Breathe In, Breathe Out is the debut solo single for Newcastle's Ben Gillies and its title is a poignant one, not only for the times but for the man himself.
It is a reminder to live in the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, and is a mantra of sorts for the former Silverchair drummer.
It's something he had to do to finally release music of his own, rather than just talking about it.
"I'm definitely guilty of not being present," he tells Weekender from his home in Newcastle.
"You're either looking forward or you're looking back, right? You can be so worried about shit from the past, or what's going to happen in the future, but it doesn't really matter because all that really matters is right now."
Gillies has been working on new music for the past five years. Why so long?
"A friend of mine compared me to that painter who never finished any of his paintings - was it Michelangelo? Anyway, he said to me 'You've always got stuff coming out and it's not actually coming out' and I'm like 'No, I'm not that guy! I'm gonna do it, it's gonna come out'," he says, laughing.
"I just felt like it wasn't ready. I don't know, maybe I wasn't ready. Maybe a part of me was avoiding it.
"You can overthink things and you can pull things apart and analyse why you are doing this or that, but if you just ask yourself how you feel about something, you usually get your answer."
Going into the studio with Byron Bay-based producer Jordan Power, originally from Maitland, Gillies found a collaborator who, he says, knew how to push him to get the best out of each track and also gave him the freedom to explore, to the point that some songs were created in the studio.
"Jordo is a Maitland boy. He's great, and we have a really good working relationship," he says.
"He pushes me creatively. I think a lot of musicians will relate to this. You can have a couple of good ideas for a song, and then you procrastinate and run away from it - that little voice is going 'Oh it just needs another part, it needs something else'.
"It's very easy to run away and start a new idea.
"The good thing about Jordo is that he pushes me to keep exploring and fully finish ideas, and pushes me to places that on my own I might avoid. You have to be open to being confronted. If you're confronted with something and you face it, that's when you get the biggest reward."
Gillies sings and plays drums, piano and guitar on the tracks. He also called on musician friends Scott Aplin, music director for The Voice who at one time played keyboard in Silverchair, and Grinspoon guitarist Pat Davern.
"I did all the recording in Byron Bay, there's a real creative scene up there - a real vibe with musos," he says.
"Pat lives up that way and we needed guitar in a couple of songs so I just called him up and said 'You keen?' and he popped into the studio and worked his magic.
"As for Scott, he's incredible, a really talented pianist. He's one of those musos that just knows the right chords to go to. I love working with him."
In Breathe In, Breathe Out, contemporary sounds meet classic 1970s rock moments in what is a subtly crafted anthem for our times. It's a hint of what's to come from Gillies.
"The time just felt right. I felt like I was in a really good place musically, and that I'd found this clear direction," he explains.
"I think I had been struggling for a while to find the direction I wanted to go in.
"I had a lot of writing duties in the early days with Silverchair, then Dan [Johns] took over a lot of those duties. We were all still creative and had creative input but if you're the main writer you are able to purge some of those ideas, all that stuff that you are thinking about.
"So I reckon I lost a bit of confidence in my songwriting for a while there.
"Maybe it's an age thing, too, or an experience thing. Whatever it was, I got to a point where I'm just really happy with what I'm doing and I'm excited by it."
Breathe In, Breathe Out is described in promotional material as "folk rock". How will this sit with diehard Silverchair fans?
"People like what they like," Gillies says, nonplussed.
"Music is so subjective, you know, and if there's a certain sound or genre that you are drawn to then that's fine. From the Silverchair experience, we were always going to evolve and change because we were 14-year-old boys when Frogstomp was recorded. There was a whole lifetime we were about to live.
"You need to explore, to push your boundaries, otherwise you just get bored. So I think it's fine if people get stuck on a certain sound, because we all do.
"If the songwriter or artist is just satisfying their own personal needs in terms of creativity, great, that's fine. If they start worrying too much about what other people are saying or writing, that can become a distraction.
"I can see both sides. If Led Zeppelin had come out with a country album, I wouldn't have been overly happy about it. I would have been, like, 'What are you doing to me?'."
The Silverchair story is indeed a remarkable one. Three teenagers from Newcastle - Gillies, Daniel Johns and Chris Joannou - who rocketed to fame on the basis of a song, Tomorrow, and an album, Frogstomp. That was in 1995. Twenty-five years ago.
Tomorrow was the number one song in Australia for six weeks and Frogstomp became the first debut album by an Australian group to debut at number one.
Importantly, Frogstomp broke into the Top 10 is the US and sold more than 2 million copies there.
Albums Freak Show (1997), Neon Ballroom (1999), Diorama (2002) and Young Modern (2007) followed. All topped the Australian charts and earned the band 21 ARIA Awards.
That's a lot of success, a lot of fans, a lot of expectation. It makes going solo all the more confronting.
Gillies describes it as "going the full monty".
"For me, music has always been about doing it because I love it. Writing music is almost a need - if you're a songwriter or a musician, there is this need," he explains.
"For a little while, when we were in Melbourne for Jackie, I probably wasn't doing as much music as I should have. I could feel myself getting a bit crabby because I wasn't satisfying those creative urges.
"All the extra stuff that comes with it, like the Silverchair beast, all that stuff is great, but it's not the driving force."
There's no plan to release an album just yet, although the tracks have been recorded. Gillies is happy to share his music song by song, when the time is right.
"The way the music industry and the scene is these days, you can do that," he says.
"I feel like a lot of the time, particularly as an independent artist, you can put a lot of time and money and effort into an album and people remember the single.
"All those other tracks that you put your heart and soul into never see the light of day.
"It's also a decision based on the strength of the music.
"I feel like the bunch of songs that I've got lined up to trickle out over the next how-many months are all really strong in their own right and they will all get their time to shine."
Gillies says wife Jackie is "going really well" since quitting The Real Housewives of Melbourne earlier this year to focus on starting a family. He sounds happy to be back in his home town.
"I'm here by choice. I'm always in Newy by choice," he says.
"It's got nothing to do with COVID or lockdowns or whatever. This is where we want to be.
"Life is good. My old man, he's retired now and he's a bit of a zen master. He's not a yogi or anything, he's just really chill.
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