Following the release of his debut EP Billy Is Dead in the fall of 2022, Tearing Up, the project of musician and creative artist Graham Caldwell, returns with his debut LP, Heavy – out now.
The forthcoming record is not “easy listening” —
“I wanted this record to hurt,” Caldwell writes, and that motivation was largely inspired by a series of personal struggles that he experienced from late 2017 to early 2020, including the loss of his father. In those hard times, the people around him helped him push forward as the production of the record became a part of his grief process. “October of 2017 to January of 2020 basically felt like one very, very, long year. But even before that, the record was always going to be called Heavy,” he writes.
In addition to finding solace in human connection, Caldwell also found himself turning to music in less of a “this album saved my life”- sense but more so regarding the weight that music can carry: a recognition of the way music can heal, but also hurt. Heavy comes from his personal place of pain and loss and is his version of the hard but necessary truth-telling that comes from making art.
“Billy Bragg’s ‘Sexuality,’ Dixie Chicks ‘Wide Open Spaces,’ Andy Shauf’s ‘My Dear Helen,’ Cindy Lauper’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Carey’… Even writing this list makes me misty. At the real root of it, I think I just wanted to write music that could make someone cry. Just something that would make a person feel something, realize something, or remember something they thought they’d forgotten. I hope I’ve done that with this record.”
Graham has also shared the official video for Heavy’s “Said Something.”
On “Said Something,” specifically, he said,
“Losing someone is particularly strange because in life, we get used to things being temporary. We know we can never step in the same river twice, but this is assuming there will always be a river. When the river runs dry, it’s quite a shock, and given how often we were used to stepping in it, we find ourselves asking: where the fuck is my river?
Sometimes, these things happen because of an unknowable number of circumstances: Anyone who’s ever been in a car accident will know about having the thought of ‘if I had just left home 3 seconds later…’ or ‘if that woman driving had checked her blindspot…’ or ‘if that guy in the truck had pulled over sooner.’ Sometimes things happen and the reasons are too complicated for any one of them to the be sole reason for the thing that happened.
But then again, what if one of them was? What if one of them actually was and you could never actually know for sure? What if one of those things was something you did, unknowingly, absent-mindedly, that set off a chain of events that would ultimately end in tragedy? You will never know, but of course that means you’ll never be sure either.
Suicide is difficult because it blames both everyone and no one. The person who dies is both perpetrator and victim. It absolves everyone and yet also condemns them. You are both at fault and totally powerless at the same time, waving between the two feelings like a metronome. When I lost a young family member to suicide, many of us were completely dumbfounded as to why this person would choose to end their life. What made things worse was how they left no explanation, leaving us to try and piece together whatever their reasoning was, an endless circle with no real answers.
Time moves on and to some extent; our family’s been able to find some sense of closure. We accept how we’re powerless against the past and keep moving, for better or for worse, it’s all we can do.”
Connect with Tearing Up:
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.
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