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Neil McLeod


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Release - Fear

Neil MacLeod is an artist who is. steadfast in their vision. Today, Friday the 15th of March, he releases his new single ‘Fear,’ a watershed moment in the ongoing artistic evolution of the 24-year-old Ōtautahi/ Christchurch born New Zealand singer-songwriter, producer, engineer, and artist. ‘Fear’ is a result of this process. Sonically, it is an amalgamation of MacLeod’s instinct and skill, and lyrically an exploration of the subconscious.


Premiering on Pilerats, 'Fear' is described as "enchanting, with atmospheric synths and string plucks Neil’s ethereal vocals, before tastefully booming kick drums and snarling bass lines enter the mix. Slowly building across the track’s just over three minute runtime, MacLeod manages to pack a few aural twists in a poppy song length."

“Like many people, I’ve allowed fear to influence my life,” says MacLeod. “At one stage, I developed quite a fearful relationship with my dreams. I’d been exploring dream interpretation and lucid dreaming and found myself increasingly anxious about going to sleep. In retrospect, I can see that I was just too close and obsessed with the whole thing. I was reading meaning into my dreams without any help or support, and it was messing with my sense of reality. This song gets into all of that. In essence, it’s exploring the fear that I might lose myself on the journey to finding myself.”

It’s a song that showcases MacLeod’s unique sonic identity. The sharpness and fullness of the soundscape paired with the haunting fragility of MacLeod’s vocals creates a hypnotic tension. MacLeod muses on the recording process.


“I made the instrumental first, following my nose until I felt inspired to sing. The first verse flowed out of me in a freestyle - melodies and words. I never changed the verse after that. The chorus flowed out, too - although only in its melodic form. I put the song away for a while, and over the course of a year or so I slowly figured out what my subconscious was trying to say in those freestyles. Once I’d figured that out, I finished the song in a matter of days.”

For MacLeod, the visual world of song holds acute importance, and the visualiser accompanying ‘Fear’ is mysterious, beguiling, and a taste of the things to come from MacLeod which wait in the wings. “The video is an introduction to the wider visual world of my next EP ‘I Need a Battle’. The floating object you see is a vessel, from which reflective, gooey black liquid escapes. These are symbols which play an important part in the story. For now, simply soak it up.”


Nourished by a musical diet of atmospheric electronica artists such as Bon Iver, Burial, James Blake, Floating Points, Kiasmos, Arca, and Björk, MacLeod is well on his way to establishing himself as a pillar in the electronic music landscape of Aotearoa. His EP We Have Known Lost Days (Remixed) was nominated for Te Tohu

Hopunga Puoro Mariu (Favourite EP / Mixtape) at the 2023 Student Radio Network Awards, and received recognition from outlets such as Dazed, Acid Stag, and NZ Musician.


Reflecting on the upcoming release of ‘Fear,’ MacLeod says “it feels like a relief. Once I’d completed the music it became a labour of love to build the visual world that surrounds it. I can let this song go now, and slowly move on to the next thing.”

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