Feature: Calmness gives us the track by track lowdown on new album ‘don’t ask if I’m okay’; see new video for opener ‘pretend’ here

Calmness, the Lisbon non-binary artist, aka Gui Galão recently released their album ‘don’t ask if I’m okay’, which details the breakdown of a relationship, the aftermath, new love and new expectation. Throw in a little regret and tragedy and mask it all up in melancholy indie pop, and something rather special seeps out.

We spoke to Gui, and they’ve given us a brilliant track by track guide to the thoughts, stories, inspirations and everything else that went into the album, which came out at the end of last month. In addition, they’ve released a beautiful video for the albums opening track ‘Pretend’ today.

The grainy beauty of the video gives it this earthy, personal feeling, as the song details the heartbreaking dissolution of a love affair, wondering if friendship if possible.

1 – pretend  – The album starts with the lyrics “here we are again / another reason to write a sad song / as if i needed more / he let me go for good now”. I wrote this one about a tragic end of a relationship and still thinking we could be friends even if we were very toxic for each other – ‘say we’ll be friends again / maybe we’ll just pretend’. At the end of the day it’s a song about letting go of something that’s no longer good for you.

2 – back to you featuring antematterz – After the experience from the first song, we see ourselves gravitating back towards the person. A song about trying to find closure but seeing them move on so quickly without you, making it harder. I wrote this song with my best friend antematterz when we were both going through break ups. Michael Todd Berland (Fox Academy) helped me name the song.

3 – care – This one is looking back into the relationship and seeing all the bad things that I ignored before. Finally starting to get some closure.

4 – lie – In this song I’m singing about trying to hide new feelings from someone new. Having just left a 3 year relationship, my expectations were high for whoever came next. Unfortunately i was going too fast and had to hide feelings developed quickly from that person ‘you asked are you okay today / and with a loss of words i nodded my head yes / i said yes i had to lie (x2)’

5 – twin soul – Here I reminisced about my 3 year relationship from a healthier perspective. I think about all the good things and how I miss the little things. It’s a thank you note for all the good things.

6 – angel – Angel is a song about someone breaking the boundaries that they put on me. I was in love with them and they just wanted to be my friend but kept going on with the mixed signals and calling me by names they said we couldn’t call each other. It’s about being in love with someone emotionally unavailable who still craves your attention and treats you differently.

7 – don’t ask if i’m okay – Following the last song, it starts to hit that this person really doesn’t like me the same way that i do even though we keep growing closer and closer together. It explores the feeling of loving someone who’s hurting you and you don’t want them to know that. My good friend Rae (tofusmell on Tiktok) does background vocals on it!

8 –  sandy –  Sandy is a song about wanting to take care of someone who’s just been through a rough time and showing then you’re there for them

9 – cusp of oscillation – This one is a love song about loving someone new who makes you want to get out of your comfort zone.

10 – Clairvoyant featuring Fox Academy & antematterz- I wanted to have a song where I would see into a possible future with my partner at the time. I wanted to explore how it would feel to be apart from someone you love that also works on music, so you’d naturally have to tour separately. It’s looking through a window into the possible future and guessing how that would feel, while still being incredibly proud of them for doing what they love.

This song is co-produced and co-written with Fox Academy, featuring vocals from them and antematterz too

11 – before you leave – Wrote this song when a relationship was at risk of falling out, hoping it would somehow make them stay.

12 – 2016 Tour CD – This song describes the last moments as a couple with my most recent ex boyfriend. We met up and we knew we were going to break up, so instead of getting it over with, we decided to make use of the last moments as a couple. The song goes through the last few hours before we broke up, where everything was perfect. “i dont know how to feel about it / when it all went down so well / before it ended we still kissed just like before / and listened to the 2016 Tour CD”

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