There has never been a time where the conversation about mental health, needs to be louder. Any loss of life is awful, and taking the matter into your own hands will never be any less tragic. But, with the recent deaths of Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, and now, the loss of Keith Flint, already very raw in the hearts and minds of musicians and fans alike, it is time to stop trivialising the matter of suicide and take affirmative action, not as a society, but as fellow human beings. Forrest LaMaire aka Mr.Kitty understands the value of this conversation, and with his seventh release Ephemeral, the exact value of this conversation becomes all the more evident.
Years before the album was even announced, it was made no secret of his own battles with mental health issues. After a run of releasing five albums in as many years, and aiming for a sixth successive release, he burnt out, taking a sabbatical for a short while which pushed the triumphant evolution of his work, A.I., into 2017. Plaudits and critical acclaim were showered upon its release and walking into 2018, Mr.Kitty couldn’t have been better set to continue an upwards trajectory. But on the 1st February that year, that changed, when one of his closest friends chose to take his own life. Left confused and searching for answers, this devastating loss began a turbulent series of events, and the most prolific writing period Mr.Kitty has undertook to date. In between the soaring highs of performing at the renowned Wave-Gotik-Treffen and touring Europe, and the crushing lows of becoming yet another victim of the lowlives robbing musicians of their live equipment, the message that you are never alone was one kept being repeated.
Days after his friend’s death, Forrest uploaded a cover of Rihanna’s We Found Love, far more sombre and forlorn than its original counterpart, with the National Suicide Helpline number as its tagline. He later uploaded a cover of Linkin Park’s Crawling, on the anniversary of Chester Bennington’s passing, with the same number again, additionally with the Crisis Text Line for those in the States. He also performed at the San Antonio State Hospital for their patients, and into 2019, he released Empty Phases from the album as a single, with all proceeds going to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, fittingly, on the anniversary of his friend’s death. The moniker of ‘suicidal synth-pop’ has even transitioned into ‘self-destructive synth-pop,’ while arguably still not a healthy description, is absolutely keeping in this mindset of affirmative action. With that in focus, and the biggest singular compendium of Mr.Kitty’s recorded work to date in hand, we look inside Ephemeral and where the mind of a musician now lies, whose boundaries have always dwelt within darkness.
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