The 9-5 grind can be tough when you’re a Night Flower
Night Flowers release their dreamy debut album this month. Created in various London basements and moonlit bedsits Wild Notion is a ‘romantic, yearning album that is not afraid to wear its sparkling, pop heart on its sleeve’. This comes as no surprise as we chat to drummer Zebedee Budworth for Going Through The Emotions on his experience with anti-depressants, moving cities, music and meditation…
Hey Zebedee, what are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on coming off antidepressants for the first time in about two years! It’s been pretty tough, although I’ve found some things that help when life isn’t getting in the way too much. Save that, I’m currently on a course with the Prince’s Trust to get some help in setting up a company to run music workshops in a variety of settings. I’ve also just eaten my breakfast while writing this because I’ve got a pretty hectic week with lots of gigs after the course each night! Oh, and Night Flowers are putting out an album really soon (though my work on that was done a while ago now).
What has been your biggest life challenge and what did you do to overcome it?
I’ve worked in a lot of jobs that threw a hell-shift my way but I’ve always made it through. Also moving cities is a really tough thing. I’m based in Sheffield now after giving up on London. A lot of people love the big city but I’m too hippie I guess and like the air and the pace and the space and the price of Sheffield. I moved there initially on a bit of a whim because the music scene is a beautiful and organic one, with lots of communities around who all work together to create spaces and scenes.
How important has music been to your mental health?
Music has been massively important to my mental health. It can be the most affirming thing. When I play with other people I can have deeper conversations than I’d dream of being able to have. When I sit at the piano at my mum’s I can hear the nuances of my emotions pour out. Being on the kit onstage can be the highest point of my life, and there is of course a bit of a lull on the comedown afterwards.
End of the Road was a pretty big gig-comedown for me. We’d opened the main stage on Sunday to the only downpour of the weekend. It’d been so sunny and beautiful for the rest of the festival! We went fearing for the worst (who would brave the pissing rain on a Sunday in September to come and see lil’ ol’ us??) but a not-too-small and dedicated/heroic crowd had gathered and were great! A beautiful sea of ponchos smiled back at us as we played.
I suppose a major factor in my last decline in mental health was having the focus of my life shift to a 9-5:30, which left me running on empty when it came to the evenings and in need of an escape on weekends. I fell into the trap of getting super drunk on Friday night then lying in bed for the whole rest of the weekend in a pretty dark spot. The weekend after Bowie died I just laid in bed and listened to the radio.
I think some people love the 9-5(:30) life style and excel in it, but it left me with no time, energy, or want to play. I think everyone should ask themselves from time to time is this making me happy? Is this what I want? Is this what I’m working towards? Is this helping me grow? Am I better because of this? What has lead me here?
What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
I’d wake up fairly early to a fairly light breakfast. I’d maybe read after meditating in front of my SAD lamp before going to a yoga class. I’d play on my mum’s piano before walking the dog in the peaks. I’d then talk to my dad and see my brother and sisters and their family all round at the farmhouse my folks used to rent for some kind of Sunday lunch. I’d go to Nellies (in Beverley) with some old friends, then TAAE with some new. I’d play a gig with Night Flowers, then settle down for an evening of recording with The Silver Reserve. At some point I’d love a motorcycle ride to nowhere in particular. I’d also like a cycle ride, possibly along the canals of Hackney.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I’m pretty grateful that I’m still here. I should’ve died in a car crash about eight years ago. It was a head on collision at 60 – our car barrel-rolled through the air and over a hedge and a ditch and landed on its side. By chance we missed every other car and branches and came out hella shaken but all in one piece. The guy in the other car had fallen asleep and couldn’t recall the crash. He was a medicated 88 year old and immediately handed in his license when he realised what had happened.
Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
Know thyself. Which is really hard. I’m still learning every day. I think I took a backseat with life for a couple years and forgot about the joy in learning and exploring. Knowing thyself is definitely something that’s a tough one to crack. To me, anyway. Some people seem to have it sorted.
What do you eat to stay healthy?
When I’m at home I mainly have all kinds of fresh and vegan foods (I’ve got maybe three meals that I switch around). Anything that involves minimal effort. I think food isn’t as important for me as it is for a lot of people (I can sometimes see it as something that is required to keep going). When I’m out and about I switch to a pescatarian diet. It’s to avoid any hassle really, and home is where I have control ha. My lifestyle can be quite nomadic at times, and I often don’t have time/money to locate the falafel joint.
Who was your best friend at school? What was the funniest thing they did?
I am one of the extremely lucky people who’s ended up with two best friends. Simon seems to have done a ridiculous caper every time I see him. Then, Alex and I formed our first band in secondary school and we played all weekend every weekend in the garage of the house in the middle of nowhere where I lived. We learnt all the tricks of playing live together, and won many a battle of the bands at school. We even supported Eddie and the Hotrods. There was one time when we were 13-14 and at the local under-18s rock club that he jumped and head-butted an exit sign trying to impress a potential suitor and ended up receiving medical attention from the staff. It worked though! The potential suitor had been suitably impressed.
What is your favourite motivational quote?
Here’s one from Tom Waits: “You have to keep busy. After all, no dog’s every pissed on a moving car”.
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
This would depend entirely on the situation as to the advice I’d give. Hmm. I suppose some mainstays would be to breathe! To open up and talk about it. To write down your feelings. To break down your problems. To have a walk in some nature and blow away the cobwebs. To take some you time. To not forget about the things that you love. To ask for help. To treat yourself. To embrace your friends. To work up a sweat. To meditate. To be here now.