A HANDS-ON experience at mental health organisations was such an eye-opener for musician Carus Thompson that he could not avoid incorporating it into his new album.
Touched by many issues and events in his 20-year career, loneliness became the prominent theme in Thompson’s new album Islands.
But the musician said while life on the road could be isolating, it was his work with organisations such as headspace, Canteen and the Australian Children’s Musica Foundation that really moved him to write the album.
“There is something really life-affirming in working with young people, especially with the brief to just engage and involve them,” he said.
“Music and songwriting is such a direct thing, everyone can relate to it, and everyone can see very quickly the ability to tell their own story through song.
“At that first series of (headspace) workshops I could literally see the kids just coming out of their shells as we brought their songs to life.
“The kids can smell it on you that you do it for real, that you’re still out doing it in pubs and at festivals around the world, then they go home and see you on YouTube and stuff, so I think it gives you a bit more street cred or something and it’s easier to connect.”
Thompson said he made the decision early that Islands would say something about the country in the hope he could inspire a change in thinking.
“I just really don’t like the way Australia is heading and as an artist it’s your responsibility to comment and document,” he said.
“I hope listeners might look around at this country, perhaps with a bit more of a critical eye, and at least realise that the choices we’re making now are affecting the path that we’re going to be on for the next decade or two.
“This isn’t the country I want my children to inherit; the compassion that is shown at the top by our leader filters down into every day society and all the interactions we all have with each other.”