- 27 Sep 19
We invited a chorus of artists, writers, musicians, broadcasters, sports stars and more to contribute to Now We’re Talking, a mental health campaign, run in partnership with Lyons Tea and Pieta House.
Conor Curley (pictured, far left)
I’m not sure if we’ve ever addressed mental health directly in our music, but it’s definitely something that’s affected us, coming from the background we do. We were working minimum wage jobs in Dublin, trying to realise this idea of us being musicians.
You’re setting yourself up for a fall even saying you’re a musician. At the time in Dublin, guitar music wasn’t seen as the coolest form of music. Electronic music ruled the roost and it was hard to validate what you were doing. I remember meeting a friend in a pub one time – he’d had a few beers before I got there, and he told me that rock and roll was dead and we should give it up. I remember thinking, ‘You don’t get it, yet there is something here’. Whenever there are naysayers, it’s hard to maintain that mental strength.
Whether it’s fellow musicians or people involved in our band, we’ve seen people go through the depths of mental illness. It’s so common now. Even in our personal lives, we’ve seen it with friends. It really is an epidemic. You have to keep yourself in check. You need a good support system around you, and keeping in touch with family is one thing that always really helps me. If you become too disconnected from where you came from, you lose yourself; it’s like being adrift from the shore.
I was talking to an agent a while back, and she was saying in the past five years or so, more than half of the bands she’s worked with have had to call it quits because of mental illness. It’s hard because there isn’t as much money in music now; you’re not making your money from selling records – you make it from going out and playing live.
If all that isn’t planned properly, you don’t sleep and your brain kind of starts to melt. It’s like in Fight Club when Edward Norton’s character takes too many flights. It feels like that sometimes. You’re seeing the same people in corridors and you’re standing in queues.
My generation might have been the last one before the really heavy social media influence kicked in. My girlfriend’s sister, and younger people, they talk about struggling with the pressures of social media. It’s a massive part of their lives – it’s completely new for society. People are finding it very hard, because there are no rules. It can really mess with people’s heads. There’s more than enough evidence of that occurring.
I suppose for us, being able to play music, and for people to want to hear it and have it affect them – not just in Ireland but beyond – that’s a very special thing. I try not to take it for granted.
Now We're Talking 2019
A partnership between Lyons Tea, Pieta House & Hot Press.
Let’s break the stigma and take the dialogue about mental health issues onto a new level
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