“Everybody has their own hurdles to get across.”
Wild Fruit Art Collective’s frenetic blend of goth psych has seen them record with The Wytches producer Kristian Bell and sign to Wirral outsider label Eggy Records. We caught up with singer Jamie Roberts to chat Dolly Parton, overcoming the bad times, and childhood lego memories.
What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?
At this current moment I’m listening to Daniel Johnston, but recently I’ve been fearing I’m falling out of love with music, that’s probably my biggest fear. I’ve been listening to a lot of female vocalists lately; indulging in obvious classics, giving my brain that instant pleasure is on the agenda, fed up of trying to be clever. Here are the first five I thought of:
-Lovin’ You – Minnie ripperton
-Ville Morose – Nadine Shah
-Strange Fruit – Nina Simone
-Jolene – Dolly Parton
-Black dog in The Sky – Richard Dawson
I’m about to re-read the Northern Lights trilogy by Phillip Pullman because I read it in year six and remember loving it, and Charly who has started contributing trombone informs me there are new ones coming out – time to regress! As for TV I endlessly rewatch Peep Show because it is a masterpiece.
What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?
I’ve had loads, I think most of the creative people I know battle an endless slew of demons, and everybody has their own hurdles to get across, and I don’t think anybody’s are more or less valid, because the worst thing to happen to somebody is the worst thing that they have ever experienced. I think that’s why babies are always crying.
I recently had quite the impressive breakdown in which I basically did nothing, which was an interesting period, thankfully my sister and a few other loved ones stepped in and helped me get some things sorted. Once one thing becomes hopeful again it becomes much easier to manage, but when it seems like there is nothing to salvage it is very easy to slip. I don’t think I’m 100% over it to be quite frank, but I’ve been writing a candid new Wild Fruit EP which has helped me exorcise and compartmentalise my thoughts, and I’ve been trying to be a more viable and sustainable entity, it has to be a conscious decision, you aren’t going to get better without sustained effort and energy.
What have you learned about yourself over the past five or so years?
Almost everything that I know about myself. I had a recent revelation where I had to confront the fact I’d allowed the relative comfort of my existence to prevent me from making many solid conclusions on anything, and that’s quite a difficult thing to face down. I think self exploration functions like a hydra, once you learn something about yourself, that knowledge opens up another five questions. I guess most knowledge works like that, but how far should we go down the river of introspection? I’m not sure it’s inherently a positive thing, a lot of mentally healthy people I see tend not to dwell on anything like that.
What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
I’d wake up, have three nice mugs of tea over an album or two, something really cosy like Alligator by The National or Heaven Up Here by the Bunnymen, like a nice old pair of trainers. A big breakfast that I made at that perfect time where hunger acts as a motivator but before the hunger is so vast it impedes the ability to cook something good. After that there’d be a walk with headphones where I’d listen to new demo’s or recordings of the band, I can barely process music I’m involved in without a lot of walking round with headphones, I’d say that’s where almost all of my inspiration happens. After that, getting in a room with musicians and working really hard on making something good, I really like sinking my teeth into something and throwing myself into it, music wise. A few beers during to ease the stress of expressing yourself in front of other eyes, and to get the hips moving, I’d have to record something in some way to enable the next walk to feel productive. Then I’d like to chill for a few hours with close friends and loved ones, share music and talk about ideas. Then I’d top it off by either playing a show, or going to watch one of my favourite acts that are also my friends, (Rongorongo, Beija Flo, Bill Nickson, Jo Mary, Eyesore and the Jinx are the first bunch to immediately come to mind.) Then I’d like an after party with no more than 14 people and a nice lie in, that sounds good to me.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
I have a deeply compassionate and wide ranging support network, which is essential, because nobody else is going to help us! I guess the cop-out but also the true answer is music, I don’t know how I’d keep myself going if it didn’t exist, and it’s shaped my relationships with everyone I’ve ever loved. My parents even first bonded over a Bunnymen record, so it’s directly responsible for my existence. Thanks, music.
Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
Not having a sadness in my stomach, not feeling unsatisfied, not feeling angst or frustration over things deeply outside of my control. Not oscillating wildly between delusions of grandeur and feelings of utter incompetence. Not feeling deep sadness on behalf of other people, but I also guess these are things that define who we are, so maybe not, I don’t know.
What do you eat to stay healthy?
I think the more vegetables the better really.
Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?
My only exercise occurs through walking or in band practise, I’m not the gym type and I’m not going running til that metabolism starts failing me.
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?
There was a lego death star my dad made me when I was tiny, does that count?
What three songs lift your spirits?
City Middle – The National
Plowing Into The Fields of Love – Iceage
With a Hip – Echo and the Bunnymen
What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?
Pass. I’m terminally cynical I’m afraid.
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
It’s a lot easier to solve someone else’s problems than your own isn’t it? I’m cautious because I’m the type who needs the advice, so probably not the type who should be offering it but I tell people to break things into lists and sort them out one by one, as soon as you start to see progress the weight starts to lift. Other than that, you have to want to change to be able to change, change takes hard work and failure and confronting hideous aspects of yourself, you aren’t gonna achieve that through a half hearted attempt.