• Saff Southgate

Solo Musicians Pt 2; Fiction Piece

Updated: Aug 19

"The key is definitely momentum; don’t ever sit still" - Fiction Piece

Leading on from the first part of the three-part series, I am back again focusing on Solo Musicians, and on this occasion – the Cheltenham based artist Fiction Piece.

Drawing influence from hip-hop, midwest-emo, alt-pop and ambient soundtracks, Fiction Piece is a Gloucestershire (UK) based musical project exploring the complexities of mental health, connection and existentialism through an ethereal mix of spectral rhymes and ambient trap beats.

What inspired you to follow a solo career in the industry? Are there any particular artists?

What initially inspired my interest in a solo venture was a broadening of my musical interests. I’ve only ever performed and written for metal and rock bands prior to Fiction Piece, so this was a real step outside my comfort zone and something I was keen to work on.

I felt quite locked into a certain kind of lyrical writing with my band Eden In Progress, and this felt like a chance to explore some more personal lyrics and stories surrounding my own recent and past experiences with mental health that I felt needed venting.

Artist’s that initially inspired my love for the genres that Fiction Piece’s music could fit into are Nothing,Nowhere, Sullii and Twenty One Pilots, with later influences also including Sleep Token, Lil Xtra, Witt Lowry and Guccihighwaters.

Ambient soundtracks and instrumental musical projects were also a big influence on the works of Fiction Piece, with the film ‘A Ghost Story’ and it’s accompanying score having a large part to play in influencing the narrative side of the project.

Do you have any regular themes to your music?

Definitely! Reoccurring themes throughout the music I create as Fiction Piece are the complexities of mental health, love, self-worth and existential thoughts. I often tackle these issues from a very personal perspective, but I’ve also been exploring more external and societal lyrics outside of my own experiences as of late.

These themes are almost always explored through an overarching narrative inspired by the supernatural and the surreal. While I’m not particularly a believer in anything supernatural, it’s always something I’ve found interesting and fun to entertain. It felt fitting to build the narrative of Fiction Piece around the idea of ghosts, demons, the occult and purgatory, even though it’s not something I identify with in reality.

Within this narrative, I often turn certain issues into characters within the narrative, such as ‘Scarlett’, who represents the universe or a kind-of ‘god-like’ figure, ‘The Other’, who represents a broader collection of negative thoughts and feelings, and Gloom, who is a more specific characterisation of hypochondria.

Is your music programmed or do you play any of your instrumental parts?

The music definitely has a large electronic component to it, particularly when it comes to the beats, strings and ambients side of things, though almost all of my tracks also feature live guitars. That being said, I’m always trying to make interesting sounds using my instruments to implement into the songs, and always perform live with a guitar.

Involving session musicians to perform live keys, mixing and percussion is also something I’d like to explore - I’m very keen on live instrumentation, even within this kind of genre.

Choose one song you have written. Tell me why it has such prominence to you, whether it be positive or negative.

If it had to be one of the two songs I’ve released so far, it’d have to be my latest single ‘Here is Low’. I wrote the song very shortly after a very low point in my mental health recently, at a time where it felt like a lot in my life was going wrong – at least to me. It’s definitely a rather broad exploration of my mental health in recent years, but definitely helped me to vent and overcome a more specific incident and situation.

I try to be fairly honest and open with a lot of the lyricism to give the songs some relatable emotional impact, though I like to make them just about vague enough that people can interoperate the lyrics in their own way.

Overall, while this track feels rather negative and indeed focuses on some very negative experiences and thoughts, it’s ultimately a positive song for me due to the relief I got from venting such thoughts.

Do you have any words of wisdom you would like to pass on to readers who are thinking of starting their own solo career?

I’m still very new to being a solo performer so I’m not sure these can be described as ‘wise words’, but one bit of advice I’d definitely give after transitioning from a band into a solo project and researching how to best go about that, is to focus more on writing and releasing as much quality music as possible as frequently as possible. The key is definitely momentum; don’t ever sit still. I think the best way to do that is definitely with singles rather than EP’s or albums - don’t ever treat them like a big ‘right-hook’, more like a stepping stone.

As a lyricist and performer in general, I’d say don’t get too caught up in focusing on what people think and be emotionally honest in your music. That being said, it’s still good to be aware of what works and what doesn’t within the industry.

When is your next live performance?

My next performance is in Gloucester on the 14th of March at The Black Cat.

Anything else you would like to add?

Be real, stay spooky.

I decided to take some time to look at Fiction Piece's newest single "Here is Low".

Already before hearing the music, I can see that a clear amount of thought has been put into the artwork and music video connection alone. Both share a monochrome colour scheme with hints of pink. To me, I always think that it really finishes a piece off when everything ties together.

The song has a clear and catchy hook, that even has me humming along. There is a distinct minor feel to the song; setting the melancholic tone. You can feel the negative tone in the track, that sets the story for this piece. On listening to the lyrics, I have picked out a favourite of mine below. It really has an uplifting feeling and encourages reaching out to those around you during a hard time, which is ever more important in the current state. What's even more respectable is throughout his Facebook artist page, he regularly posts about donating to the charity mind. If you haven't heard of them check them out. Even donate – they are an amazing unit with a very important cause. I really respect how open and honest FP is about his thoughts and feelings.

Something I find particularly intriguing is that FP turns a situation into a character. This is incredibly inventive and interesting. This is not a concept I am familiar with myself so,

I will be sure to keep following his progression to see how this evolves. So in my opinion, if I was to attach one of the characters to this song, following those that have been mentioned above I would say 'The Other' or 'Gloom'. I wonder if I'm right? This is based on the heart-wrenching lyrics and calming tone of the track.

I would definitely listen to this artist again, and I encourage all of you to do the same!

I hope that I’ll be fine, cause’ I know it’s in my mind. The people I love, the sights and the sounds will save me from myself – Fiction Piece

Follow the links below to find FP:

Facebook: Instagram: Youtube: Reverbnation:

What do you think of Fiction Piece?

Tell me below!

– Saff Southgate Writer

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