Music has always been an escape for me, and I’m sure it is for millions of people across the globe. Being a drummer, having an outlet to release pent-up emotions physically has been a godsend throughout my life. Music has helped me clear my head in times of chaos, and also discover plenty of things about myself I may have never even realized. For artists everywhere, very few things provide such peace and solace as music. For Matthew Bannister under the name ‘The Beautiful Fear’, music pulled him from his own darkest depths and helped him break the cycle of addiction.
WHO IS THE BEAUTIFUL FEAR?
According to Bannister, his artist name is “a self-created term, attempting to describe the terrifying yet beautiful process of change one makes in life to try to find a better version of oneself. The term also operates as a moniker and vehicle for my songwriting.” Bannister is six years sober this month. His commitment to sobriety coincides with his biggest release as an artist. This Friday, his second album, “The Waltz of the Moonshine Blind,” will be released on all streaming platforms.
This new album follows a strict structure, as told by Bannister, with each track falling into a category of either “manic” or “depressive.” He does this to convey the “alternating fleeting highs mixed with the valleys of anxiety one experiences in withdrawal.” Bannister’s goal was to emit the feeling of “missing something like you have endlessly lost your wallet and your identity is in there somewhere.”
THE JOURNEY TO HIS NEW ALBUM
His life has a musician has taken him from his home overseas to Miami and Brooklyn, as he took part in the early developments of New York’s hardcore scene. Bannister was formerly named one of the ‘World’s Top Creatives Under 40′ by Wallpaper Magazine. Bannister’s 2016 release, “One”, was named a top 10 album of the year by magazines such as GlamGlare and Cougar Microbes. Since then, Bannister has spent his time writing and producing his newest work while battling through seemingly insurmountable anxieties. He explained his journey in an interview with Northern Transmissions:
“The work shows that there is hope. That there is a way to slip outside of the circle, the dance, the charade, the Waltz. For anyone struggling, it’s additionally hard to break out of the cycle due to all the stigma that surrounds the condition. Because it is largely seen as a flaw and weakness of character, it’s hard to know where to turn and who to talk to. Asking for help feels like you have opened a door you can’t ever close again. It’s terrifying. I hope that the album simultaneously sympathizes and offers a sense of hope and path. That hope can be for anyone in the circle of self-abuse, whether that be a substance or a relationship.”
Bannister has released two music videos for the lead singles off his new album, accumulating over 30,000 views in a month’s time.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS ALBUM’S MESSAGE
This release for The Beautiful Fear will also line up with National Recovery Month, which begins September 1st. This month is enormously important in the recognition of the trials and battles that people suffering from addiction go through, and how we must support those individuals as they make progress against their health condition. You can read more about this important annual month of awareness here.
The album deals with themes relating to the ego, deceit, guilt, shame, faith, denial, sexual abuse, and ultimately: redemption. Building a rich, contemplative mosaic from the shards of the past into something redemptive is indeed what Matthew hopes that ‘The Beautiful Fear’ can offer listeners, especially during these times of nervousness toward an uncertain future.
“The Waltz of the Moonshine Blind” releases this Friday, August 28th on all platforms. To keep tabs on Bannister’s music, be sure to check out his website, Instagram and YouTube. Check out more of my articles here.
About the Author/s
Jack Oliver is an aspiring writer, and is so thrilled to be part of The Digest's team. He also works as an editor at GenZ Publishing. Previous accolades include a published play by Lazy Bee Scripts ("Coming of Age").