Indie multifaceted artist Austin Harms opens the door to the pitch-dark room inside his inner depths of his mind with the release of newest EP titled, “YOU’RE NOT ALONE”. The self written and produced project features all his previous released singles,”depression”, “lighthouse”, “cedar lane”, the extended version of “everything” in addition to the new track “stay”. The EP shares a very human story of Harms’ struggles with his mental health as he slowly unpacks the past trauma that has taken his mind hostage for many years. 

Harms’ courage doesn’t waver as he lays out the broken parts caused by his depression for the world to see in order to help others who are not ready to face their own inner demons yet. Earlier in the year we spoke with Harms about why he decided to write this project from his most exposed, “One of the main forces behind writing this project was my desire to write from my most vulnerable place, as challenging as that was for me. I didn’t know how to talk about what I was going through at the time and felt like I was going through everything alone. The goal was to put those feelings into songs to reach people that felt a similar way in hopes that they would feel less alone.”

The five song collection gives a gut wrenching first hand account of the never ending struggle of living with depression and the twisted thoughts that constantly bleed into the psyche. Listening to the EP from beginning to end provides an intricate and ambitious artistic story that commences with the sound of a cassette tape being inserted on a cassette player. It then jumps to a slow burning music production conveying the hard to swallow emotions being examined on first track, “depression”. Harms does what artists rarely do when they speak on mental health issues, he does not glamorizes or exploit his struggles, instead he offers a sense of community by exposing his blistering wounds. “YOU’RE NOT ALONE” is a powerful statement to use as the title for a project, it oozes comfort and hope to anyone who needs to hear it. 

The second track, “lighthouse,” continues his painful exploration of the repeated cycle of being stuck in the infinite violent waters of a depressive episode as Harms’ piercing vocals pleads for a ray of hope. As “cedar lane” begins, Harms stops running from the chaos spinning in his mind and unpacks it. The paralyzing pain is heard in every note on the turbulent groundbreaking soundscape as he masterfully breaks the original melody into an eerie, unsettling music production.

An unmistakable moments displaying Harms’ artistic growth is on the track,”everything.” The song directly addresses a heart wrenching moment in time tackling mortality. When the melody ends, Harms channels the severity of his lowest moment using both silence and siren sounds to shift the sonic mood off the rails. As the song continues the seconds are filled with a deafening silence until suddenly music begins quietly, then sirens begin playing louder and louder, signaling danger as the listener is filled with suspense and anxiety over what is to come. Harms openly describes when he lost all hope with vocals soaked with sorrow, crushing your heart as you listen. When the intensity is too overwhelming, he declares, “YOU’RE NOT ALONE” to himself, to listeners becoming a resilient message of the whole project. 

Harms wraps up the EP with “Stay”, a song that soaked with optimism to finding his way to healing his open wounds. He’s is on a quest to healing by reexamining the trauma he has been carrying through therapy and being on medication. There has always been a stigma in society, that an can only make an impact with their music when they are suffering inside, when in reality if more artists spoke on the harsh realities of life in their art, their listeners wouldn’t feel like they are the only ones in the world feeling broken inside. Harms paints an intricate painting of what living with depression looks and sounds like. The bravery of Harms is the openness he describes the uphill battle he continues to fight everyday to find inner peace, leaving his story open ended to a much desired brighter future.

Listen to the “YOU’RE NOT ALONE” EP below:

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Photo Credit: Jonny Villegas