Premiere: Midlife Pilot Explores Intricate Emotion On New EP, Telepathic
It’s not always easy to put into words exactly which emotion spurs an action, or vice versa. “They did this so I became mad.” “I’m happy so I did this.” Those sentiments are ultimately fantasies, over-simplifications that shroud the tangled web our emotional depth weaves internally and the sticky implications it creates for anyone who walks into it.
It’s within this web that we find Telepathic, the new EP from local band Midlife Pilot that seeks to unravel itself from the circuitous distress with the help of pensive songs built around resonating hooks and emotive lyrics. Four unique and affecting tracks make up this remarkable EP, which comes out officially on Friday, January 31st. Ahead of that release, The Auricular is proud to premiere the EP, available to stream track-by-track below, accompanied by individual analysis from the songwriter at the helm of Midlife Pilot.
Despite conceiving Telepathic himself, Casey Graham doesn’t quite have the answers one might hope to find in this record, as you can tell by this descriptive yet contradictory summary of the four tracks.
“These songs evoke wanting to be seen, but at the same time wanting to hide in plain sight. [They] also give the impression of being angry at someone, but also feeing remorse for them.”
It’s not that Graham is entirely without answers when it comes to his music though. On the contrary, Graham was able to zero in on the contrast between his 2018 EP Ready To Be That Way and Telepathic with poignant observations.
“Ready To Be That Way is a self-centered album focusing on being myself and ultimately being successful,” he explains. “It carries a positive message clarifying the idea that one can be whomever they would like to be. Telepathic shifts the mood to a more depressed, realistic state of mind. The idea that you are tethered to the decisions you’ve made formed the tone of the EP. Rather than continuing the positivity I felt with my first release, I held to the idea that I am where I am for a reason. I put myself here.”
Graham points to tracks like “Sink” and “Never Show” as conduits to this thought process, and continued saying that “lowering the expectations” of this releases allowed him to enjoy the songs as a casual listener as opposed to a creator, another way in which Telepathic departs from the music of Ready To Be That Way.
Still, there isn’t exactly a ten word phrase that best sums up Telepathic without being overly vague and cryptic, though one possible summation might lie in the album’s artwork. Graham commissioned Dalton Byerly to design the EP’s cover, giving the local artist an advance copy to listen to in order to inspire some visual depiction. Bryerly came back with a few ideas, including one that Graham ultimately chose.
“You can see this standing figure through the album text; however, the leaf covering her face gives you the impression you don’t know this person, and you never will. I don’t know how much this ties in with the idea of Telepathic. Nevertheless, it resonated with me.”
Released under the Midlife Pilot name, Telepathic serves primarily as a solo conduit for Graham, something he envisions might change on future recordings. “I hope to have more collaborations with the members of the band,” he stated, perhaps influenced by his recent work as a part of local math-rock band New Lions.
In particular, Graham singled out recent addition Will Janowitz on bass as something he’s excited for in the future. “Telepathic is Will’s debut, and I believe he adds a stronger bass root to the tracks. I believe Will’s influence in our song writing will strongly determine the sound of our next release.”
Graham, alongside Janowitz and drummer Joel Hollister, will debut this record in a live setting on Thursday, January 30th at Poor Boys alongside Twin Drugs and Majjin Boo. Today though, The Auricular has the audio premiere of the EP, alongside some further thoughts on each track provided by Graham himself.
“‘Away’ is a straight-forward track about feeling lost in a long-term relationship. ‘Woken up to a bed that’s not so relieved to be home and to know me’ is a line referring to the resentment and fear seen in one’s eyes when connecting with each other when waking up after a long shitty fight. These lyrics embody how I feel with the thought of losing someone important.’
“‘Never Show’ is a track about the lazy and incompetent feelings that come to me mid-week. Do I want to support a friend at their music, or art gathering? Or will I just sit home and drink? This track also sonically relates to the apathy I sometimes feel for living in Virginia. As the riff plays on, it never changes. I, [through] my vocals in the song, am the one expected to make a move. I also remember writing this song to the screensaver image on my television. The image showed a long and empty western road. While I was playing my guitar, the melody that came out was perfectly married to the image on the screen. I’ve definitely used this to shape the lyrical content of this song.”
“[This] is the title track to this EP for a few reasons. It was the first song I had written in a while. It was also the first song I had written for Midlife Pilot since our guitar player Mitchel Evan had left the band. I wasn’t quite sure where the band was headed next. This song was written about somebody I barely knew, but desperately wanted to. Written out of anger, jealousy, and confusion towards this person, ‘Telepathic’ really hashes out the personal issues I had with myself at the time. It’s one of the only angry songs I’ve really ever written. As I enjoyed this new aggressive sound, and was eager to produce more of it, I found that ‘Telepathic’ was the very outlet I needed to move on. As this tone dies out, it leads to a more calming track, and the resolution track to the album, ‘Sink.'”
“It was February 27th and I had just experienced what would be my second, and hopefully final head concussion due to a skateboarding injury. I had gone to the hospital and desperately wanted to see my partner Jaid. I was afraid of her overall disappearance due to a serious fight we had that very day. ‘Sink’ is a track confessing the absolute, love and need for somebody, even when it’s hard to come to that conclusion sometimes. As it was difficult to write this song with a head injury, ‘Sink’ really gave me an understanding of why I felt lost. Therefore it’s the conclusion to the album.”
Telepathic will be released on Friday, January 31st and pre-orders are available now at Midlife Pilot’s Bandcamp page.
Catch Midlife Pilot next in concert Thursday, January 30th at Poor Boys for the EP Release Show alongside local acts Twin Drugs and Majjin Boo. For more information on that show, click here.