musical DNA. I would also love to produce anyone who’ll have me. I think it would be interesting to produce a pop record. Someone like Grimes or Bjork.
What was the most fun you have had on stage?
I performed at a the Boreyong Mud Festival in South Korea. It’s a weird day where people go to this muddy beach and cover themselves in mud and listen to live music. Don’t ask – it’s a cultural thing. Anyway, my band at the time ‘The Big Dispute’ performed almost naked, completely covered in mud, to a bunch of American GIs and Korean teenagers.
What was the worst experience on stage?
About 10 years ago in Margate (which is really cool now) my bandmate and I did an acoustic gig at a pub, and a drunk guy took a dislike to us and tried to fight us off the stage. That was fun.
Who is inspiring you at the minute?
Elon Musk. He’s actually making the possibility of space travel for ordinary people seem real. I’ve dreamed of that since I was a kid.
What useless talent do you have/ party trick?
I can belly dance- that thing where you roll your stomach in waves. Don’t ask me how I learned. I’ve always been able to do it. I can also bench press 120KG.
What goes into your favourite sandwich?
Anything with pesto. Or smoked mackerel. That option makes me popular with anyone I’m in the vicinity of, as you can imagine.
Right now, what’s pissing you of the most? (Cant say the virus 🙂
The lack of live music and festivals! I’m absolutely gagging to go and dance in a muddy field.
How has 2020 affected your mental health?
Well, 2020 has been a big year in lots of ways with lots of changes. Luckily I’ve kept my job but also had lots of spare time. I’ve used all the extra time afforded by lockdown to focus on my music. I think if I were the kind of person to allow myself to get bored, it may have affected me more, but I’m always keeping busy. That’s my best advice. Keep busy!
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
Go and listen to my new album on the 5th of February. Sit down somewhere beautiful, put some headphones in, and get transported away somewhere.
Thanks for joining us today folks, all the best and keep in touch.