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Naol Gets Personal In His New Cathartic EP, ‘Dismal Summer’

From South Africa to Canada, the empowering recording artist and singer-songwriter Naol shares his personal battles with mental illness in a euphoric 4-track EP, 'Dismal Summer.'

Naol is so stranger to hardship. Having lost his father at an early age led him to endure serious mental health issues, getting diagnosed with depression and psychosis. After dropping out of school and sports due to an overdose, he looked to music for help. It didn't take long for Naol to find his calling when creating music.

Now, he's sharing his story of vulnerability, mental illness, and inspiration to keep moving forward with his latest EP entitled 'Dismal Summer.'

The project opens with a dreamy and chilling introductory track, "Entities of Hope," floating through our speakers with a soulful organ, sci-fi-esque synths, and airy hip-hop drums. Right off the bat, we can hear similarities to acts like A$AP Rocky and Kid Cudi through Naol's warm, tender vocals and honest lyrical approach. We're so impressed with the hazy yet punchy atmosphere this song offers; it's the perfect way to kick off such a personal, cathartic, yet well-rounded project.

Jumping into the EP's second track, "Frightened," Naol slows things down a bit with a woozy keyboard melody, reverbed drums, and a lush, downtempo pace. Listening to Naol's soothing and comforting vocals, he begins vocalizing what's keeping him up and night, what's keeping him "Frightened." This track offers a similar hazy atmosphere but takes a far more personal and emotional approach that any listener can relate with. We truly appreciate the honesty Naol brings to this track; he makes it incredibly easy to connect with his conceptual lyrics.

Moving onto the EP's second half with the third track, "Gone Too Soon," Naol continues that same mysterious and dark atmosphere with a unique synth arrangement and haunting instrument samples. This song chills us to the bone with Naol's personal lyrics that cover his thoughts and feelings when coping with the death of his father. Simply put, if you hear this song and don't feel like your heart is breaking at Naol's vulnerable and poetic words, chances are you're a heartless robot. The serene and dark instrumentals perfectly reflect all the pain and suffering in this piece.

Landing on the EP's fourth and final track, "Psychosis," Naol closes the EP on an incredibly relatable note. He opens the song with the dreamiest instrumentals that range from smooth hip-hop to modern lo-fi. As he begins to express himself, Naol touches on feeling like the whole world is against him thanks to the voices in his head. Toward the song's end, he accepts that he doesn't live an ordinary life but questions why he was chosen to endure such strife.

God, the universe, whatever you believe in, tests the strongest people with the hardest challenges, and Naol's situation is no exception. We were genuinely moved after experiencing such an honest and personal project like this, and we only hope you have the same experience.

Find Naol's relatable and diary-esque EP, 'Dismal Summer,' on all digital streaming platforms.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, Naol. We've truly never experienced something so personal and intimate as your recent EP, 'Dismal Summer.' When did you begin feeling inspired to create this emotional and heartfelt project? What led you to create it?

To be honest, I had plans to work on an album with a friend of mine since March. The name of the album was supposed to be "Remember That You Must Die," an English translation of the Latin phrase "Memento Mori." I planned to discuss themes such as loss, poverty, mental illness, and many other things that happen in our mortal lives. However, I discontinued the project and decided to release an EP called Dismal Summer, which stems from the pain I experience in life through my medication (Entities of Hope), daily thoughts (Frightened), loss of my father (Gone Too Soon), and psychotic tendencies (Psychosis).

Did you create the 'Dismal Summer' EP entirely solo? Or did you have any other ears help you navigate through the process?

Yes, I did. The songwriting, production, engineering, and even the recording were done by me at my home in either my room or kitchen. I had some input from my family and friends, but the creative process was entirely done by me.

Considering the 'Dismal Summer' EP is incredibly vulnerable and emotional, did you face any challenges being so open when creating your songs? Or was this easy for you to do?

I think I was scared initially of what people may think or what future employers would say, but to be frank, this is my life. I can say my truth and my story and hopefully allow others to resonate with it as well. I feel like my life experience is not extraordinary, but rather a slight inspiration for those to keep going regardless of the incessant noise they hear.

Which song from 'Dismal Summer' was the toughest to create in terms of emotions? How were you able to get through the process?

Creating all the songs came naturally to me. Having the title/theme of the song thought up before making the beat or writing the lyrics allowed me to have a focal point. I wrote what correlated with it and tried to evoke my thoughts in a way that mean something and make others feel what I feel. My emotions directed the process, but it didn't hinder it, if you know what I mean.

What do you hope the 'Dismal Summer' EP does for listeners? What impact do you want the project to have on your audience?

I hope my EP will align with those who do experience the words I mentioned within my songs. This is my first EP with vocals, so I'm not sure how big of an impact I can make, but if I can garner an audience who enjoys my alternative style of music and resonate with my lyrics/story, then I think I've done my part.


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