1980s power balladeer and one-time punk Belinda Carlisle said it best; heaven is a place …
Having a message behind them helps the Triggerlip cause.
Advocates for mental health awareness in the industry, the Perth emo-rock outfit lay down brutally honest lyrics atop creative melodies. It all lends a voice for the underdog in their debut EP Your Dear Life. It’s a message that speaks for itself through the music, a message that’s understood without seeing Triggerlip on paper. “It doesn’t really matter what we are as people,” begins vocalist Josh Watson, “at the end of the day the medium we’re using is music. If we’re getting the message across without having to explain it to people, then I think we’ve accomplished what we were looking for.”
The premise for Your Dear Life came about from Triggerlip’s own interactions with mental health issues. Their social media is plastered with their affiliations with mental health organisations, their EP launch show is supported by The West Australian Association for Mental Health, Penultimate Records and Grounded Mental Health. Triggerlip have collectively gone through tough times and low patches, and have put themselves in other people’s shoes which naturally made its way into their music. “I have close friends that experience some of these issues, close friends too,” says Watson. “The final track on the EP, Ashes, was inspired by a family member of mine who took his [own] life a few years ago.”
The sentiments by which Triggerlip operate are indeed, admirable – there is no doubt of their commitment to the cause. With more and more industry figures becoming advocates for mental health awareness in the music industry, particularly when it takes the passing of massive talents of figure heads like singers Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington before people wake up to the issue, Triggerlip have known for a long time and are really giving the subject the light it needs with an angsty twist. “I think we were trying to go for that modern emo-rock sound without having the corny lyrics,” says Watson. “We wanted to write the songs in a way where upon first listen you grasp the idea of what it’s about but not straight in your face – like, ‘I hate my life’ – and also not focusing on the negatives.
I like to think the music industry is starting to shift a bit and it’s not all about outrageous parties and all the rest of it. Settling down and being normal people, I think that needs to start coming across a little more.
“In all those songs there’s obviously the negative aspect of the struggle, but especially in Talk Tonight, one of the last lines on there, I’ll hide away your distant memory, one you can call upon in times of need, it’s sort of like even though you’re going through that struggle, there’s always going to be someone there to look for. You’ve gotta weigh things up in life, positive and negative.”
Agreeing with the stigma surrounding the issue, and reflecting on the deaths of Cornell and Bennington, Watson adds, “I think also, there’s a lot of partying that happens in the music scene and perhaps people are starting to realise that’s maybe not the best thing all the time, it’s not always good to burn yourself out. Sometimes you’ve gotta take a step back and chill and be a normal person.
“I like to think the music industry is starting to shift a bit and it’s not all about outrageous parties and all the rest of it. Settling down and being normal people, I think that needs to start coming across a little more.”
Happy to be able to spread a message of not just experience but what happens when you come out the other end as well, Triggerlip are talking about balance and realising there’s more to music than you’re standard pigeonholed sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll – and yet their sound is so bold, it runs in that vein. “That’s the style we all listen to and we all enjoy,” says Watson. “Wonder Years, The Story So Far, Trophy Eyes – those sorts of bands have got that big anthemic rock sound that we were trying to be a part of.
“At the same time, just because you don’t have that sound or write those sorts of songs, doesn’t mean you have to live that exuberant lifestyle where you’re pushing yourself all the time.
“I would like for the stigma around the industry to start to change a bit. It doesn’t always have to be about partying and going hard.”