WARO sits down with NEWMEDS vocalist Nick Cobley about finding catharsis in music, and the importance of sharing thoughts and feelings when out on the road, in the bar or at home.
The music scene in Yorkshire is a deluge of talent at the moment. Bands like Bonnie and the Bailers and CARO are killing it at the moment, and the Hull- based NEWMEDS are another rock outfit to really keep your eyes on.
Consisting of vocalist Nick Cobley, drummer Joe Brodie, bassist Sam Rudderforth and Mark Wood on guitar, the band have been exciting crowds with their angsty and in your face anthems since late 2017.
Their material has never shied away from speaking about mental health, most notably in their 2018 hit, Cognitive Behaviour, and Nick spoke of how the subject matter makes its way into their music: ‘’It can kind of happen by accident. Dealing with past issues is how the songs come about really, things that are stuck in your mind. It’s always been my way to get it out and rationalise how I’m feeling. It’s been a progression of doing CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and learning to deal with irrational thoughts. That’s really helped us to write the songs and pick apart what I was saying and thinking.’’
Nick also explained how having such a deep library of material on mental health can also be rather cathartic, as well as the impact it has on their fans: ‘’It was never an aim for us to write about mental health, but it just started flowing. I guess it was stuff I had trapped in there that I didn’t know I needed to say. And when I started saying it, people appreciated how open we were being, since the stuff they’re going through is quite similar. I don’t know if it helps put any issues to bed, I mean we’re still writing about the same stuff! But it definitely helps me realise what’s wrong or what’s going on in my head.
‘’The live performances can be a really big help though. Obviously we don’t write with that in mind, but to see people screaming the lyrics back at you means a lot.’’
When it comes to speaking about mental health, a lot of people can struggle to take that first step. Whether it’s talking to a professional or just a close friend, it’s often difficult to accurately portray just how you’re feeling. Nick is no stranger to that and stressed the importance of it: ‘’I was never comfortable talking about anything, and I think that’s why I got into such a pit. About seven years ago I hit rock bottom, but I dragged myself out of it, did CBT and eventually full-blown counselling. In the band we try and talk as much as we possibly can about thoughts and feelings. If someone isn’t feeling practice one day, we always give them the time they need, that’s most important.’’
NEWMEDS’ transparency around mental health issues has heralded acclaim across the country, such as being spotlighted by the BBC. The group have essentially been given an ambassadorial role for their work, and Nick appreciates that attention: ‘’I’m more than open to being that person people look to when it comes to mental health. I’ve not been a counsellor for people or anything, but I think it’s easier for them now that they know we’re willing to be open. I’ll always give my time to somebody that needs it.’’
For people out there who struggle with mental health, it can be a task to find coping mechanisms that keep you happy and in control of your own emotions. Nick has his own suggestions on the matter: ‘’I just try and remember that the feelings are temporary, it won’t be forever. I used to do unhealthy stuff like going out and getting smashed, but I’d realise the next day it wasn’t particularly the best way to deal with it. My main one now is just talking about it. If I’m down, I’ll tell whoever I’m with about it, although these days they can usually pick up on it. Even if you don’t know what the problem is, at least you’re openly saying that something isn’t right.’’
Obviously NEWMEDS is Nick’s most common way of finding inspiration and improving his mood, whether it’s writing or performing, but what about during his everyday life? ‘’I’ll watch a lot of films, and that’s been the inspiration behind some of our music videos. I’ve also gotten massively into street fashion lately. If I’m feeling a bit s**t, I’ll go and buy a new t-shirt to help perk me up. Pets can also be a massive help. I never used to be a cat person and now I’ve got three of them! They can tell when you’re down and just sit with you. It’s almost like therapy.’’
NEWMEDS’ willingness to speak up on a subject that is sadly still seen as a taboo in our society is nothing short of inspirational. They’re putting themselves out there in an often cruel world, showing that it’s ok to be open about your struggles and that there are people out there going through it themselves, willing to listen and help.
The group’s electric latest single Psycho is out now. Be sure to give it a listen if you need a boost, or you just wanna hear some sick riffs.
Words: Jordan Roy Morris // Interview: Dom Smith