Get to know Personal Growth and his debut album, ‘Healing Process’
Like most people, Brisbane/Meanjin producer Personal Growth (aka Daniel Piggott) had a rough year in 2020. The pandemic, combined with the loss of someone he cared deeply about, brought on a slew of mental health issues and personal turmoil, resulting in what he described a “complete loss of purpose.” Lost and confused, he began to try and document the feelings (both good and bad) he was experiencing by messing around with production, and ended up with his debut album, perfectly titled as Healing Process. A deeply personal record, one which Personal Growth admits to pouring his heart and soul into, Healing Process is not only a tumultuous, exploratory, emotive and raw record, but an ambitious and ultimately impressive release as well.
Inspired by the likes of Shlohmo (even wearing Shlohmo‘s merch in his above press shot), Personal Growth‘s music opts to evoke a feeling or transport you to a moment. You won’t find any dancefloor heaters on Healing Process, although many of the songs do still allow for expression and movement. Instead, you’ll find a collection of songs designed to make you feel, think and invite you on a journey of reflection. Healing is indeed a process and there is no final destination, much like personal growth itself, and it’s this Piggott is able to explore on his debut album. Armed with a fearlessness to dive into what it means to heal and all the good and bad that comes with it, he equips himself with the knowledge that while his journey is his own, perhaps others are going through similar as well.
Not stifled by the constraints or traditional conventions of one particular genre, Healing Process explores many different sonic realms. From Personal Growth‘s formative house and techno stylings, to the eerie trudge of the title track or the exhiliarating, glistening DnB-flecked rush of ‘One of the better days’, to the electronica-meets-shoegaze and indie sounds of ‘It is what it is’; the sparse and emotive depth of ‘Forever1996’ and ‘Catharsis’ or the final moments of grounded bliss in the aptly titled ‘It doesn’t get easier it just gets manageable’, the breadth of genres and sounds included on this record open up even more possibility for growth and emotional exploration. There’s tension and darkness, relief and lightness such as that on ‘Connections’, and moments of intensity such as ‘Rather Be Gone’ bleed into moments of self-deprecating frustration ‘Be Better’. Ultimately, the tracks combine for almost like a guided meditation or a journey of introspection and reflection, and whatever your own process of healing looks like to you.
No one is an island, and even though 2020 might be over, 2021 has already brought with it its own challenges. The antidote to many of the things we all fell victim to last year – isolation, disconnection – is community, connecting with those around you, and being united by a common purpose. With Healing Process, Personal Growth delivers not just an impressive body of work sonically, but an extended hand or a shoulder to lean on to anyone who hears it. Here, we dive into his record a bit more to find out who he is, the journey behind Healing Process and what’s still to come.
Who are you?
Hi my name is Dan I’m 25 and I’m a Producer and 1/4th of an event crew called Southbound from Brisbane.
How did Personal Growth come to be?
I think it came from just wanting to promote a good attitude to life and give people something to think about themselves when they are listening to my music. I have always been a massive fan of artists who have concepts around their music and I’m just trying to emulate that.
What are we talking, vibes-wise?
Vibes wise for the album, I wanted it to feel melancholic I really like music that sounds sad but has an almost uplifting element to it. But for the rest of the music I’ve been making lately it’s really just going on what I feel like making at the time, whether it’s house, techno, or a hip hop beat. I’m a massive advocate for making what feels right at the time.
You’ve just released your debut album, ‘Healing Process’. You said it was written throughout 2020 which was a weird enough year for anyone, but also a year you lost someone you cared deeply about. Did you set out to create a record which represents this journey, or was it a natural evolution of just trying to make sense of things at the time?
Yeah, it was a super strange feeling to have the whole world basically be put on pause for like 9 months. I went through a pretty tough breakup at the beginning of last year which really messed up my headspace for a while and with lockdown being in place it was hard not having my friends there to distract me from it so I just started writing little bits and pieces. I don’t think I necessarily started out with the idea of writing a record, it just kinda happened naturally, a lot of the story I was trying to tell came when I started putting the tracklist together and it just had this flow of different emotions.
You touch on what you describe as a complete loss of purpose and also mental illness when talking about this record as well. Do you think, in a way, creating this has made you realign with a purpose now?
Yeah I was working in this job that felt like I wasn’t progressing in and I just didn’t know if I could see myself there for the rest of my life, so I made the decision to go back to Uni for Entertainment Business and that started in February of this year and it’s been amazing, it definitely got me out the rut I was in and I feel like I’ve found something that I’m good at. I’ve always had some form of battle with mental health and I think last year really shined a light on that. Lockdown was really hard on a lot of people, but it’s good to see people have come out of it with a lot of new energy and creativity.
You documented your feelings throughout the year, whether they were good or bad. This is quite fearless really, embracing both the light and dark which comes with loss and grief. Would you say this openness to explore all of your emotions led to the big mix of sounds we can hear on the record now?
Yeah, I had a lot of great things that happened last year as well haha, it wasn’t all doom and gloom so I just tried to document those feeling so I could listen back to them and reminisce on that feeling which was super cathartic. But with the good does come bad so I felt like it was appropriate to document that as well to learn from that and grow as a person. Yeah, I definitely think in doing that it’s made me more open to exploring different styles of electronic music, but as I said before, I just make whatever I want to and just go of feelings.
What does it mean to you to be able to share something so personal with the world now?
Super nerve-racking haha, just because it’s such a personal project there are always gonna be those butterflies in your stomach. But I really do hope this helps people deal with stuff in their lives, whether it be a bad breakup, a bad day at work, or anything else as long as you can tell yourself it is gonna get better.
What else have you got planned for Personal Growth?
Um, a few Southbound shows in the works. We are playing Arcadia so that’s something to look forward to. And a few more releases but besides that, not a whole lot just a tonne of Uni work haha.
Healing Process is out now.
Introduction by Emma Jones
Image by Brodie Charters