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Sick Joy’s Mykl Barton: “If Nothing Matters, What’s Stopping You From Doing What You Want?”

Jack Rogers
Jack Rogers 11 July 2022 at 17.03

"We will keep doing this no matter what because that's what we have always done"

Sick Joy
have just released their debut full-length 'WE'RE ALL GONNA F***ING DIE' via SO Recordings.

A record drenching in reverb and riffs, it's title and sound is not as downtrodden as it sounds. It is more of a call to arms to do whatever feels good because you never know when the end of the road is going to come into sight. Life is unpredictable, so make the most of every second whilst you can. It's a record that oozes of carefreeness and positivity, despite also talking about some very real and very raw subjects. 

To find out a bit more about it all, we had a chinwag with vocalist Mykl Barton and took a dive right into his philosophy on life...

What mindset were you in at the beginning of the album's creation, and how would you say that you had adapted throughout it coming to life?
"I think that the version of me at the start is almost unrecognisable, and I don't mean that in some grotesque sense. I mean it in the means of I was lost. I was repeating cycles, again and again, ones that I had been doing for years but was completely unaware of. I was also still using the band to try and work it out the same way I am now. Sometimes it takes repeatedly singing about something to realise that you're stuck in that cycle and something needs to change. I probably wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't repeating it either.

"But the place I was, it was difficult. Emotionally, everything was going to shit. I had written 'don't feel like dying' before 2020, around mid-2019, through a period of bad shit. Relationship with going to shit, friends weren't very well, I wasn't very well. There was no intent in writing at that. If a song comes out, then it comes out. No idea about making an album. And also, everything I was trying to write was just shit. It felt like what I was making; nobody needed to hear them and sing them. 

"But then the ones that ended up on the album are different. It's now up to people who hear to say if they need them or need to sing them."

It's almost a case of taking the time to consider whether the songs are right or not, whether they need to exist, it helps you understand more what you are going through yourself…
"It takes a lot to show the band a song and what it's about. There's a rigorous programme that they have to go through to get to the stage of being right. But the thing is that a lot of songs on the record also have that system completely thrown out. Because of 2020, we could work out the songs in-between just trying to get through the lockdowns. But building the songs up in such a way, meant we never knew where things would end. We wouldn't worry about that as much as I probably would in the past. All of my favourite albums deviate between sounds because nobody feels exactly the same at every point of every day. Even if you do, you don't express that in the same way either. So why wouldn't we represent that? Fuck it, let's keep going."

And that centres on the ethos of the record. Enjoy yourself whilst you can by doing the things that you enjoy. Those are the things that make getting through the day worth it…
"It's also a case of pushing against the sense of feeling that is engrained in you by society. You don't need to push against anything in this world if you know where you actually want to go. It's more about stuff that has gone past you rather than stuff you are fighting against. You can do whatever the fuck you want. Of course, privilege comes into it, and I can't be fucking stupid and go out and become an astronaut, but the value of society is much cheaper than you think when you start thinking like that."

And you start to realise every day shouldn't be a battle for what you think is the right path for yourself. You're the only one who knows, and that's all that should matter…
"I started with a nihilistic approach, which transformed into something positive. Nihilistic positivity. Rather than destroying myself, or the people around me, the total abandon helped me to find the right place. Giving less time to the things you don't need to give time to, despite the fact it's engrained in you to give time to them. Be that things you've been brought up with or taught. You would think it would be obvious, but it's things that we are all scared to let go of as well. But if nothing matters, what's stopping you from doing what you want? We're all just memories making more memories, so why care?"

We're all more similar than we realise, and we have been taught to look upon those who try things differently as the wrong way of acting…
"It's almost like the real centre of what makes a person is much bigger than your job or your bank or your clothes. It's more trying to remember that life is what it is. You can't do anything about it but go out there and do it. Just don't be a dick about it."

So when you look at this album, what is there that excites you the most about being able to reach this stage?
"I feel like it's important to distance yourself from what these songs are now that they are out. It's no longer about us. It's about the people who hear them. The songs start to take on their life and breathe by themselves, and that's through those who find themselves within them. I hope that people like these songs, and that happens, but then at the same time, we couldn't have done anything more or differently. This is as much as we could pull out, so that's what it will be. We're all incredibly happy with it, but I also know the people it is for will get it when they hear it. But we will keep doing this no matter what, because that's what we have always done. I will keep searching for music that means the world to me, and I know that everybody else will keep doing that with us when the time is right."

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