© Photography Sophie Wonfor
On Spill Kid, Canadian musician Harley Alexander uses his song writing skills to bring a difficult subject to light; sexual abuse and the experiences he encountered when he was younger. This is his story.
Like many artist Harley Alexander uses his art to bring to the table a very personal subject. A process that can either bring mental health difficulties, or quite the opposite, help you move forward. For Harley, it was always going to be the second option.
The songs found on Spill Kid weren't meant to be released. It was more a therapeutic practice for Harley to bring them to an art form; a way to deal with trauma. Spill Kid is all about processing this trauma and as you can imagine, it gave birth to a deeply personal record, but one that is definitely worth a listen. Here's why...
"Building up the bravery to acknowledge being raped with more directness was hard but there have been so many people in my life and in social media that have inspired me to be more real and more visible with my story"
This album is not so personal it becomes awkward to listen to. The intimacy can quite often be found within the melodies and the music itself, with Alexander letting his rough ideas become songs the way they were meant to be, channeling the raw and natural emotions without the need to replicate other ones. Continue below for the 3rd interview, which was also something of a therapy for the singer: "thank you for granting me the space to share my thoughts and story here", he writes in an email to us. Let's begin.
Harley, the last time we spoke was back in 2015...// We last spoke a few months after I began to acknowledge my history of sexual abuse and really begin to unpack my trauma in a direct way. There’s been a lot of side quests and whatnot since then but the main thing I’ve been doing the past 2 years is learning how to integrate the parts of myself, my psyche that have been murdered by the assaults that I lived through and continue to learn how to live with pride and integrity as a survivor, be accountable for my actions and behaviours, find harmony within myself and be able to better contribute to the the greater healing process of humanity.
"Making music and being public and direct helps me stabilize my own psychological and spiritual foundation"
Given the theme of this album, how was the whole experience of making this record? // The experience was educational and life-affirming and at times, very, very challenging. Building up the bravery to acknowledge being raped with more directness was hard but there have been so many people in my life and in social media that have inspired me to be more real and more visible with my story. It’s helped me embrace myself with less shame and fear and add my voice to the choir of survivors initiating change and healing.
Did you feel like you had to make this record to, perhaps, move forward? // I subconsciously chose to act out of love a long time ago (so thankful for that) and even though I can get triggered and taken over by victimizer-energy, making music and being public and direct helps me stabilize my own psychological and spiritual foundation and enables me to operate in a more accountable and safe way that is based in the present reality and not out of past trauma.
It makes it easier for me to have more space for others and not get defensive when I screw up and I think this is key in the process towards living harmoniously with others and with ourselves. Making Spill Kid was just one aspect of how I move forward but it’s definitely been an important one for me and hopefully can be helpful for other people too.
Do you think it's easier, especially these days, to talk about sexual abuses? // For me it’s easier. As my own healing process develops and I feel more consistency safe and grounded, the more I’m able to witness all of the powerful, brave people around me leading the way, being vocal, being heard, and making shit happen. Lido Pimienta & Nick Dourado are two phenomenally inspiring people in Canada doing just that: working relentlessly to dismantle the patriarchy and the systematic racism that this country was built upon through colonization.
Fighting for a platform for survivors of every kind and speaking fierce truths, inspiring myself and others beyond measure while also subsequently taking to task those who have not yet dismantled their own conditioned beliefs, behaviours, and actions. They also play amazing music together in the Lido band as well.