There’s a lot of pressure on young men before we even delve into the actual problems that are going on internally.
Sabre – born Michael Stafford in Hackney, London, lays his feelings bare with the audiences he draws.
Celebrated for his deeply personal songwriting, Sabre sheds a harsh light on the systemic failures propping up violence, bigotry, and austerity across society.
These narratives are often plucked from Sabre’s surroundings.
His emotional response to the everyday drives the songwriting process.
Moments where I’m inspired by something or taken aback by something or angered by something.
My inspiration comes from that place, he says – it comes kind of instantly.
The song referencing Grenfell was written the week after it happened, and the songs about domestic violence and the treatment of women in society, came after a friend’s personal experience.
‘Glory,’ reflects on the struggle to keep head above water in the face of hardship.
The seven minute short film features young men openly discussing their battles with mental health and toxic masculinity.
“It was just simply interacting with young men and speaking about emotions,
These truths intimately articulate the challenges that young men can experience.
Isolation and disinterest can feel all too common within communities,
There’s nothing that can help me other than somebody talking to me, one man shares.
But generally people don’t want to talk, and they don’t want to hear about problems.
Though Sabre says he feels lucky to have grown up with music and encouraging parents, themes within his video still ring true to his personal experiences
Young men are still branded with, “you can’t be unhappy” or “you can’t shed a tear,” he contemplates.
or the man of the friend group, or the man around your girlfriend, or whatever it may be.
There’s already pressures on young men to not express themselves in the free way that we all should
Does Sabre think that other artists are being encouraged to take that step and speak about mental health alongside their creativity, or are we seeing another hot topic that could fizzle out?
I’d hate for anyone to jump on things because they’re hot topics,” he explains. “I think that’s inevitable sometimes with these topics that are of the time – you’ll get people who jump on it to be like, “Yeah, I support it” but really, within their actions and their music, they don’t.
“Then at the same time, we’re only now starting to put some time and effort into spreading awareness.
It should be as promoted as much as getting a six pack.
If we spent as much time as with these work out videos, diet campaigns, and put some time into that.
And what advice does Sabre have for those going through a tough time, maybe experiencing feelings like those shared by the young men of North Dublin that made such an impression on him?
There are so many battles that we’ve got going on internally that to batter ourselves with thoughts like, “Oh, I shouldn’t feel this” is just an added struggle to the whole thing,” he answers after a moment.