Northern Exposure are releasing a compilation album with our good friends at Well Suspect, raising money
for Help Musicians UK, a charity that helps people in the music industry deal with mental illness and other
We have selected a range of some the best signed and unsigned bands from up and down the UK to feature on the album including…
CABBAGE, THE SLOW READERS CLUB, SISTERAY, HOLLOW NOTHING, VIDA, SAP, THE VELCRO TEDDY BEARS, STRAY SCENE, JOHN MCCULLAGH, THE RISING, PAISLEY SUNDAE, PAUL FLETCHER &THE DUKES, VELUDO PLANES, THE GALLERYS, SCARLET, LITTLE LIAM, and LIBERTY SHIP.
We are also proud to say that Brian Cannon, (Iconic Oasis and Verve album covers) has designed our album cover.
I was asked recently why I choose Help Musicians UK as my charity for the Northern Exposure compilation album. My reply was simple, I have over the years suffered with depression, various eating disorders and anxiety and the only thing that got me through all that was music. This is my way of repaying that through helping musicians who suffer too. Help Musicians UK is the leading UK charity for professional musicians of all genres, from starting out through to retirement. They help at times of crisis, but also at times of opportunity, giving people the extra support they need at a crucial stage that could make or break their career.
Mental health in any industry or in general is never an issue to be taken lightly, it can affect us all, from long standing illnesses to acute breakdowns, no one is safe from it. In the music industry mental illness affects artists across all genres. Many artists have recently spoke out candidly about how it affects them. Given how hard it can be to talk about mental illness (which sadly in some places remains a taboo subject and causes uneducated people to judge sufferers) this is a strong and brave step by artists in the public eye.
They are without a doubt influential and that in its self helps break down any stigma that is there or still left.
In music, its unavoidable to see that mental illness and addiction has claimed the lives of several musicians who had so much more to offer the world. The psychological and physical pressures of careers as a full-time musicians never hit the front page, yet the symptoms are a hit with the media which is covering up (in a lot of cases) the true reason why they are spiraling out of control. The rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle is more often than not fraught with substance abuse, volatile relationships, and impulsive behavior, all of which are hallmarks of mental illness and addiction.
Sadly also, a lot of people also take a romantic view of mental health. They romanticise the mental struggles of people like Kurt Cobain, Ian Curtis and Amy Winehouse. Unfortunately, there is nothing romantic about mental health, and the ignorance around this problem has to be uncovered and discussed.
According to recent surveys, around 60% of professional musicians have been affected by mental health issues, 71-percent of those asked say that touring is a major factor in their mental health issues. In some musicians, touring for long periods of time away from friends and family can trigger varying issues, working unpredictable hours can take its toll, and that’s without the constant hard drugs and alcohol been ready available, quite naively from the outside, being a musician is often glorified as a dream job.
Then theres the other flip of the coin…… what about the musicians who are yet to become professional? The ones who are working full time jobs and gigging up and down the country in their spare time to pursue their dream, playing to empty venues, getting little or no pay? Any creative industry, is often laden with failure, dismissal and unjustness and many artists spend huge amounts of time on projects, that in a second can be dismissed as ‘not good enough’. If you’re a creative person, it is sometimes the case that you have an heightened awareness and a heightened sensitivity to more depressing thoughts and that can feed into problems.
“Actually, our evidence suggests that clearly it’s not just about fame, it’s not about people who are big names, but (that it affects everyone) from freelance musicians in orchestras who are struggling to make ends meet right the way through to DJ’s who are spending all of their time on their own going from hotel to hotel,” he says. “I think perhaps what the media and the press could do is focus on the working on the working musician as well as the stars of the industry, because it goes from the grassroots upwards.”
Richard Robinson Help Musicians
This is a matter that clearly has to be addressed, and hopefully by us all uniting we can highlight more awareness.
We are very grateful to the artists on the album and we asked some of them, why they got involved with the project and why they think its important awareness is spread….
“Our reasoning of getting involved is pretty simple, with the worldwide algorithm social media prison, we as a human race pray to every single day, we feel the pressures of narcissism and the smoke and mirrors glitter show of another’s very entertaining life as presented on the internet. What this creates is nationwide and international anxiety and the pressure is mounting creating more and more victims of mental illness. Also, as an ex care worker having direct experience working with people who suffer with mental health conditions, it’s a service that should always be funded and protected to give sufferers a better quality of life, and anyway we as band can contribute to that cause we will”
‘’Mental health is something that’s been undermined and neglected for far too long, it’s a disease that plagues all people and we shouldn’t fall victim to it in silence anymore. We appreciate the importance of music and its ability to communicate and emotionally connect people – Northern exposures beautiful idea of reaching out through this means seems an obvious way to take a stand and we want to stand with them’’
“We got involved because we know how it feels to work your butt off and how sometimes as a creative person, when that hard work seems to go unrecognised it can really effect your mental state/how you see yourself. Music is completely emotive – it’s all about feelings and so it takes up a big part of your emotions and head space when you’re creating something for a person to listen to and connect with, and that can give you massive highs when it works and you achieve what you wanted to, and also massive lows when you feel something you’ve done wasn’t good enough, or you are overlooked. Rejection is everywhere in this world and it’s difficult to keep positive.It is so hard to be seen these days when you’re starting at the bottom with nothing. It’s a roller-coaster. It’s easy to forget there are hundreds of other musicians out there striving for the exact same things you are and feeling the exact same way.We have met so many musicians over the last three years of us being in a band, all of them with their vices and issues and we wanted to show that we stand with them. It’s an honour to be involved with Northern Exposure and the other amazing bands.
We have to help each other out and be there for each other – Its important and Northern Exposure is giving us a platform to do that and show that we all stand together”
THE SLOW READERS CLUB
“We got involved as mental health is an issue that’s close to our hearts, “I Saw A Ghost’ is our clearest expression of that. Added to this we think it’s good to be part of something that promotes the best new music from across the UK “
The hope is that, with the music industry’s new willingness to discuss mental health, acceptance and support
may not be quite so far away.
The Northern Exposure compilation album is released on the 28th of April, pre-order will be available shortly.
We hold our launch party for the album at Nambucca in London on the 5th of May.
Acts confirmed to play so far are Stray Scene, Hollow Nothing, SAP, Veludo Planes and The Velcro Teddy Bears.
Tickets are available here:
If you are suffering with your mental health dont feel alone, you can get help and talk to:
Substance abuse help is also available at: