We caught up with Yorkshire hip hop duo Ceiling Demons with just a week until their ‘Mad Friday’ gig (18th Dec) in aid of CALM…
Why is CALM your chosen charity? We have chosen to support CALM because it represents a cause that is close to our hearts. We feel that, as a charity, their approach is very refreshing and relatable. They know their target audience, and by focusing their campaigns around cultural areas such as music and sports and pub culture, we feel they’re able to reach people without patronising them, which is vital to conquering the stigma surrounding depression and mental health.
A few of your mates took their own lives – is this gig a tribute to them? On a personal note, yes, and this is something we always bear in mind. With Richmond (North Yorkshire) being a small town, this issue has affected a lot of people in our community, so we believe it’s very important to highlight the fact that support is available for those feeling suicidal. Music brings people together and this unity is vital, especially at this time of year.
As guys, why do you think men are unwilling to talk about suicide? Why is the stigma there? The North of England exhibits some terrifying statistics, with a recent report by The Office of National Statistics showing that regions in the North East and Yorkshire hold some of the highest suicide rates in England. We all possess a deep-rooted fear of vulnerability, but for men, especially in our culture, there is an ingrained expectation for us to be able to deal with and overcome this fear on our own. From an early age we are taught to ‘man-up’ and suppress our emotions, leaving us with a mindset that makes many men unable to speak out and obtain the help that is needed when they’re depressed or in a dark place.
How has losing friends influenced you? Ceiling Demons was born out of bereavement. It was a catalyst for the project and is a cathartic outlet for us to pay homage to our friends while continuing to represent them. This theme permeates throughout our music.
Personally, we have found suicide bereavement incredibly difficult. It is truly astonishing the amount of people a young death can affect. We’ve had the unfortunate luck of experiencing this type of loss on four occasions, and it never gets any easier to digest. Due to this, we can openly say that we’ve had suicidal thoughts ourselves and can empathise on many levels. Statistically, people exposed to it are more vulnerable to the risk. In the past it has certainly lured us into a world of depression and anxiety, but ultimately it shows you just how delicate this life can be and that makes you realise that you have to live in the present, count your blessings and be grateful for each moment, even in the dark times.
With your experience of the issue, what sort of message is Ceiling Demons trying to get out there? It may be hard to admit that you need help, but the true courage occurs when you actually seek it. Anonymous support and advice is available from the likes of CALM, Papyrus and Mind, and you can also try counselling through your GP or privately. Personally, we believe that talking about your issues, thoughts and feelings is ultimately the best form of medicine. However, we also champion exercise and creativity as outlets that can significantly help.
How long have Ceiling Demons been together for now and what is your greatest achievement to date? Our first EP was released in December 2012, followed by a video for ‘Lord, I Must Be Strong Now’ in January 2013. We self-released our debut LP ‘Dual Sides’ in December 2013 and are really proud of what we have achieved over the last few years. Highlights include radio play and love from the BBC Introducing programmes in York, Tees and Leeds. Scroobius Pip played us on XFM and Tom Robinson on BBC Radio 6 Music. Tom has showed us some incredible love, to be honest, and we are amazingly humbled by his support. Recently he put out a single called ‘Don’t Jump, Don’t Fall’, which he used to support CALM – a move which he said was inspired by us in a recent interview with Bob Fischer.
We’ve shared stages with artists that we really admire – like Young Fathers, Astronautalis, Buck 65 and Sleaford Mods – and have played some great festivals including Tramlines, YO1, Richmond Live and Twisterella.
Have you done any fundraising for CALM or other charities in the past? Last November, we released a single called ‘Every Step Is Moving Me Up’ along with a remix of the track, called ‘Follow The Lights’, with our good friends Fold in support of CALM. To coincide with this, we put together a Demons ‘bundle’, with original artwork by Tim Coomber, with all proceeds going to the charity. After losing a friend earlier this year we helped to organise a fundraiser in Richmond with our mates, raising over £2,000 for both PAPYRUS & CALM. For the last few years, we’ve also been part of Oxjam Darlo, which has done a wonderful job raising money for Oxfam.
Ceiling Demons will be playing their ‘Mad Friday’ gig at Bishop Blaize in Richmond’s Market Place, on December 18 at 8pm. Entry to the event is free of charge and a raffle and tombola will take place to raise money for CALM.
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