With mental health an ever prevailing topic due to ongoing world pandemics and lockdowns, R U OK Day is even more significant this year. While every day should be the day to ask someone “are you okay?”, today acts as that instigator to encourage us all to ask our loved ones and friends how they’re really doing. With industries like music, events and tourism barely hanging on, many of us in these work sectors are contemplating “well, what’s my purpose now?”
Australian punks Wishful Thinking have come up with an incredible musical journey to the key of pop punk and have just released an epic six-minute song as a sort of call-to-arms to tackle the ongoing prevalent issue of mental health. ‘Destiny Pt. 1’ follows the journey of vocalist Carl Jackson’s imaginative character, Destiny as she ponders her thoughts and struggles to find purpose in her life:
“In my life I have huge anxiety about the purpose and meaning of life. I often find myself asking questions like, ‘Does this life have meaning?’ ‘Are we here for a reason?’ and ‘how do I live life if there is no intrinsic meaning and purpose in this world?’ As I grew up religious my worldview was shaken when I chose not to follow that path. Destiny is a character that embodies those questions and the song follows her journey along that road. It is my hope that everyone might see parts of the character of Destiny in their own lives. I hope they find comfort in the fact that they are not alone in their struggles and find the courage to talk to their friends and family about what they are going through.”
By finding the courage to talk to friends and family, we’re beginning that conversation that could potentially save a life. Today we’re chatting with the Wishful Thinking boys to encourage the talk surrounding mental health that’ll hopefully encourage others to get that conversation started…
‘Destiny Pt. 1’ is an epic pop punk journey that kinda sparks encouragement for the listener. Tell us a little about how the song came about?
Alistair (Bass) had written this musical song called ‘10 riffs to nowhere,’ and it was around the same time Al and I were chatting as we do. Al mentioned how he felt his work colleagues would think less of him if he took a ‘carers day’ to support his wife’s mental health. He mentioned that we should start pulling our weight in breaking down the mental-health stigma, kinda like, “if you’re not a part of the solution then you’re part of the problem” scenario. We both started writing parts of the songs based on the experiences, thoughts and feelings that we have lived.
Instead of writing from my (Carl – Vocals, guitar) perspective I decided to create the character of Destiny and imagine what it might be like for her. Destiny is struggling with the meaning of life, wondering why she exists and looking for ways to cope with what’s going on in her mind.
What sparked the decision to make this release aligned with R U OK Day?
In truth, it was mostly just coincidence. The song was ready and it was set to be released around the same date as R U OK? day. “R U OK? Day” is an amazing organisation with a focus on getting people to start a conversation with their mates to find out how they are. We have personally lost friends to suicide and have seen the effects of unaddressed mental health issues in our roles as Youth and Support workers. We thought releasing the song on this day might just help to spread their message to our listeners. It’s not much but we like to think that every little bit helps.
Not many punk bands can pull off songs longer than 3 minutes! For you, what was the biggest challenge in producing a 6-minute track?
As the song has no chorus, I found it a challenge to make every section of the song as exciting as the last, while building to an end that makes the journey worthwhile (let us know if you think we pulled it off!). It’s also hard to play a song naturally when there are no repeating parts. It’s a bit of a head trip trying to play it from start to finish.
With your return in full swing this year and your tour with Drastic Park being postponed due to Covid, what’s been giving you life in the meantime?
Time away from the road has meant that we can focus on song writing. We’ve already started recording several new tracks that we hope to release later in the year. Getting to see new songs out in the world brings me so much joy, and you need some joy in a pandemic apocalypse.
Ps. We are really hoping that the “Stacked As” tour with SoSo and Drastic Park will come to fruition in early 2022.
Is there an EP or album in the works then?
At this stage we haven’t planned for either. Not being able to tour means that releasing an album may not be the best course of action right now. We’ll probably just keep releasing songs every few months. It’s not my favourite way to release music but it seems to be working.
Now that ‘Destiny’ is out in the world, I’m very interested by the “Part 1” and am wondering what exactly can we expect for Destiny Part 2?
Part 2 will continue the story of destiny and introduce a new character as well. The song is written (in demo form) but it may be some time before we have a finished version. I can tell you is that it’s just as long and just as epic as Part 1!
What do you want listeners to take away from ‘Destiny’ and R U OK Day?
We don’t claim to be experts in living life and don’t want people to think we we have the answers. The point that we want to make with Destiny is that “It’s OK to not be OK”. Life isn’t easy, show yourself some self compassion and speak to your mates about your struggles. There is no shame in finding life tough, we’ve personally have been there and its the support from our friends and family that have helped us through.
Any other words of advice for anyone struggling during these times?
It’s ok to not be ok, what’s not ok is not talking about it. We all manage life differently, we all have had our share of bad decisions, self-medication and self-sabotaging behaviour. We get through those times with the love and support of our family and friends. Due to lockdowns people might feel like that support is gone but a friend is most likely just a phone call away.
Interview by Tamara May @citylightstam
Listen to ‘Destiny Pt. 1’ here