“One of the hardest things has probably been trying to overcome OCD”
The Goon Sax are a trio from Brisbane whose brand of awkwardly transcendent guitar pop recalls early Talking Heads, The Moldy Peaches and Aussie jangle pop masters The Go-Betweens. We caught up with singer Louis to discuss living with OCD and losing a sense of self.
What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?
I am listening to Deceit, the second This Heat record a lot. I’d always liked the first one but hadn’t given the second a go until my friend put it on at her house, and I liked it even more than the first record. I’ve also been listening to the three EPs compilation by Mystic Inane. I’ve been reading the Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis, it’s a pretty entertaining read. Also Gaseneta Wasteland by Osato Toshiharu. I am watching Neon Genesis Evangelion and Outer Limits at the moment. Classics, I guess.
What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?
I think one of the hardest things has probably been trying to overcome OCD which I have had all my life. But I have come up with some cheats like avoiding all repetitive patterns in my life so that I don’t get obsessed with them being in certain way. Things like alternating which shoe I put on first and things like that. It’s been much harder with things like writing songs though, because I spend virtually all my time doing it. Just obsessing over little bits, and writing lyrics 15 or 20 times, and then almost always being unable to actually accept what I have done which has made me feel like I am wasting my life all the time because I throw almost everything away. A good way to deal with this has been showing songs to people I really trust I guess, Riley and James are alright, and then they force me to play them even though I can’t accept them myself. I’ve also been trying to just force myself to stop and realise that songs are a sum of a lot of parts and some of the little bits I obsess over won’t drag the song over the line of good and bad.
What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
It’s nice to have lots to do. Maybe swimming and having a really good sleep afterwards. Not having to worry about how things will happen or come to together, seamless transitions, and plans working out. Sleeping in the car on an unavoidable trip is probably the ultimate action for this.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
Food and water – those are pretty important and I am lucky to never have had to really worry too much about how I could access them.
Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
Living without too much thought to things, just doing stuff and moving on and feeling like I can exist properly within time without feeling like I am holding my head out a car window. It’s kind of hard to think about because I don’t think it’s something I have ever really experienced, so to me it’s just a long list of things that wouldn’t be anymore rather than an idea of what ‘ace mental health’ would actually feel like. I guess my goal is to lose a sense of self, in the way of seeing no distinction between myself and anything else. I accept this as a concept and know it to be true, but it’s something else to see the achievements and actions of all forms of life in equal measure and with equal care to your own because you can’t feel the difference. I hate competition and jealousy and would love to completely eradicate those from my mind. There are a lot of things I think we accept as concepts but don’t feel with 100% certainty all the time although we think we do because we agree with the idea.
What do you eat to stay healthy?
I could definitely eat much healthier than I do. I mainly just eat sandwiches but I do put greens on them?
Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?
No definitely not. I walk a lot seeing as I don’t drive, I probably end up walking several kilometres every day but it’s not really planned and I don’t keep track of it really. Tracking your steps kind of freaks me out, I know they’re doing it anyway. Swimming in summer is really good too, there’s a big reservoir surrounded by bush right near where I live so I go there quite a but when it’s warm.
Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground everyday and loving it – can you share a similar memory?
Yeah definitely, I grew up in a street with lots of kids my age so I was doing that everyday really. I remember playing kick the can. That comes up in the Twilight Zone I was watching the other day. I didn’t realise that it was a widely spread game outside of my friends. Someone probably convinced me they made it up
What three songs lift your spirits?
Rama Rama by Alice Coltrane is a really good one, it’s the first track of her divine songs album which I listen to before going to sleep. It’s so good that being the first song it’s usually the only one I’ll hear before I’m off. Fire of the Mind by Coil also really really lifts my spirits, it kind of confronts everything in a way that is sad but makes you feel really alright. Third one, maybe maybe Total Control by The Motels or Original Sin by INXS, those are great pop songs that get me bouncin’, probably not completely happy but hopeful in some way.
What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?
“Do unto others as you would have other do unto you,” can you beat it? Also this is not a self help book or a very interesting answer but the myth of Sisyphus changed my life in a really positive way when I needed it back in high school. Sorry I am giving such serious and not very funny answers but mental health is really important and something I struggle with and care about a lot, and I think sharing in a constructive manner (which I hope this is) is helpful for everyone.
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
Focus on the split second between breathing out and breathing back in where your body’s really still and you’re not really moving at all.