Interview: Wilted Precision

Written by Maddy Howell

Having been present on the Kent music scene for a few years now, Elliot-Hudson Tyler has decided to flip the disc on his usual upbeat tones in T-Rex Can't Swim, releasing a demo EP under the moniker of Wilted Precisions. The EP was written and recorded within one hour, during an intense mental struggle. We had a chat with Tyler about how the EP came about and the underlying emotions that inspired it.

Burn After Writing: What was it that sparked the idea to sit down and put together the EP?

Wilted Precision: There was nothing particularly that made me think: “I’m going to make an EP right now”, it just kind of happened. I’m in between jobs at the moment, so I’ve had a lot of free time to think about things. It had also been the two-year anniversary of my friend’s death which was something I’d never really challenged and always struggled to comprehend. I guess it was still this feeling that it hadn’t happened, and that I hadn’t processed it. I thought about this a lot and I started to piece together the reasoning of all of it.

My Nan was rushed into hospital the day after I found out about what had happened and it just pushed it to one side, as over the course of the next week I watched her die in a hospital bed. It all kind of revisited me and it became inevitable that I’d be pushed into an episode, and when I have these episodes I write songs to break them. It was a really heavy experience for me, but I got it all off my chest and it helped to process it all.

BAW: What was the creative process like? Did you plan much out before recording or was it more of a spontaneous scenario?

WP: It was definitely spontaneous. Once I picked up my guitar it just all came out. I literally played through each song one before recording it. I really wanted to keep it sounding super raw and emotional, and I knew if I kept practicing it, the recording wouldn’t have that feeling.
The last track wasn’t even written before I pressed record, I improvised the guitar and then just spoke about what was on my mind. You can probably hear it, as I went for a little bit too long, and the guitar overtakes my voice at the end.

In terms of the creative thought process, it was literally just a stream of consciousness for the first and last tracks, I Don’t Want to Talk About It and A Letter. I wasn’t even intending to be that honest with it, but it worked out. October was written beforehand, however, it was also written during an episode in October 2015. I hadn’t really played it since so there are a few mistakes and bits where I made it up as I went. I think that sounds kind of cool.

BAW: The basis of the EP is incredibly raw, and can at times feel quite intrusive on your personal life. Are you comfortable with listeners being able to re-live your stories on such a deep level?

WP: I had to think quite a lot about whether I wanted to put it out. The stuff I’ve recorded with T-Rex Can’t Swim wasn’t that revealing – Jo being the only track that nods in that direction, so it was a big decision to open up that much. It really makes you open to negative comments, I think the process put me in a place where I could say: “Yeah, I’ve done that now, and I’m proud of myself”.
To me recording those feelings means I have come a long way. I just really wanted to get something out there that noticed some of the shit I’ve been through and come out of the other side of.

BAW: The demo was written and recorded in the space of one hour in your bedroom, is there anything you would go back and change if given more time, or are you happy with the outcome?

WP: Absolutely not. It acts as a capture of a singular moment, the raw nature of it is what makes it. This is my way of saying how I feel, and if I was to go back and alter that it wouldn’t come across in a true way.

This will probably be somewhat of a theme for this project. I started Wilted Precision almost 2 years ago and I didn’t do anything, it was always there as a means to vent without worry about effecting my image of any of my band mates. In reality this EP has been two years in the making, and I never made any tangible sounds until now.

BAW: You described the process of writing and recording the EP as a “heavy” experience, what aspect in particular made it a difficult procedure?

WP: It was really hard, I talked about some real dark stuff. Obviously putting that out in the public eye is a scary thing. I hadn’t really allowed myself to process those losses before, so bringing it to the surface was a really emotional thing. I recorded and wrote it alone in my bedroom; I didn’t show anyone any of it until I uploaded it to Bandcamp, so knowing I was putting it out there without anyone knowing how I felt was heavy.

Inevitably, family and close friends would hear it and I wouldn’t blame them if they were like: “fuck”. It’s important to realise that this was something that had to happen, and I had to do it on my own, hence why I didn’t release it with T-Rex. I doubt I could look into anyone’s eyes and repeat the words on this EP.

BAW: Your music often presents you channelling your emotions through sound, what/who inspired you to begin writing songs that tackle topics which are often quite difficult to discuss?

WP: Charlie Singer of Old Gray probably acts as the biggest influence on my spoken word emotive stuff. I spend a lot of time listening to Old Gray and their ‘Slow Burn’ album really hit me hard. I also think anything that Cam (Boucher) does is incredible, he’s one of the nicest guys ever, and he’s doing something really cool out of a number of shitty circumstances. ‘It Kindly Stopped Me’ by Sorority Noise probably influenced this EP as well; the third track Fource has Cam just speaking his mind and you can genuinely hear the emotion, I wanted to give that same feeling. He also pays tribute to friends he has lost over the years: “Just this lost year I lost a basketball team to heaven”, he tackles his issues head on. Which can be somewhat therapeutic.

I also listen to a lot of Julien Baker and Keaton Henson to inspire my more acoustic stuff. For me, songs with feeling and emotion appeal to me more – this doesn’t necessarily need to be sad stuff. I wanted to produce something that bares ode to that. In regards to what inspires me, I guess it just comes down to certain life altering events. Shit happens, it happens a lot and we are moulded and developed by how we respond to this shit, and for me, I take inspiration from it all.

BAW: What is it about writing that you find cathartic when it comes to coping with mental illness?

WP: It just acts as a positive release, there are a lot of really negative ways of dealing with things and those things are just shitty. I was once told that the key function in life is to take a negative input and expel it as a positive output, which for me is aggressively depressing music.

This was a really good thing for me, it really was like a giant weight being lifted off my shoulders. It makes what you’re feeling inside a tangible thing and it gives you power over it in my opinion. It’s also somewhat relieving to be productive sometimes. I can spend days on end laying around and doing nothing, and I feel so unfulfilled and unmotivated, then in an hour or so I’ll write a new track or a whole EP in this case. I feel like I’ve achieved something.

BAW: Do you think there is enough mental health awareness in society right now?

WP: No. There is tonnes of it, but it’s being presented in totally the wrong way. There’s this whole underlying ideology that there’s only two ways to talk about depression and that’s to be overly visual and graphic about it, or to glamorise it to make it seems cool. It really grinds my gears that it’s now not normal to be happy or if you’re depressed you can’t be happy at all. It’s bullshit.

Just because I put out this EP doesn’t mean I cry myself to sleep every night, I just mean to say that it’s important to be real about it all, and talk about it properly. I feel really passionate about the whole thing.

When I was at university I created a project based on the lack of acknowledgement of mental health issues in men. It’s a shitty thing and it’s hard to know what to say about it, but I think the progress is made by cutting out all the crap and myths about it.