“I had to break out of this cycle, which was tough”
Sam Banks is lying sideways on his bed scrolling through his phone. I’m on Crosby beach stood by a cast iron statue of Antony Gormley. It is one of a hundred looking out to the vacating shoreline. But this one has collapsed sideways and is almost, but not quite lying down on the wet rippled sand. Sam sees this image I’ve posted and texts: ‘That is me’.
We are both having a bad day and trying to feel better. He is the bassist for Oh Well, Goodbye – a post punk band that ‘find subtle textures and undertones that subside beneath the chaos’ like the sand beneath my shoe-gazing feet with ‘bittersweet musical movements that border the edge of collapse’. I tell him, ‘We can’t have you walking around sideways with barnacles.’ He says, ‘All this talk of sideways and barnacles has got me out of bed. I’m going to the beach.’ I say I’m proud of him and he says, ‘For what, getting out of bed?’ I say, ‘Yes, I love bed it’s so sideways’.
The thing about those 100 statues is when you stand and look out it makes you feel an inner still and like you’re in formation with them. When this interview came back from Sam and he said he was lonely it made me feel less so. Maybe he was that statue after all. It made me smile. Here he is for Going Through The Emotions…
What are you working on at the moment?
Several projects at the moment; some mixing for friends, doing some freelance work through ‘The Music Consortium’. DJ sets seem to be my thing nowadays… In a writing capacity, I’m attempting to juggle a couple of collaborative projects with friends, I’m just trying to have a little fun with music at the moment. ‘Oh Well, Goodbye’ being the most notable of projects, that has been ongoing for a few years now, the EP ‘Affinity: Part II’ is close to completion, that band has a place in my heart. It resonates with me on both a personal and emotional level. Oh Well, Goodbye coincided with ‘Hail Hail Records’ which has unfortunately came to a close, got something extremely exciting in the pipeline, chichis soon to be announced…
What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?
A crippling sense of loneliness, an immense sense insecurity and anxiety. This is with me everyday. These emotions crept up on me throughout my years at university, which inevitably led to depression. This was due to several reasons. I decided to self-medicate and abuse myself, I didn’t feel like I was able to cope for extended periods of time. I had to break out of this cycle, which was tough. This included taking risks and getting out of my comfort-zone. A brief spell travelling helped me clear my head and formulate a sense of clarity. Routine is a must.
I always have the urge to express myself creatively, listening to records and reading books obsessively also allowed me to have control over these feelings.
What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
Sitting down on my garden bench with a nice novel in hand and a strong black caffeine fix is my perfect morning. Sounds silly, but it allows me to grasp my purpose for the day and organise my priorities. I’m an easy dude. I like to be productive as possible. I always make plans for the evening, maybe a few beers or two with friends.
What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?
Oh, all kinds at the moment. Whatever mood hits me on any given day. The three records I have listened to today for example… ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’ by Courtney Barnett, ‘Singularity’ by Jon Hopkins and ‘Romantic Works’ by Keaton Henson. The new Death Grips record has some absolute bops, and I’ve also discovered a band called ‘Launder’, check ‘em out. I’m currently in-between reading several books, get back to me on that, and as always usually switching between the SYFY and Horror channels at 2am. I love trash 90’s horror flicks, they are comical and always blow my mind.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
Loved ones. Precious. People who are there for me emotionally, who love and support me on a daily basis. Sincerely, thank you, you all know who you are.
Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
A sense of purpose.
What do you eat to stay healthy?
A true passion and hobby of mine is to cook wholesome, nutritious homemade vegetarian food, each and everyday. I always make a conscious effort to set aside time, each and everyday. No matter how chaotic or stressful.
My fondest memories of late, are cooking food with my girlfriend at stupid o’clock, we usually fill the kitchen with a horrid soundtrack, laughter and a wee tipple or two, that has helped me a lot these past few months. I love it. The little things, eh?
Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?
I’m not going to lie, I’m a tad lax on the exercise front of late. However, I am extremely active, walk everywhere, cycle from A to B, that kind of thing. If I’m in the mood, my preferred option is to go for a late night swim, that also helps clear my head.
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?
Absolutely, football was a massive part of my life growing up. In the street, on the playground with a snide sponge ball, five-a-side in the ‘Pits’ and every single Saturday and Sunday morning. Thanks for putting up with me, Mum and Dad, especially on those horrid winter mornings.
What three songs lift your spirits?
Anything by Deerhunter, especially their track ‘VHS Dream’, ‘Some Velvet Morning’ by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood never fails to project fond and positive memories and I’ll have to go with ‘Pink Frost’ by The Chills, that song in particular has been the soundtrack to my life over the past 12 months, both good times and bad.
What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?
I tend to find solace in songwriting and soundscapes. Deciphering the meaning behind certain artists struggles in that sense provides me with motivation from time to time.
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
Do something that is familiar, something you feel you have control over, something you enjoy. Be it songwriting, exercise, meditation or reading. More importantly, surround yourself with loved ones, express what you are feeling, talk, don’t shy away.