Life is an incredible journey. A different experience for each and every soul who walks it, but it there is no doubt that we all have something to bring to light from our experiences. Whether it be a song, an idea, a piece of art, a sense of humour, a smile or a story.
A few days ago I met an inspiring young soul from Cornwall in the United Kingdom, Craig Taylor-Broad. Photographer, writer and musician, he introduced me to his recent EP. This was an incredibly eye-opening moment of strange happiness. It was his Suicide EP. Pure, raw and honest in its presence, this three track recording captures a harsh reality stemming from the battles Taylor-Broad has fought over his years.
“Basically, I express my negative thoughts and feelings through being creative because that’s all I have. I’ve suffered with anorexia, anxiety, depression and have recently been diagnosed as being on the bipolar and borderline personality disorder spectrum. I think when you feel like you don’t belong, and you don’t want to be here, it’s important to channel that into something that is tangible that you can see/hear/feel,” Taylor-Broad tells me.
My initial reaction to this EP was one of sadness. Simply because I could feel the pain which was emerging through each and every word spoken and sung. But as I listened on, I realised that perhaps this is not as simple as sad, but rather, it’s simply honest. And honesty, in its true and beautiful form, is such an incredibly important aspect that my initial sadness began to fade. As the emotion and self expression came to light, I began to see this in a much more positive sense.
The EP is rich. There are no hidden messages or deeper meaning. And after speaking with Taylor-Broad about his project, I began to love it more and more.
For Taylor-Broad, life is creative. And this stems from a selfish place, he says. “It’s an attempt to help myself. But I think art should be selfish. The moment you make for others, you should stop creating.”
And does it help? “It does. It takes the edge off definitely. If I hadn’t recorded this EP when I did, I’m not entirely sure what would have happened to me, but I feel like I’m moving out of that period of my life and into a new one.”
So about your creative process? “When I write, I do so in the most haphazard way possible,” he said. “I start writing and whatever I am feeling, through that time, or through the melody of the music, comes out onto the page. I view it as a subconscious spilling of words.”
This EP is about suicide and death. It is a subject many wish not to discuss, but this is certainly not a creation that should be solely seen as negative, then perhaps we are missing the point? There is hope in it all, Taylor-Broad tells me.
“I’ve wanted to end my life probably eight months of every year for the last thirteen years, and yet I’ve still had the strength to write this EP. I can’t think of anything more positive than that. I don’t want this EP to be an example of how people can have depression and that it can break them. I’m fed up of people thinking that depression is the worst thing in the world because as far as I’m concerned, thirteen years into feeling like this, it’s taught me that people are at their best when their backs are at the wall, and I want this EP not to be a soundtrack to people’s sadness, but that thing that spurs them on. Take your depression and use it. Turn it into something glorious. Don’t be ashamed of yourself, your thoughts, not for a second, because everyone is wonderful and talented, they just have to step back and allow themselves to see it.”
Since the release of Suicide EP earlier this month, Taylor-Broad has had a mixed response. “I’ve had some people message me to ask if I’m okay and someone message me to say it’s fantastic. I’ve had one lovely review as well.”
Releasing this EP didn’t scare Taylor-Broad in the least. “It’s only online and there is something anonymous about the internet.” He says, the internet is insane that way as it has afforded our art to be seen by people who wouldn’t normally see it!” So for Taylor-Broad, this was simply a wonderful opportunity to share his story.
Craig Taylor-Broad’s Suicide EP can be found here.