Tim Chilman has been the helmsman for his own voyage. Exploring various genres growing up, he brings in a textural faction of each of these experiments in his music. From all-out rock to neofolk compositions, there is little he doesn’t dip his toes into. His latest EP is called Rewilding, his debut. Let’s see what presents he’s brought for us.
Abandoned Frontier is the precipice in the cathartic journey Tim has taken. Redirecting his energy to a calmer, serene soundscape-the palette is just as invigorating. With themes of nature leading the whole project, the ambient themes allow the listener to be transported. The strings are a gentle caress, while the acoustic solo leads.
Themes of nature evoke different emotions in different musicians. How do you think your ability to gather inspiration has changed since you started?
Writing to me has always come from a certain energy. In my younger years my energy was a lot more chaotic so the music I wrote came out that way and I probably thought I had more to prove. These days that energy is different as I spend less time in chaotic places and more time in places that allow me to unwind and recharge, like nature.
When musical ideas flow I become more focussed on where the song needs to go and the imagery and vibe of it becomes increasingly present, and therefore I become more inspired by what that is and start looking for it in everyday life. Reconnecting with nature the past few years seems to have become a strong theme behind my latest music.
Through heart and pain
The second track is Guy, an emotional mural for Tim’s close friend’s reprised obituary. Using simple progressions yet playing a colourful memory over them, he keeps a narrative alive in the best way possible. The pauses are calculated, yet are a peek into the emotional soul that is dealing with the heart. The electric guitar half is just as exciting, Satriani kind of tone dominating the haunting background.
It is complex to manifest emotions through instrumentals alone. What do you see as the key to surreal compositions?
Yes and no. I am used to writing music for singers, so if I have an idea that could really suit a singer, I may have to dig deep to keep it interesting without one. Sometimes inspiration and creativity appears out of nowhere though and songs just write themselves. I’m still trying to find the master key to the ultimate composition, but it is becoming more important to be true to myself and let the music be what it will be.
I decide a song is finished when I get to the point where I feel like I am no longer listening to all the parts that make up the song, but listening to a full piece of music without any hesitation or slight discomfort.
Tales from the Yukon brings in timber from various parts of the world to bring an earthly feel to the track. With added percussive elements, this is the levitating element that touches the light, journey of nature with the gentle cascade of the composition. There is introspection in this track, layers are an unhinged creativity that makes it one of the best on this EP.
The process of creation
Amalgamating global soundscapes seems to be a niche speciality of yours. How do you decide the core and secondary sound of a track?
I mostly focus on the bare bones of the song at a very basic level first to get the ideas flowing, and this serves to trick myself into thinking I’ve written a song. From there, I have a blueprint to flesh out and strengthen those core ideas. This makes it easier to have fun with the layering and harmony (secondary sound) because I know there is a song there regardless.
If there are layering ideas I can immediately hear I might quickly record them in case they disappear from my head, but usually if I dilly-dally on those for too long the creativity can get too interrupted and the song never gets finished (which is more common than I care to admit).
This process allows for a fresh and unique sound from Tim Chilman. It isn’t that his fingertips are doing the magic-but the syncopation between his mind’s ear and listening ability produce something special. Whether it is the job of transporting you to Yukon or the woods you visited as a child, it comes with an ability to look through the haze.
Exploration coming to aid
The intensity of Guy & Celestial Dream are now radically different. What pivots you to these different sub-genres of composition?
At the end of the day, I have a great appreciation for anything that sounds good, and I will write whatever I like the sound of. I grew up in a musical family being exposed to a lot of different genres and have performed and studied a lot of different styles from country, blues, jazz, rock, metal, funk, Latin etc. so anything might present itself depending on the energy. ‘Guy’ is a tribute to a close friend who passed away in 2020, and it was written in the final hour of his life. I can’t really explain how that happened, but that song appeared virtually immediately after I found out he was about to pass.
The polymath’s dilemma
Obviously this was a really difficult time, hence the sad mood it evokes. ‘Celestial Dream’ was another song that came together in a fairly short space of time, and I recall being fairly pumped up and in the mood to flex my chops’ haha. Naturally, my heavy metal background was channelled.
Both songs incorporate techniques found in many of the styles mentioned, but I don’t actively think about this when writing, it’s mostly about pursuing what feels good or necessary. Your roots will always bleed through regardless.
Racing cloud is the G3 tour from Tim Chilman, brought to your house speakers. With lucid clarity, Tim and Chris Zoupa make a shredding melody that travels quicker than any other track on this EP, yet carries a levity and performing style that highlight their many influences. Skiing through the track like it’s a bunny hill, Tim Chilman hones his skills as a metalhead to bring about a welcome tonal change.
Are there any interesting collaborations on the way? Anything special you’d like to convey to your listeners?
‘Racing Clouds’ – the 4th track on my EP ‘Rewilding’ has a collaboration with YouTube shred master and Teramaze guitarist Chris Zoupa. He did a guest solo at the end of the song, which was really exciting because we had played a show together back in 2014, and we always shared a deep appreciation for one another.
Means to an end-and beginning
So it was cool to do something with him again. I would like to thank anyone taking the time to listen to my music and who reads this. If you like what you hear and want to support my efforts, consider purchasing the EP through my Bandcamp because it gets expensive to do this stuff without bandmates!
Closing this revelatory chapter with Coming of Spring, Tim softens the edges a little once more for an acoustic effort. With echoing, booming bass punctuations, the flutes, guitars and strings come together in fable like harmony. Each element fits like a puzzle piece, completing a larger, attractive picture. It is one that encapsulates nature in one complex image.