Zia Kalyan

After teasing his new Gone with the Wind EP for the last few months, Canadian artist Connor Phillips finally shared the project on Friday.

The newly released, four-song offering includes Phillips' previous standouts such as "Highway Cigarettes" and "Russian Roulette" as well as the new song "Sit Down Don't Cry," a song which delves into the singer's grittier, hip-hop inclinations. 

We chatted with Phillips about the new project, the importance of teamwork and making music that is so personal.

Hear the EP below, followed by our Q+A.

What is the inspiration for Gone with the Wind and what does that mean to you?

Gone With The Wind isn’t about running away, it’s about running towards. It’s about eliminating who you’re not, in hopes to find yourself where you need to be.

Knowing who you are is hard. It’s much, much easier to know what you’re not, and I trust that as you slowly begin leaving behind everything that isn’t you, eventually you’ll find yourself exactly where you need to be.

You’ve emphasized the importance of the team and community. How big is that as an independent artist?

Everything. To create the full package, it takes a village. Can’t begin to explain how grateful I am for the crew of humans who helped with everything surrounding this project and even more thankful that they’re all my closest friends. When you work with people who are better than you in areas, it holds you to a standard. You feel this obligation to bring your best to the table, every time.

I think it’s good to have people in your life that make you want to clean the house before they arrive.

How hard is it to put so much of yourself into your music and be so forthcoming with your songwriting?

First and foremost, thank you for listening/watching and recognizing that.

It took time. Where I’m from, men don’t necessarily share their feelings with one another, let alone the entire world; it was always much easier to bury them in dirt and grease. Eventually, I’ve found that the things inside my head desperately needed an outlet if I was to ever enjoy my time here.

When it comes to releasing these pieces of myself to the public, is when things start to get difficult for me. I have to drag myself to the finish line as I’m often left with a handful of very vulnerable pieces of work, and I always struggle to navigate “marketing” these pieces of me. These records feel incredibly close to home and it’s tough for me to imagine introducing myself to the world with them. Jesse once told me that “the music industry needs more of everything you're doing. It needs more authenticity, more rawness, more honesty.” And I think that’s merely the only thing that pushes me to actually release some of this stuff.

Is it safe to assume the visuals were conceived together as part of a story?

They became a story. Jack and I created "Downcast" in one day and we ended up shooting the video with Kye, Zia and Jay later that evening. The project wasn’t even in thought at that moment.

From there, it began unfolding. I won’t say too much as I’d rather let people have their own perception, but there’s definitely some hidden gems tucked in there.

As for "Russian Roulette"—I will say though—don’t kill yourself. Life is so precious. If you aren’t happy with who you are, just know you can always kill off the parts that no longer serve you. You can become someone new any day. I feel so different from the person I was when we started this project. The world doesn’t have perfectly carved crevices for each and every one of us; some of us are forced to build where we feel as though we belong. Keep building.

What comes next?