Confronting grief with Trevor Powers

“Unplug from everything and sit in silence for an hour.”

Confronting grief with Trevor Powers

By Rebecca Durband

American musician Trevor Powers, formerly known as Youth Lagoon, is an artist whose work is centred around everyday coincidence, nature and collaboration. His solo album ‘Mulberry Violence’ is released in August. We spoke to Trevor about loss, depression, and his love for British comedy.

What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?

I’ve been pretty consumed by the new NIN – Bad Witch.  Also been listening to a lot of Billie Holiday and Kate Bush. As far as reading goes, I finally gave in to Harry Potter; it only took two decades. Good Lord. I can’t get enough. It’s hilarious being so late to something that you literally can’t talk about it to anyone. I’m on Order of the Phoenix right now, and Harry is starting to turn into a pr*ck. I love it. I was on a Ray Bradbury kick before starting all those and that actually served as a really nice transition into the Potter world. Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of my favourite books of all time. As for watching – the Safdie brothers’ Good Time destroyed me. I really connected with that movie in a powerful way. Beyond brilliant. In a different realm, I never stop watching The Office. That show has been on repeat for me every day for the last 12 years.

What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?

One of the biggest challenges for anyone is losing someone close. That’s happened to me a couple times, and it’s not something you ever really overcome as much as it is something that you merely learn how to process. You discover how to let their spirit and who they were become a part of you. Outside of that, my biggest struggle is definitely depression. That battle is ongoing because it morphs so often. Just when you think I have it conquered, more troops start flooding down the mountain. One thing I’ll say that has changed though is that fight no longer affects my confidence. Those two used to be directly correlated, but through the years I’ve gathered enough tools to be able to separate them. That also makes it harder for people to detect when I’m struggling internally because, on the outside, I seem fine. Sometimes that’s a gift, at other times it’s a curse.

What have you learned about yourself over the past five or so years?

– I’m only fulfilled when I create art without compromise.

– Every person has an innate need to be listened to and depriving them of that is not only selfish but soul crushing.

– If I don’t travel and read consistently every year, I’ll be the same person the following year.

– The gateway to showing someone they are important is learning their name.

What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?

I detest plans because I have no idea what I want to do on any given day until that day arrives.  So far as a perfect day, I’d say an open one.

Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”

I’ve never achieved that but it definitely improves when I talk out some of what’s happening in my mind with others. It’s easy to convince yourself that problems go away when you keep them from the light, but the truth is they multiply at an inconceivable rate in the dark.

What do you eat to stay healthy?

Damn – I’m not the person you should be asking. I need a breakfast burrito therapist.

Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?

I walk or run 8-10 miles a day. That’s one of the ways I hold on to a thread of sanity.

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?

Growing up, my dad designed our entire back yard as a wiffle ball field. Full on pitchers mound, bases, all of it. It was a dream. My three brothers and I played out there nearly everyday.

What three songs lift your spirits?

Kanye – Waves

Chase the Tear

Tom Waits – Singapore

What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?

“There is always constant pressure to conform. But originality only happens on the edges of reality. And working on that line is always dangerous because it’s only a short step to disconnected insanity. So resist temptations and advice to play to the middle. The best work always comes from pushing the edge.” – Darren Aronofsky.

What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?

Unplug from everything and sit in silence for an hour.

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