My debut single ‘Frustrations’ is out now, and I’m so excited to share it with the world!

‘Frustrations’ is my first studio-recorded track, recorded at The Nest Studios with dark orchestral band Birdeatsbaby, with drums by Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls. The Dresden Dolls were a huge influence on my writing style, and were one of the bands that inspired me to teach myself how to play the piano at the age of 16. Having Brian drum on my debut single feels serendipitous, like everything has come full circle.

Frustrations is about seeing a world of injustice and inequality, and watching people with the power to make change refuse to do so. I wrote it after a series of instances where I was told that I was being difficult, or idealistic, or naïve for trying to change things for the better – I kept hearing empty platitudes from self-proclaimed allies like “it is what it is” as a way of avoiding playing their part in making things better, or worse, actively harmful comments. So many people, leaders, and organisations claim to care, but when it comes down to taking meaningful action, they refuse to challenge the status quo – because ultimately, social justice is a badge they like to wear for social capital, not something they really believe in. Watching that happen over and over can be exhausting, and that frustration can fester inside you until you’re burned out. But we have to dig deep and find the strength to keep going, in the face of ridicule and opposition.

This song is for those of us who’ve spent so long feeling exhausted and sick of fighting a world that wasn’t built for us – but we got up and kept fighting anyway. This song is for those of us who try to resist injustice and apathy, even if only in our small daily actions. This song is for those of us who long for something more – for ourselves, for the world, for each other.

‘Frustrations’ is now available to stream or download on all platforms, and you can find it here: 

SpotifyBandcampDeezerAmazon MusicApple Music  

 

Creating the song

Recording this song was so much fun – I spent a few days in Brighton with my producer Mishkin Fitzgerald recording pianos and vocals, and writing some cool BVs. We recorded the track during the day, and spent the evening eating vegan cake, listening to djent metal, and exchanging ghost stories. Mishkin is a fantastic producer who totally got my vision for this song, and it was such a fun creative process to bring this song to life together. Afterwards I had a video call with Brian Viglione from his LA studio, where we discussed ideas and jammed the song over video together (it was amazing, and I felt pretty starstruck)! 

Here’s a little video I shared on my IG with some behind-the-scenes footage:

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Catherine Elms | Songwriter (@catherineelms)

 

A few weeks later I went on a shoot with photographer Scott Chalmers to do the single artwork and promo photos for this release. I feel pretty awkward in front of a camera, but Scott did an amazing job and I’m so pleased with how these photos turned out. Here are a few alternative single covers that I experimented with:

A personal note

I’ve talked in the past about why creating music is a big deal for me – in short, I’ve struggled with social anxiety and self-confidence for years, which has made it difficult for me to create and release music publicly. I took a few years away from making music during a mental health crisis, and started returning to it shortly before the pandemic. The pandemic forced me back indoors, but I used it as an opportunity to heal, and refocus on my core desires and values. Through that soul-searching, I returned to music, finished writing my album, and finally, finally, committed to sharing these songs with the world. 

It can be difficult to write about your mental health issues without sounding dour or self-pitying, and so I’m still trying to find that balance – I suppose for me, this song is important because it represents the first step on a journey out of the dark, a journey towards the place I’m meant to be. 

This song also feels (unfortunately) prescient given all that’s going on in the world right now – Russia/Ukraine, the cost of living crisis and austerity here in the UK, trans rights being rolled back, constant attacks on abortion rights and LGBT rights in the US… We live in a world that doesn’t care for us, and during its worst periods every day feels like a fight, like a bare-knuckle brawl that leaves us bruised and exhausted. In the midst of all this darkness and burnout, a song that I created a few months ago comes out, a song about my anger and sadness and overwhelm in the face of an uncaring world. But it’s also a message to keep going, to get back up and keep fighting. If you’ve struggled with these feelings too, I hope the song speaks to you, and offers you some comfort that we’re not alone, and we are on the right side of history. 

 

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‘Frustrations’ is now available to stream or download on all platforms, and you can find it here: 

SpotifyBandcampDeezerAmazon MusicApple Music  

 


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