The Light at the End of the Tunnel: An Interview with Nominee

13 years is a long time to keep a secret, especially from your loved ones. You don’t want to exploit the secret or make it seem like the it’s coming out as a form of a gimmick, but sometimes your secret needs to be exposed for you to finally come to terms with it. For Chris Mclelland, mustering up the courage to talk about his secret was the first step to creating seven songs for Nominee’s Drag Me Out EP.
Mclelland was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17. But that’s not what this story is about. This is the story of a man and his bandmates who overcame obstacles to become a beacon of hope to others in the same situation.
“I didn’t want to write about it and have people perceive us as that band that only writes about mental illness because there’s so much more to us than that. That was the main thing that stopped me. That and just putting it all out there and barring all that truth about my personality out there. I definitely did second guess it a couple of times but I’m so happy that I did it and got it out there because I feel so much better,” Mclelland said. 
Sharing his diagnosis with his bandmates was an automatic weight off of his shoulders, and once he started writing it all started falling out. “They’re incredible people, they really are. They deal with so much for me and they do it with a smile on their faces. I couldn’t be in a band with more understanding people.”
However, there was a moment of writer’s block.
For almost a year, the songs being written were good – but they weren’t great. Mclelland’s personal attachment to each song was strong and putting out anything that he wasn’t 100% behind was something that he never wanted to see the light of day. After working with Joseph Milligan of Anberlin and Kory Gables, Drag Me Out couldn’t have turned out any better, according to Chris. The outcome of such hard work and honesty was a major confidence booster in sharing this story.
At first, the EP was planning on being released as You Came with the Sun. The song of the same name was the easiest song Chris has written in his career thus far and naming the record after it felt like the right decision. After writing the rest of the record, a theme of codependence and accepting help from others emerged and that sparked the name change. “Not everybody has to feel independent all the time,” Mclelland said. “To get through some of the hardest things in your life, most times you get through that because you’re dependent upon somebody… Life is about having companionship and having someone when you’re in a bad situation to drag you out of it. That’s how we came up with the name of the song and we all at once realized that was really the theme of the record. Sometimes you just need somebody to drag you out of that situation.”
Drag Me Out emits strong emotions and, most important, emits a sense of comfort to those who have been in similar positions. It’s all about the light at the end of the tunnel and as long as you see it, you’ll get to that comfortable feeling of dependence and independence.