LIFE’s new record, “Picture of Good Health” is one of the best records I’ve heard this year. Mainly because it’s direct, intimate, true and different. If you’re unfamiliar with it, I highly recommend it. Also, I had the pleasure to interview Mez Sanders-Green and ask him not only about their record, but also about his views on mental health – a topic very close to my heart. Enjoy.
Your second album “Picture of Good Health” is very personal. Most bands/musicians go only as deep as writing about love, heartbreak and occasionally grief. I can imagine, it was hard to open up about your struggles and mental health.
Mez: I found it therapeutic writing about my personal struggles. It gave me relief and a space for me to process my thoughts. I found love whilst writing and now the pain seems to have gone.
Describing your new record you’ve mentioned, you think all of you had a breakdown at some point while making this album. It’s only your second album, was it hard to decide on a topic?
Myself and my brother share lyric duties and one thing we have stayed true too is the fact that we will always write about what is going on in the present moment. What’s going on for us. What’s going on for other people. This way I think our lyrics resonate more and can be dated to specific themes and events, which is vibe when you listen back. I guess we like to write a commentary on everything in the present and current surroundings so this can be broadly political – like on our first album – or more personal like on the new one!
Your song “Thoughts” stayed in my memory for a while after listening to it, especially because of the repeated “I was thinking about sex, I was thinking about booze”. You also mention food and death, if I’m not mistaken. Why those words?
FOOD. SEX. FOOD. BOOZE. DEATH – it’s how the world spins.
In the same song you also mention various social media. Do you think social media are good, bad, do they help or harm their users?
I think in general social media can be dangerous. It’s driven by a ‘like’ culture. As a youth worker from Hull (my hometown) I’ve seen how unattainable beauty is glorified by social media platforms and despite what they say it has the counter affect on confidence building. It can result in anxiety, bullying, isolation, depression, grooming and all sorts of fucked up mental health issues. It also occupies your time; time when we could just be human and ourselves.
One of the most draining aspects of being a musician is touring. How do you cope with it?
The best way to cope is to have fun, look after your self mentally and physically and make sure everyone in the band are on the same page as you. Talk to one-another and be best friends. Then you can go out there and believe in your music. Touring is ace.
In an interview with DIY magazine you’ve mentioned working for a local youth organization called The Warren. Are you still involved in any projects there?
I finished at The Warren a week-ago however I will be staying involved in a couple of projects one around music and mental health and one about talent development of young artists and industry knowledge called 53 Degrees North. The Warren was/is an inspirational place and very much needed considering youth provision across the UK is being squeezed and flushed down the toilet. It’s disgusting how the world looks at young people, we need to take a long hard look at our governments and learn to empower you people not isolate and segregate them through top-down services and traditional education.
We are past days when life was easier, but what do you think would need to change in the world/society to help people cope with mental struggles and prevent suicide?
We need to create openness and space for healthy dialogue. We need to remove stigma, taboo and labels. We should be proud of individualization and embrace it. We should encourage love and hope and not project fear.
Do you have any advice for young musicians out there?
Believe in your art and never give up. Look after yourselves. And tear it up!
You can find LIFE’s new record here.