Without Belief have today released two new singles that tell the story of hitting the darkest of times. Vocalist Ralph Brown who is also a dear friend of mine shared his story with me as we went deep into the songs.
You have not one but two new songs coming out this week.
Yes new songs. The songs hit for various reasons. There is a reason why the songs are coming out together. I asked the guys and they suggested releasing one at a time but once I explained why they were chill with it. They had to be together because they are like the A side/B side to one another. It’s weird because with promoting them one has to be favoured but I don’t want to do that. It’s like The Parting Gift, it takes you through a journey. If you listen to either of them first, there’s no particular order, but you are going to know what the other one is talking about. Everlost came to me as an idea, as a song title, the definition of Everlost is when one has found themselves hopelessly lost in an unfamiliar place. So 2019 I went through the whole losing dad thing, I was not in a good place. There was a lot of alcohol abuse, dark moments forming in that and that was The Parting Gift. It was me going through the five stages of grief, what I was trying to get out of alive at least. Acceptance Part 2 was me going ‘Cool here’s a reflection, here’s the closure that was never there in Acceptance, let alone the five stages of grief.’ So like get it out of my system kind of thing, an end of an era type thing. An end of a chapter of Without Belief talking about the five stages of grief and mental health in that respect. It was kind of funny, there were multiple things that came out about to why these songs shaped the way they did. If you want to go for the funny approach it’s because Jason from What We Did On The Weekend is an absolute dog and challenged me not to write deathcore songs. I told him ‘Shut up I am going to go and make Jake do deathcore songs now just to spite you’. Thank You!! You were there for the dinner. You came to Melbourne and you were like ‘so are you writing new music or anything, doing a show anytime soon blah blah blah’!! And I was like ‘yeah I think I might be in the mix for new music’. You asked if I was demoing anything, ‘Yeah Jake’s demoed a few things its sick’. Jason straight off the bat “You won’t write a deathcore song; you won’t do it. Your too much of a little shit about it, you’re a little bitch!” Me: I’m not falling for this; you’re not getting me to fall for this trick”. Jason: Na you’re not gonna fall for it cos you won’t do it. You’re not gonna do piggies or tunnels like the other heavy bands do!! Fuck you Jason I’m gonna do it!
And here we are….
I wrote deathcore songs and I challenged Jake. Jake was uncomfortable but I think he came out of it pretty well with the ability to do something that was not exactly something that he was used to.
Out of his comfort zone.
OMG he is out of his comfort zone and I love it because when you listen to a Jake song, Earthbound essentially, he is in his element. He knows what he is doing. He has a system and a formula that works. Awesome. I’m here to fuck shit up. I’m here to be “I love you; I think your music is great and everything you do is amazing. I cannot fault you at any point but if I ‘m gonna challenge you I’m gonna do it because as your best friend this is what I am here to do.” I love you boo but fuck you! There’s the funny side of what happened. Its funny, I was thinking about this earlier today, the best way to explain it is I think if I wrote these songs in any other way they would not have been portrayed as well they have been for this outcome. If it was on a more metalcore/alt/softer sounding approach there is no way these songs, with the lyrics that I had been writing at the time, let alone anything else that happened to me, I don’t think there would have been a reason for these songs to see the light of day. I would have rewritten them in so many different ways and they would have turned out totally different. Might have been for the better, might have been for the worse but they would not have been as intense. When I listen to them I am like ‘Yes, this is how it should have been from day one’. Not TPG just these two songs.
On the serious light of where these songs came from obviously 2020 the year started out groovy, just another year. We released TPG, lock downs started happening, I was going through this weird sort of situation in my life where, obviously like everyone else, these is a lockdown I can’t play shows. I can’t do this; I can’t do that. I can’t do the normal human interaction things. I’m very closed off, I can’t see the people that I would normally see, drive to , tour with, anything. I would just be sitting in my room working 9-5 and then going to bed. I live in a share house and I still felt so alone. It was weird. I got to the point where I was finding myself drinking a lot. Not even just my normal “drinking a lot” like when I lost dad. It was to the point where was drinking so much more on the weekends, I was drinking during the days that I wasn’t working, I was drinking the second I finished work. It got to the point where I was drinking a lot and I was alone with my thoughts way to much and I was being very cruel to myself. More than I had ever been in my entire life. I couldn’t see my best friend, I couldn’t practise, I couldn’t see the people I normally would on a regular basis. I was starting to get very scared for a lack of a better way to put it. I got to the point where my depression was at the lowest it has ever been and in the worse way possible. My anxiety was through the roof, anytime my housemates knocked on my door I would freak out. Tensions were high all the time. So I was drinking just to calm myself down. From there I would be like cool I have calmed my anxiety down, now my depression is just plummeting down.
So you keep drinking.
Yeah. It just went from like haha to absolutely, this is not good, this is not ending well. The second any further band news flew under, that was it I would have been screwed. So yeah these songs kind of came into a weird time where we were already going to be rebranding and changing our sound for a little while. Just to really demonstrate what we can do and what we want to do. We were always going to start talking about mental health, that was the whole point of Without Belief. Talking and removing the stigma of mental health and how you can talk about what you are going through, what you have been through and what has happened in your life. You don’t ever have to feel bad about disclosing that to someone, whether that is a friend, a family member or a professional. That was the whole point of where this was going too, so from the grieving to actual mental health awareness. So it was strange that at the time we were writing these songs I was going through a very, very ,very dark time. More than I had already been through in the last two years. I was going into a darker rabbit hole to the point where I was Everlost. I was in an unfamiliar place, in my own little world where I didn’t have people around me, I didn’t have the life around me that I had been developing the last five years. I didn’t have the project that I had just started. I didn’t have anything. I felt like I was experiencing groundhog day, it was torturing. It was like being put into a dark room and you don’t know where the door is, or the walls and there are no windows. You are just in a room where all you see is black. All you feel is black, you can’t find the door and so you can't leave. You are just in this pitch black with your thoughts, in a void for all intents and purposes. That was an experience. When restrictions started lifting I was like ‘OMG I can actually go and get out of this. Is that a crack there? A little bright light trying to shine through. Fuck that must be the door. Yeet.’ I went for it. That is when July happened and we had that window, we had the view and everything was coming back. Obviously that only lasted a couple of weeks and then we went into massive lockdown. We went into the very long, painful lockdown. At this point I had pushed people away; I had cut off ties with people. I was in a very, very dark place. I was at a point basically where I was like I am going to call it. I can’t do this anymore. I can not physically keep going anymore. It’s beyond a joke, it’s beyond comprehension. I was to the point where I couldn’t do it. I had gone from being an extrovert who was out almost everyday interacting with people, not only for a living but for a lifestyle. I got to the stage where I literally couldn’t get the thought out of my head that I needed to just call it a day and just end it. I needed that voice to stop, I needed it to go away permanently. I got to breaking point and I wrote a note. It is a note that no one should ever have to read on its own. I still have it, it’s there. I planned everything out, I was like one way ticket lets go.
Yeah it got dark. I tried gripping on to these songs when Jake and I were demoing them. This was when loosely in the back ground we had made the band a full line-up. We hadn’t announced it because I wanted to get the music done first. I didn’t even really tell Jake I was in this really rough place. He kind of had an idea, I had told him a couple of times that I was doing to good but obviously I was closing off so quickly to everyone. So I closed off even to my best friend. I closed off to my family. There was a night where I had just gotten to the point where I was that’s it tonight’s the night. I’m gonna write this note and then I’m going to go pack it in. I got the point where I called family, maybe I can get myself out of this if I can just speak to family. No one answered. It was understandable, it was late at night, but no one answered. I was very scared, I was very alone, I was to far gone. I got to the point of what do I do. I had gone to my room and basically rammed myself onto the floor countless times just to try and knock myself out, for lack of a better way to put it. It wasn’t a pretty sight, I literally bashed myself up. Obviously I was all good in the morning, a little bruised. I woke up in the morning and I have only worked this out recently, I think I was basically starting to have a panic attack but I was able to stop it. I don’t know how I did it to this day, I still don’t understand it. I wish I knew because the other day I had one, it was my first proper one.
They are horrific. I have had quite a few over the last few years. I thought I was dying the first time I had one. Scary as shit.
It’s terrifying. I was on the ground, heavy breathing and freaking out. I was a blubbering mess. I am very thankful that I wasn’t alone. They were able to talk me through it. It was unimaginably scary. After a few hours I was able to manage a flat, depressing style conversation with my mum.
You become so drained when they stop.
Omg yes. I was so done. It was a rollercoaster. So essentially with the songs I had got to a point where I was building up to a panic attack from the feeling I could relate with but I was able to stop myself. I thought to myself I need to write that feeling down. This is where these songs came from was essentially around that time. I scraped all the lyrics that I had previously written and started again. This is where I need this project to talk. I didn’t like the fact that I had to go through that for that to be what we needed to be talking about, I don’t want anyone to ever have to go through that.
It’s so much more common than people think.
It’s terrifying. Everything from the depression itself to anxiety, to bad days at the “office”, however you want to word it, picture it or phrase it. To a panic attack, of all things, to a suicide moment. You know the brain idea where it says, ‘here’s an idea’. This needs to be spoken about so much sooner than I thought I was going to be doing. I needed to get it out of my system, I needed that release. That is why I haven’t hesitated on the release of the songs. Someone needs to hear this. If I have gone through this God knows how many other people have and hopefully they can be like Thank God I am not alone in this.
As bad as this sounds I am very curious to see how 19/08 is received. 19/08 is my suicide note, but lyrically put thanks to CV (Chris Vernon), where it isn’t the full note. It’s just sections put together and then placed. He didn’t quite know that is was that when we were doing the song but that is kind of where it came from. Everlost is the story around the note.
How it got to that point.
How it got to that point and how it was after that point. Not the whole pandemic experience.
The whole journey in itself. That is why the two songs needed to come out together. I guess in short 19:08 is the note that could have been the last thing I had ever written that no one could have potentially seen the light of day of.
By now I had tears, Ralph is a dear friend of mine and to know that he went through all of that breaks my heart.
I wanted to make sure that I forever embodied that note and that emotion that I wrote down is forever in a song so that if someone is ever going through a moment like that or is having a period of time where they think that is what needs to be done, it is so not the case. It’s not a song that goes “Hey you’ve got this” this is a song that is meant to just literally be like “ Yo I know what you are thinking, I know what you want to do. For the love of God don’t do it and know that this is something that we have all thought. One person has at least heard you.” You can feel that you are not alone in this situation, other people clearly feel like this. Other people are clearly not in a good space. There are parts of the note that are embodied into the song like ‘Holding onto this bottle every night. I know you hate it but its my vice. Everything is blurring around me’, so it was quite literally the lyrics were in the process of my writing myself off that night. It was the feelings I was having : My family hates the fact that I am drinking obsessively, my friends hate that I am clutching on to this right now because it’s what I am doing. People were like oh you’re getting drunk, Covid!’ ‘I was like NO this is going down the rabbit hole very badly’. I started getting to the point where, through the note, I was like nup I’m not doing well and I’m overthinking everything. There are lyrics from the note where it is like: “Overthinking, Overanalysing every thought. I’m wasting all my time. When can I feel alive”. That was very detailed in regard to me being like I am wasting time sitting at home when I could be touring. I’m sitting at home when I could be with my mum making sure she is okay. I can’t leave my 5km radius to go and spend time with friends who are probably just as bad if not worse than me right now. Time was no longer a concept. I was sitting there thinking I am 27 soon and I have nothing to show for it. I am sitting in a pandemic and looking around me thinking I have nothing going for me. That was where the next lines came from. “My mind is clouded by these thoughts. These thoughts have me buried underneath.” That was me writing down my note and it looking like mush at one point because I was writing down every single thought that was hitting my head. It was weird because my note kind of got poetic at one point and thanks to CV it became very poetic. It was like : “Drive the final nail through coffin. I’m never coming back. I’ve given up”. That was towards the end of the note. That particular section, especially when you hear it in the song, you can imagine what was happening in that moment. A closing point of that entire experience was the end of the song where it says “I’m left inside this room to rot as the blood drips from my eyes. Let’s deaths warm embrace bring me to my knees. There is no purpose in this life, pure pain is all that’s left in me” A summary of how I woke up in the morning to like meeting the last part of the note that was embodied into the song.
What is the significance of 19/08?
19/08 as a title itself basically is that 19/08 was written on the 19th August last year. That was a day that Jake wasn’t doing well and he was very upset and very, very angry. So 19/08 takes the title for Jake and his rough times and puts my suicide note together. Jake really didn’t quite now that for a while when I was writing it, let alone tracking it. I explained it to him a little bit and he was like ‘Woah’. It made sense at the end of the day for it to titled 19/08 with my note. It was funny, well not funny, it was just ironic that around the time he was upset I was ready to call it. I think that it is very fitting because that was nearly the breaking point for both of us in our own different ways.
To be honest there was a point where I fucked up and the names of the songs got swapped around! But because of the whole meaning of the songs and me being a butthead I completely flipped the titles around. They were always going to co-align with each other. So if someone went oh yeah 19/08, oh I mean Everlost – correct because they are both the same thing really.
It’s like they are told from different perspectives almost.
Yeah its weird, its not perspectives even but that is probably the best way I can think of. They are just written in different points. The pre, during and post overall emotion and what that led too. If you listen the other way around its this is what you are dealing with face on however if you go listen to Everlost you can see where this was all building. With Everlost I really needed my dad’s security blanket situation. I was riding on the security blanket that I know I haven’t had for almost two years. I needed him, I needed him to tell me it was okay. I can’t hear it from anyone else because it’s just not the same. You would have thought that by this stage I would have been nearing to being okay but no. Or I at least would have been able to have been getting used to it. The reality is I still am not.
That might take years Ralph. Everybody, and you would know this, everybody grieves at a different pace. And you are back and forth with those emotions. It’s not like bang, bang, bang this is what you go through.
That’s why in about four years there will be The Parting Gift part 5.
This is an exclusive????
Jake will probably murder me because it’s not happening (laughs). There are lyrics from Everlost that say “Can you see this hole in my heart, you once filled this void of darkness. Now I hardly see you hear. God knows I could do with you here with me. Trying to see the world in a new shade not knowing where to fucking begin.” This was like a combination of post dad. Pandemic and isolation so trying to see the world in a new shade, not knowing where to fucking begin, I am cold and alone, Can’t see the world in this new shade. With nowhere to go where do I call home? I lost my home” That was talking about not only how I lost dad, as much as I love my family it was different and it was not a good different. I’d go and visit Jake and as corny as it sounds I’d be like Jake’s hugs; this feels like home. Obviously because we couldn’t even see each other I felt like I had nowhere to go. Where do I call home? This is where it starts talking about 19/08. “Trapped and afraid in a darkened room. It’s getting harder to see the bright side. Try and tell me what is real, its getting harder cos there’s no bright side.” This is where the ground hog day vibe starts coming in. “The cycle never ends; the thoughts only get much worse. The weight of it all becomes a heavy burden. When will the vicious cycle cease?”
When you think about it it’s early 2020 vibe meeting into about August. August is where the note came and I just stayed in that. Any future release you hear from Without Belief will still talk about mental health but it will be very focused on different attributes of mental health. This is really targeting the mental health that everyone went through on a day to day basis. It’s very raw lyrics, there are very few metaphors used. The songs are mean, angry and in your face . It’s raw emotion material right at you. You either listen to it because you want to resonate with it or you know someone has gone through it and you want to feel connected. Or you can beat down, two step or have a wall of death! Take your pick.
That’s quite a story Ralph. Are you feeling better?
I can say I am not getting to that place as often. It does come back around again sometimes and it is brutal when it does but I am further away from it.
If you or anyone you know needs help please reach out.
Lifeline on 13 11 14
Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467