RAG 'N' BONE MAN
My name is Rory Graham AKA Rag n Boneman. I’m taking part in MDP because I feel it’s important for men in the music industry to acknowledge the pressure we face and be able to talk about this openly, honestly and without judgement. The hope for is that by being involved it’s shows the younger generation of hopeful artists that’s it is ok to talk about your feelings and to acknowledge anxiety, depression and low mood before it impacts on their life and the thing they love. I am proud to be part of this programme and believe that Gemma and the team will go on to make a meaningful change.
Geoff Barrow Founding member of Portishead - Drummer/singer of BEAK> - Film composer of Ex Machina / Devs / Black Mirror / Owner of INVADA Records UK Born 09/12/71 Son of a lorry driver Lives in North Somerset Likes animals Married 2 kids Hates Nazis & Music you are told to like.
When Gemma First explained the project to me I knew I wanted to be involved, primarily because she is one of a very very small amount of people who actually put some time into looking after me when I was not myself at all, she showed me so much love and always had a point of view I could relate too and I believe she is the perfect candidate for such an important movement, outside of that I am a male musician who has frequent struggles mentally, I believe if we can actually talk openly about this stuff it can help others who suffer in isolation, especially in hip hop since it is quite a geezerish art form that has “connotations” attached to showing or discussing our weaknesses.
My reasons for getting involved with the Mandown Programme are many. I myself suffer with heavy bouts of depression and anxiety and have shared many stories with men in music that have too. These conversations are becoming more frequent and louder. The subject is close to my heart and want to help anyone in anyway I can while probably learning a lot more about myself.
I wanted to get involved with “the man down programme” to spread the word about male mental health in music. I myself have needed to take knee from time to time and I’m so happy there’s someone to turn to when it all falls down
My Name is Anthony Mackie (Mackie Skillzee) one of the 3 founders and emcees of Central Spillz a hip hop/grime collective based in Bristol.
When Gemma told me about the MDP I jumped at the opportunity to be involved. Gemma has been a great friend to me over many years through my highs and my lows without question or judgement. I ended up in hospital with an attempted suicide and Gemma was there when I was lucky enough to wake up and has been nothing but an anchor ever since both in person and always at the end of the phone.
Like so many others I've battled with depression for years and almost gave up by making the most extreme decision of my life. I was given a second chance and while I am still In the battle I feel more equipped than ever. Having met so many people in the same boat and losing a dear friend to suicide I have become very passionate about participating in anything that can offer help to those struggling. There is so much more everyone could be doing for each other and I feel the MDP is on the pulse of a new awareness and response to everything branching off of depression.
I go by the name of Jakes, I want to be part of the MDP to encourage men in our industry to talk, there is no shame in talking about pre/post show gig anxiety, the expectations of the crowd, the promoter and yourself. It is ok to feel those things and not let you feel consumed. I’m happy to have that conversation
My name is Craig Jones, I go under the artist name of CW Jones and I’m a musician & stage programmer that has been working in the music industry for the last 5 years. My personal experiences of mental health issues have led me to be admitted in to secure mental health units, multiple times, ultimately being safeguarded by the police & the NHS for my own and others safety.
I have experienced a wide range of issues ranging from Psychosis, depression to delusion of grandeur and feel that I have first-hand experience that puts me in a position where I can talk positively about the benefits of speaking out, seeking help, and abstaining from substance.
I am always aware that I am a day away from being better, and likewise a day away from being worse, and the ongoing journey of my battle with my psyche is something that will always be a present part of my day to day living. In helping others, I feel that I also continue my journey with regards to helping myself. A big part of my recovery inside and outside of mental health units, was to help people, and I feel like Man Down is a perfect platform to continue the dialogue of why Men need to reassess their approach to displaying their true emotions.
I was always relatively naive to the effects of mental health and the impact it can have until I lost my Dad. A few months later set up a music studio and months after that had said studio robbed and lost years’ work and equipment overnight which definitely sent me into a downward spiral which took work to come out of, through my own effort and help from professionals. I try to touch on aspects of it in my music now most notably a song called 'Through the Melody'. And although it’s taken a while to be able to talk about my own mental health more openly it's definitely something I feel is important and therefore happy to get involved in this project.
My reason for wanting to be part of this project is to raise awareness of mental health, in general.
It has been a continuous development for me in terms of how to manage my mental health. Educating myself on what my triggers are and also understanding how the brain works and how our experiences inform our thinking.
Like lots of people from Caribbean decent there is a long line of mental health issues that run down through my bloodline. My Grandfather and his Son, my Uncle, both committed suicide and even being so close to home it's not something that I've ever really stopped to think or speak about. I have two older brothers and our futures and the challenges we may face in later life is something that has crossed my mind every now and then. This country is in many ways becoming less hospitable and more challenging especially for the most vulnerable in society. it's under these immense pressures that people can crack and if the conversation isn't happening and if people aren't allowed the space and time to heal then it can become the beginning of the end for so many. As a musician I value my voice as a medium to try and shine light upon matters that often get pushed under the carpet - something that happened all too often here in Britain. If there's the chance that my voice can be of some help to someone then I'm going to use it.
The reason that I want to take part in the man down programme and discussing mental health in the music industry (and in general) is that I want people to know they are not alone, it is okay to talk. I can understand the barriers that we will put up as individuals and people, all the self-doubt and loathing which often makes it more difficult to talk about your own problems but I think what we need to realise is that by speaking out you never know who you’re going to help. And in the long run that’s a lot better than worrying what anybody will think of you. Even if you just help one person that’s still one person who connected with what you’re saying. And the more of us that are talking your inevitably going to reach more people so don’t ever think you can’t make a difference.
There’s a couple of reasons I’m taking part in this project. I’ve worked with Gemma before and seen first-hand her passion for mental health and her want to help and improve people’s lives. She is a genuine person with a drive and vision that will really change things.
Mental Health is something I’m passionate about and have over 20 years lived experience with Addiction which came from depression which came from losing a lot of family and friends and never being able to talk about anything due to; my own toxic masculinity, growing up in the ‘Man Up’ culture and being let down by mental health professionals, growing up in the 90’s.
I also run a monthly event in London called Mind Over Matter where we discuss mental health through Spoken Word, Hip Hop & Song. I started it as a one off event when I got sober in 2017 just to give me a target to aim for. Since then, I’ve watched it become the platform I never had, seen it help people and open up often difficult conversations.
It just so happens, by way of some sort of terrible coincidence, that the projects beginning coincides with my mental health being at its all-time worst. I have suffered with adverse mental health for a number of years, normally manifesting in the form of anxiety and depression. Usually these symptoms are manageable and/or easily masked from the outside world but, 2020 began with some awful news which pushed me over the threshold of 'tolerable' and into deep waters where I have struggled just to keep my head above water. I have voluntarily entered into counselling and, at the behest of mental help professionals, sought the assistance of my GP. I am still struggling, some days more than others and it is not easy but, I am determined to find a way out of the hole I find myself in. If I can help someone else out of a similar hole by being open and frank about my own issues then i will gladly do so, regardless of how uncomfortable that process may be for me personally.
I’m Krazy from Wordlife the hip hop brand and the reason I will be supporting Man Down is as a long time artist and event promoter I’m Bristol I have witnessed first hand and experienced the struggles us artists go through and the mental battles that go along with it, I’ve lost so many friends and colleagues over the last few years because they have struggled with mental health that now it’s a matter of having to do something about it because if we don’t then sadly more lives will be lost, it’s only a matter of time...
High Rankin is a DJ, producer, comedian and persona non grata of the dance music world. Having spent the last 2 decade on the road and in the studio producing DNB, Dubstep and remixing the likes of Snoop Dogg, Professor Green and Skunk Anansie he now heads up Threshold,fm, a home for alternative content on the outside fringe of the DNB scene. Every weekday morning he hosts radio show, Coffee And Memes, taking puerile pot shots at current affairs, the gutter press and the Drum And Bass Industrial Complex. He has written articles and columns from the likes of DJ Mag and IDJ and has it on good authority that they sold over 15 copies per issue. As if this list of frankly astonishing achievements were not enough, he is likely best known for his satirical videos and skits on Youtube that have racked up millions of views poking fun as dance culture, big name DJs and ravers alike.
Recently Rankin has been chairing conversations both online and at live events around the topic of mental heath not only in the music industry but for men in general. Hoping to help move the conversation forward around topics of meaning, community and the value of learning and obsession.
I want take part on this project because I feel very passionate about mental health and suicide awareness. I set up a talking group with five other like-minded friends called Talk Club in 2019 to help with the prevention of serious mental health issues that lead to suicide.
I have first-hand experience of the highs and lows of being a major recording artist and this inspired me to help others by training to become a therapist.
I’m Toby, an artist manager based in London. When Gemma told me about Man Down it was an issue that resonated strongly for me-men generally but especially musicians and people in the music industry suffer from an inability to communicate, a pride that prevents them from confronting their own anxieties and communicating with each other. Man Down should be an important step in challenging this narrative and I hope that we can collectively make a difference.
I'm Tom, better known as Koast. Spent many years as an MC/host in & around both the dubstep & hip hop scenes in Bristol, although these days you're more likely to find me either behind the decks, or even further in the background as part of radio station SWU.FM or running my label Durkle Disco. I wanted to get involved with Man Down for both personal and structural reasons - like many of the participants in the project I've struggled with my own mental health throughout my teens and adult life, and in more recent years Gemma has been a great source of support and advice for me, and many other peers. So how could I not support her in this?! I've also come far too close to losing a couple of people very dear to me due to mental health in the last year, which has really bought the need for a project like this home.
On a wider/more structural level - a project and support system like this is desperately needed in the creative industries! I've always worked a day job alongside my various music projects, and generally ones with decent support/sick pay - so I'm one of the lucky ones in that sense (as much as I might not have understood or appreciated that when I was a bit younger!). But for the people more successful in forging music as their sole career and source of income, you can be in real trouble if you do get sick... and given a lot of the lifestyle associated with music, it's more common than you'd think. So anything that minimises the risks to people who give so much to enrich our lives culturally can only be a good thing.
Life on the road can be a truly amazing experience.
However sleep deprivation, alcohol, drugs, loneliness (despite being in the company of hundreds, if not thousands of people it can be a surprisingly lonely existence) and home sickness can all combine to create a very toxic environment if you suffer from or are susceptible to mental health problems.