Robot Jaw Records recently released an album called ‘The Be Good Project’, a collaborative project between a wide range of musicians and artists to help raise money for Beyond Blue. There are 27 contributors featured on the album, which along with it includes a visual art book containing lyrics from the songs featured and 13 pieces of original artwork. It aims to explore the different perspectives when it comes to struggles with mental health and gave each collaborator complete creative freedom over their contribution to the project. I got to have a chat to Bares, whose track Hercules features on the album, and dive into what this project means for her and about the track itself.
Hercules is a gorgeous pop track that is shimmering and hopeful and just a pure joy to listen to. It captures the feeling being frustrated and annoyed, but recognising a glimmer of light in the distance and the knowledge that others around you know what you are going through. Ella Sterland, the main force behind Bares, has had this particular song under her belt for a while. “This song was very stubborn. I wrote the main body of it a while ago and attempted to produce it myself about 2 or 3 times.” Says Ella, while discussing her decision to use this track on the compilation. She had been sitting on it for a while, and used The Be Good Project as a way to inspire her to finish it. “The compilation was something that I was really excited to be a part of because I like having a deadline. Artists desperately need deadlines, otherwise we will not get anything done. This a track I have been trying to finish for 3 years, and I thought that if I give it a deadline, I might actually finish it. I was really excited by that and I knew that the concept behind it was how I am feeling all the time. I have always been really proud of this song and disappointed that I could never get it across the finish line. I wanted to give it a chance to finish it so I was happy to force it to be done.”
This track finds this beautifully encapsulates the innate feeling of frustration that comes with being an artist in the modern age. Bares discusses the inspiration for the track, saying that it is about her feeling of inadequacy that plagues her creative progress. “I feel like Imposter Syndrome is the default setting for most creative people.” Discusses Ella, “Now more than ever we are living in an age where everything is on social media, including your entire creative career, all you're seeing are people succeeding around you constantly. I think that is something that is always contributing to this sense of feeling like I am not living up to what I should be doing.” Imposter Syndrome is something rarely discussed but often plagues creatives for the reasons Ella talks about. When people around you are constantly showcasing their successes, it shows a very unbalanced view to the public. People don’t want to show their failures, their mistakes, because we don’t think that it will get the same amount of support as showing our accomplishments. “Seeing people succeed constantly makes me feel like I am not doing enough, that I’m not successful enough. It’s the conversation I am constantly having with myself.”
Hercules is not just about inadequacy; it’s about finding a sense of optimism to help guide you through to the other side of it all. “I was realising that when we are looking at the night sky, it is literally filled with stars. If we could see every single star, the night sky would be completely white, but instead, we only see the brightest ones and I feel like that is something true to this career, that we only see the people who are the most successful.” Says Ella, “I just wanted to think about that and communicate that maybe, it isn’t about being the brightest star in the sky or being the most successful musician in the landscape of musicians, but maybe it is really about finding a sense of belonging or home in the act of creating in itself.” Bares does this beautifully with this track and the melody featured throughout it. The synth vibe and the cascading melodic phrasing is glittery and joyful, and highlights the positive and optimistic tone of the song. It’s clear that Bares does a fantastic job of painting a colourful and playful picture in the listener's mind, not just in this song but in her other music as well.
Mental health is very important to me and it is a cause I put at the forefront of everything I do. I have been weighed down with anxiety and depression over the years, and I am a person who advocates for an open and honest discussion about mental health issues, whether it is in the workplace or just in everyday living. Musicians and artists have an incredible platform to do that, but creating something that people can relate to, whilst combating their own demons as well is truly courageous. When discussing the importance of Beyond Blue and what it meant to her, Ella described Beyond Blue as being ‘a lighthouse’, which I think has been the perfect description of what they do for people. They are a shining glimpse of hope in the distance, something you can walk towards and they help you to see the land ahead. “It’s so easy to feel like you are alone. Beyond Blue is an organisation that is gently saying ‘Hey, I am here if you need that.’ I think it is beautiful that there is an organisation like that purely to make people less alone and to feel more understood, which is a feeling that a lot of people are searching for.” Says Ella, “That’s something I wanted to communicate with this song is that it isn’t just you, we all feel like this.”
The Be Good Project was released on the 20th of October by Robot Jaw Records and it is available to purchase on Bandcamp. It features 14 tracks consisting of unreleased demos, alternate or acoustic versions of studio tracks, or brand new songs including Hercules by Bares. It is paired with an artbook curated by a bunch of immensely talented artists, and all profits go to Beyond Blue. This track is exclusive to the compilation; however, you can listen to the Bares on Spotify and Bandcamp and I highly recommend that you do.