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Wildwood Kin on music, mental health, hope and solidarity

They’ve been compared to Fleetwood Mac and Fleet Foxes, and have played festivals from Glastonbury to Inverness. Wildwood Kin released their new album last month, and we caught up with Meg from the band to learn about some of the thoughts, feelings and themes they explored while writing it…

The album covers some emotional topics. Do you find music helps you deal with difficult feelings when times get tough?

I guess it varies a lot – doing music as a vocation can sometimes make the lines blurry between work and downtime. It can be really tough going on stage and having the expectation to perform when I’m in a difficult headspace. I think that’s probably the hardest aspect of pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. People expect you to be ‘on’ every time you get up on the stage and sometimes that just isn’t possible or realistic. However there’s also times where playing and writing music has been really healing and cathartic for me. I listen to music all the time when we’re on the road and I’ve always found that putting my headphones in and listening to a great record helps me to recharge and feel more peaceful on tougher days.

“A lot of my friends are musicians and artists who have really encouraged and inspired me to push my creative boundaries and channel my experiences into the songwriting process. They’ve been a massive influence and inspiration for me.”

We’ve recently launched the CALM art collective – an online community based around creativity. How helpful has your community been to your success, and also as a support system?

I’m really blessed to have an incredible community of friends where I live down in Cornwall – I honestly don’t know whether I would’ve made it through the past few years without their love and support. My older brother Natty took his own life in 2016 and I really lost myself after that – it felt like my sense of purpose and motivation had completely gone. For obvious reasons I couldn’t lean on my immediate family for support because we were all experiencing the bereavement so intensely, and so my friends ended up literally carried me through that time. They would check up on me every day, encouraging me to get outside for walks and surfs; They cooked meals for me and made sure I was looking after myself properly because self-care just didn’t feel like a priority at the time. I’m so thankful that they did that and we are all super close because of it – they’re like a second family to me. A lot of my close friends are musicians and artists too who have really encouraged and inspired me to push my creative boundaries and channel my experiences into the songwriting process. They’ve been a massive influence and inspiration for me.

A musician’s life can be pretty hectic – how do you make sure you’re getting down time? What do you do to chill out?

When I’m at home I love to surf and swim in the sea as much as I can. I find the ocean so therapeutic and it really helps me to sift through my thoughts and feelings and let go of expectations or anxieties. I’m trying to get better at finding ways to wind down whilst on tour though which can be quite hard as it’s very all-encompassing! I’ve recently started bringing my dog, Bear, on tour with me and it’s been unbelievably helpful for my headspace – just being able to get outside and take him for walks before gigs has been really peaceful and grounding. Obviously he’s great for the post-show cuddles too!

“We wanted the album to send a message of hope and solidarity to anyone struggling, as a reminder that they are not alone. We really hope this record brings some light and love into people’s lives, and that they might find some peace and solace through the music.”

What do you hope people will take away from the new album?

We consciously tried to focus in on mental health related topics when we started writing the record as we wanted it to honour and commemorate the life of my brother, who had struggled with severe depression and bi-polar disorder for many years before he passed away. We wanted the album to send a message of hope and solidarity to anyone struggling in similar circumstances, as a reminder that they are not alone. We really hope this record brings some light and love into people’s lives, and that they might find some peace and solace through the music.

Find out more about Wildwood Kin here.

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