In some ways, I can barely remember what life was like before I joined Mute Prophet. Three albums, international radio play, touring – such incredible things have happened in the last six years, it almost feels like a completely different existence.
It’s been like a rebirth. But it hasn’t always been easy – and I feel it’s necessary to do what isn’t usually done, and share these stories with you.
Have you ever heard the Epica song The Phantom Agony? To me, it’s about being so emotionally numb, so unable to feel, that part of you doubts you’re real at all. You feel like a ghost. Your perception of yourself and the world around you is so dulled, you’d swear your day-to-day life is a dream that you won’t be able to remember upon waking. You aren’t you, you’re just a disembodied spirit observing someone who happens to look like you.
That describes something I struggle with on a daily basis, a very rare mental state where depression and PTSD intersect, called Depersonalization. Your brain chemistry gets screwed up and you stop being able to feel your emotions at all.
I’ve written so many songs about this feeling, but I think Pleasures of the Blade sums it up best: “All I need is one, one instant when I know the difference between pleasures of the bed and pleasures of the blade, both seeming equal in their sweetness and seduction.” It’s so damn hard sometimes, to keep fighting when there’s nothing but numbness. But ultimately that numbness is related to something that was truly life-changing for all of us.
See, the Depersonalization was caused by extreme physical trauma. I was beaten half-to-death, raped, and left for dead. And even after recovering physically, the memories haunted me relentlessly.
It left me in a really dark place. I drank heavily, I abused drugs, I cut myself for the endorphin high (cliche, I know, but it worked for a little while), and I fantasized almost hourly about swallowing my entire medicine cabinet.
In the end, singing for Mute Prophet was the only thing that gave me a reason to keep living. Suddenly all I had was our music, and y’know what? That was just fine.
We threw ourselves into making music, including rigging up a horrible makeshift vocal booth in my bedroom. We broke the doors off my closet, stood them up by taping an old microwave to the outside, filled the closet with clothes, and glued heavy blankets to the insides of the doors. Here’s a picture of it, featuring Kevin back when he had skinny arms and short hair!
None of us had the money for a more professional setup at the time (which makes me SO grateful for the pro studio we have now), but I honestly cherish the memory of making due with what we had. We would stop at nothing to make music, least of which would be less than ideal equipment.
The more I sang, the more I could FEEL again. Singing opera actually uses the same part of the voice as crying, and it felt similar enough that I could process my sadness. Learning to scream and growl gave me an outlet for the rage I harbored for my attacker. And learning to belt like Floor Jansen made me feel so powerful!
It’s an amazing thing, a sort of glue that binds Mute Prophet together despite our separate life experiences, this goal of turning tragedy and pain into something triumphant. Ultimately this band is something that literally saved my life, giving me an outlet to transmute things I would otherwise never have been able to overcome, into something amazing.
It’s not just me of course, we’ve all had our struggles – Chris was homeless and lived on the streets, Kevin and Louisa nearly died from autoimmune diseases that got out of control – and all of us credit this band for helping us through our hard times.
And we’ve even been able to find an audience – including YOU. Musicians have no other way to judge their impact on the world, other than how listeners receive their music and their story. You show all of us that we aren’t alone, and after everything that’s happened, I don’t think words can convey how much it means to be able to connect with people like you now.
So please, leave a comment below or email me and let me know how you feel about this post, or even just to say hi. It would mean a lot.
Thank you again for reading, and please do leave a comment below or shoot me an email if you feel like saying hi ❤️