Caught In The Wake Forever is the work of Scottish based Scotland’s Fraser McGowan. The latest album Against A Simple Wooden Cross was born after Fraser suffered a complete mental breakdown last year, following a life-long battle with chronic anxiety. For six months, Fraser immersed himself in this album and poured everything that he had left into it. At the start of the project he had absolutely no confidence left in himself and as the music began to take shape, he began to tread the road to recovery. We caught up with Fraser to ask him about his music.
Where did the name “Caught in the wake forever” come from?
It actually comes from a line in the TV Series Nip/Tuck. It’s so long ago I cant remember in what context but one of the characters said something like “you make one mistake & you’re caught in the wake forever”. I wrote it down at the time in my notepad because i thought it was an interesting quote & when i was thinking of a name for starting this project I stumbled across it & it seemed to fit really well.
It never entered my mind to use my own name to be honest, I suppose a band name gives you something to hide behind.
What made you want to be a musician?
I wouldn’t really call myself a musician, I can do a bit of everything but none of it particularly well. I’ve always been interested in music though. My Mum & Dad sent me to piano lessons when I was young but I didn’t learn to play the guitar until I was about 26, so I guess I was a bit of a late starter. I just kind of fell into it really. It was never a long term goal, recording & making music is kind of like a diary to me, it helps me process all the negative stuff.
How does performing solo compare to being in a band?
I haven’t performed live as Caught in the Wake Forever yet, so I don’t have any comparisons I’m afraid. I hope it would be a lot less stressful though, touring & fronting a band I found pretty hard going.
Your latest album is extremely personal, is it hard having such a personal album out and about for the whole world to hear?
In some way all my releases have been extremely personal but I guess this is the first one that wasn’t really that cryptic, its a bit more emotionally upfront & less hidden in metaphors. It was a bit of a gamble & yeah it is a bit strange but people have reacted extremely positively to the record, which has been fantastic! I couldn’t have asked for a better response!
Where did the title “Against a simple wooden cross” come from?
It came from how I felt at the point of recording the record. When I became ill last year & couldn’t work, I felt like I was treated very harshly by various friends & family members. I was unwell, I genuinely couldn’t help my behavior & my actions. At the time it kind of felt like I was being persecuted for sins that weren’t my own, so to speak, hence the title.
There’s quite a lot of atmosphere in the songs, was it hard to get the various environmental sounds to work the way they did?
It wasn’t hard, that’s the kind of stuff I enjoy, it was a bit time consuming though. I had over thirty different field recordings I had taken on holiday, it was just a bit of trial & error & editing & perseverance. I knew what I wanted to create so it was just a matter of patience.
You have quite a distinctive vocal delivery, how did this come about?
Ha! That’s a polite way of putting it, I cant really sing to be honest, so I just do what’s comfortable.
Your album has already received a lot of critical acclaim, does this make you feel any pressure for your follow up music?
I’ve never been in this position before, so its a bit odd yeah, I think it could add pressure if I let it. But with “Against s simple wooden cross” I just did what I wanted to do & didn’t really care what people thought about it, it didn’t really matter as long as I was happy with it. I think that’s a good train of thought & one that I’m going to keep applying to my writing.
Where is the photo on the front cover from?
The front cover is of a road that leads to a farm behind where I live, it was taken by my good friend Chris Gowers.
All proceeds from this album will go to Crisis Counselling, what made you decide to donate to this charity?
I’ve spent a lot of time this last year using the counselling services at Crisis & they have just been fantastic. It feels good to do something for them, as they have done so much for me!
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Not a lot of artists admit to this, but I do yes. I tend to spend a lot of time on mixing & production so once the album is finished I’m usually a bit fed up with it. After a few months however I will sit down & have a listen from time to time, I enjoy my music, I think its good, that’s why I make it.
What other music do you listen to?
I listen to an insanely varied range of music, for example this last week I’ve been listening to albums by Povarovo, Black Elk, Fudge Tunnel, Dean McPhee, The Darlingtons, Omega Massif, Paul Goodwin, Jacob Bro, Sam Reynolds & Spheruleus to name a few from my mp3 player. It changes a lot.
Now that the album is out what do you plan on doing next?
I’m not sure, record another album I guess, I have the follow up already written, mostly in my head or as rough sketches & demos, it may take a while to get right but I’m looking forward to it!