May 2, 2020 -- Anacortes, WA -- Gillian Frances has been playing music ever since she picked up her father’s drumsticks at the age of five. A child of parents who were involved in the Portland grunge scene of the 90’s, she witnessed firsthand the lifestyle that musicians and creatives can live. At the age of ten, she began attending the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls in Portland, OR--a music camp dedicated to empowering women and girls through music. In addition to Rock Camp, she studied classical violin for many years and began playing and writing songs on the guitar at sixteen. The many different musical worlds that Frances was involved with have blended into a style of songwriting that is uniquely hers--refined and gentle, bold and unafraid, inquisitive and meditative. As a multi-instrumentalist, Frances has been collaborating in bands since she was sixteen, and only within the past two years has she decided to step forward and begin pushing her personal creative work into the world. Notably, Frances played bass and guitar in Black Belt Eagle Scout, was a collaborator in indie-rock band Surfer Rosie, played violin in This Is The Kit and drums in New York-based band Beverly.
Miles Away From Myself was recorded in Spring of 2019 with Nicholas Wilbur at the Unknown in Anacortes, WA. All songs, aside from “Lake,” feature Alexandra Geffel on drums, Brody Mennito on guitar and Kyle Bates on bass. “New Bones,” the first song and the second pre-release single, is a lush, soothing and introspective introduction to the expansive, dynamic and complex album. Inspired by artists such as Slowdive, Grouper, Mirah and This Is The Kit, Frances blends folk-inspired fingerpicking guitar with distorted, cascading guitar solos, soft, lilting vocals and drums that can be as soft as a whisper and as thundering as a waterfall. All songs were written by Frances between the years of 2016-2020. “Hunting Ground,” the oldest song on the album, was written by Frances when she lived in New York City and was riding a bus surrounded by highschool students. “Friend,” on the other hand, was written two months before the album was recorded, and is one of the most emotive songs on the album. “But now I must move ahead,” Frances writes, “without you in the driver’s seat.” “Friend” is a painful ode to life-altering experiences of love, loss and betrayal.
“As a queer female musician, it can be difficult to understand where I fit in within this industry. I grew up around radical, queer folks expressing themselves freely, and it was a harsh reality when I stepped into the world and didn’t see people like me,” Frances states. “Many of my songs are written about topics that I consistently avoid thinking about. I’ve had issues with my body image since I was very young. Societal pressures put on people, especially women, to look certain ways has led me to experience internalized dysmorphia at times, shame at others. It has been difficult for me to feel comfortable celebrating the shape of my body. Playing music has always helped me process those feelings, because I can close my eyes and disappear into the soundscapes that I’m creating. The way I look when I’m writing music doesn’t matter, I leave the vanity of society for brief moments and can exist within a formless realm,” says Frances. In addition to issues with body image, Frances explores introspective themes such as her personal battle with depression, anxiety, disassociation, heartbreak and codependency. Loss is a theme that is prominently explored in Miles Away From Myself. “Tell me what’s here, tell me what’s here, tell me what’s there, tell me who's here,” Frances begs in “Lake,” the fifth song on the album. After witnessing the death of her step-mother, Frances wrote many songs inspired by death and loneliness. Songwriting has been a deeply healing practice for her recovery, a platform in which she can rid herself of the darkness that so often can obscure the beauty in the world. Miles Away From Myself will be released on June 19th on Decency Den Records, and we are all eagerly awaiting the fresh, introspective and original songwriting by Gillian Frances.
For Fans Of: Grouper, Loma, Broadcast, Pearl Jam