Scottish singer-songwriter, Fraser MacIntyre releases stirring debut single, Dance and opens up about the physical and mental health challenges he faced.

Fraser MacIntyre is a Glasgow-based songwriter originally hailing from Dunfermline, Fife. A former member of Scottish alt-rock band, Foreignfox he left the band due to health reasons and found some solace in song-writing.  His debut single, ‘Dance’ is an emotive and stirring debut that has in part helped him fight through his health issues.

Fraser spoke frankly to Netsounds about his new project and shared the low points he battled during the songwriting and recording process.

What prompted you to leave Foreignfox and release music as a solo artist?

Health reasons primarily. I’ve had a neurological disorder since 2014, and any kind of stimulus gradually leaves me less and less able to function. Looking around a busy shop, walking while having an intense conversation, three hours in a room with a drummer – the more I do in a day the more my brain overloads, for lack of a better term, and I’m left increasingly unable to process information. Driving, running, alcohol, coffee etc. are all off limits. It’s like being an old computer with a virus trying to run seven programs at once, while wearing someone else’s glasses and drinking spiked tap water as someone boils a heavy kettle inside your head. Something like that.

I’ve kept better since leaving the band. There’s nothing like making a racket with some of your best pals, but my adrenals kept me up all night after practises and I looked kind of pissed off during gigs because I was busy concentrating on not falling over. A high-stimulus environment if ever there was one, on and off stage. I had a brilliant time though, even if I was always out of place in quite a lot of ways. Glad to still feel pretty connected to what they’re up to. Nick (Hernandez) plays drums on a track I’ll be sharing soon, and I’ve been to see them record a couple of times recently. I’ve got an early mix of their next single on my phone and I’ve probably listened to it more than the four of them combined.

The way things are now… I’d love to have other people involved but releasing music under my own name lets me work with my health in mind. I didn’t have any plans to write myself until quite a few months after leaving Foreignfox, but I’m happy with how things have turned out. I still think about chucking everything I’ve written out the window at least once a week, but that’s (hopefully) more of a reflection on me than the material.

You’ve said of your debut single, “Dance” that it’s a cathartic song and about being self-critical.  What inspired the lyrics and the music?

I had my Moog and a guitar set up at the bedroom window of my last flat. I’d stay up pretty late making quiet noise (not nearly quiet enough for my downstairs neighbour, I would later find out via a fairly fucked off note) when I couldn’t sleep, and the instrumental is fairly in keeping with what I was coming out with at the time. The lyrics came later. I’d just recorded ‘Grandstand’ (the singles B-side) and I wasn’t happy with the way I was writing yet. Everything was more complex than it needed to be… Dance was a response to that. The words came in an under an hour, I recorded a demo the next day and made plans to get back in the studio as quickly as possible. I really wanted something open and immediate, that song gave me a bit of faith in what I was doing.

I was thinking about people that fall off course due to circumstances beyond their control, and how cruel we can be to ourselves as we try to measure up to internal and external expectations. I had a few people in mind that I was a bit concerned about at the time, though I realised pretty quickly I was speaking to myself also. The message is universal but definitely applies to close family. We are guilty people to the core. I was motivated to push through my current health-issues pretty relentlessly for the first few years almost entirely out of self-loathing. If I backed out of anything due to exhaustion or apprehension I’d just wind up depressed because I’d been weak, and I’m far from an anomaly in thinking that way. A lot of people I know work hard and resent themselves for taking a moment to decompress. So, the song is a bit of an offering to them.

Give yourself half an hour. Indulge in the occasional guilty pleasure. Watch Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus instead of Citizen Kane. Fuck it.

You’ve recorded two songs in Frightened Rabbit’s Bridgeton studio with Andy Monaghan. How was that experience and what are your plans to write and record more?

I reached out to Andy after enjoying a few records he’d worked on recently… though I obviously love Frightened Rabbit. I haven’t told him about the State Hospital EP artwork tattooed on my ribs, and have no plans to. Anyway. It was a blast. Lots of mucking around with pedals, synths & drum-machines. No over-thinking. I love Andy’s approach to making music, and he was very generous with his time and advice. I’m heading back in later this month.

I’ve no immediate plans after a second single. There’s an EP/record written and ready to be pieced together whenever possible, but I’m not exactly working with JLS’s budget (are they still a thing? I can’t keep up) so we’ll see what happens. 

‘Dance’ is released on 20th March 2020

Fraser says that ‘Dance’ is a gentle introduction to him as a musician and songwriter and there are bolder and louder songs to come – ‘Blood & Oil’ being one that was written at the same time.

‘Dance’ has been a cathartic process for MacIntyre and has given him a new found drive to record and play more. He is supporting Real Lies at The Hug & Pint on Thursday 19th March and is eyeing up booking more shows across Scotland in the near future.

Discover more about Fraser MacIntyre: Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter

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