Sunshine Coast musicians unite for R U OK charity song

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About 30 members of the Sunshine Coast music scene have banded together to fight suicide through song.

Sunshine Coast All Stars have recorded ‘R U OK’ - a song which has the same sentiments as R U OK? Day this Thursday, September 12, and which will raise money for the suicide prevention strategy.

The song was written by Currimundi’s Robz Godfrey of indie/rock/reggae outfit Mantis Empire, after a family member was bitten by ‘the black dog’ of depression.

“I’ve got a daughter that suffers with her mental health. At one stage, she was on 24-hour suicide watch. That was my motivation to get this project started,” Mr Godfrey said.

“It just sort of came to me. I thought, ‘Why hasn’t anything happened? Why hasn’t anyone done this yet?”

Mr Godfrey began approaching contacts in the music industry with a view to record the song.

Producer/Engineer Angus Woodhead (of Glasshouse Studios) was one of the first to come on board, donating recording and engineering services. Cam “Supacam” Standen agreed to be executive producer and co-wrote some of the song. Chris Mitchell-Clare of Mitchell-Clare productions offered to shoot a video clip.

Mr Woodhead, of Beerwah, said it was a ‘no-brainer’ for him to get involved.

“To be honest, and open, I have struggled with mental health for many years, and in the past definitely considered suicide on more than one occasion,” Mr Woodhead said.

“It was only through my faith in God, and with the support of my wife, family, and friends, plus Sunshine Coast Mental Health services that I was able to get on the right medication, which fixed a chemical imbalance I had in my brain that I attribute to heavy drug use in my 20s,” he said.

“Just three weeks ago, a friend of mine committed suicide. This is a very real issue in today’s society. People are tragically taking their own lives all the time.”

Mr Standen, a Brisbane-based music producer of 30 years, and a social worker of 15 years in the area of youth and disability, said he was privileged to have been a part of the project.

“When asked to take on this project as the executive producer, I jumped at the opportunity knowing and experiencing the impact that suicide has in our communities amongst the young people and those with disabilities,” Mr Standen said.

Noosa resident, Mr Mitchell-Clare, who has also gone through dark times and has lost a friend to suicide, said it made sense for him to turn his passion for picture to the cause.

“I’ve gone through depression on and off. I’ve suffered from anxiety. There’s personal motives behind it. I just think it’s the right thing to do for the community,” Mr Mitchell-Clare said.

“I want to make it visually relatable to people, that there’s other people going through the same thing and they’re not alone; that there’s help out there. I’m doing this for the love of it and the passion, and the drive to do something for the community.”

Twenty-six vocalists and musicians from the Sunshine Coast, plus other industry professionals, volunteered their time for the production/.

In the tradition of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, and ‘We Are The World’, each artist sings different lines, although practicalities dictated the recording process was a little different to that used for the famous 80s fundraisers.

“It’s hard to get 20-odd singers all in the same room at the same time. Once we got a good bed track down, they came in and did their vocals at different times, and then we picked out the gold in each,” Mr Godfrey said.

He said he was humbled at the way his contemporaries had weighed in to support the idea.

“Obviously, a lot of artists are busy, but we managed to rake up some serious musical talent, and here we are - we’ve got a track and we’re extremely happy with it,” he said.

The result is a much more contemporary version of the ‘slow rock’ tune Mr Godfrey wrote a year ago, but he is excited at what they have produced/

Mr Godfrey said he hoped the song would remind people going through dark periods that they were not alone and would hopefully encourage them to reach out and talk about their troubles.

“It’s okay to feel down and depressed. Others do. I think isolating one’s self is one of the worst things that someone who is suffering can do,” he said.

Mr Godfrey said all funds raised from sales/downloads of R U OK would be donated to the R U OK? suicide prevention charity.

The R U OK song team:
Vocalists (in order of appearance) - Robz Godfrey Jr (Mantis Empire), Kayla Smart (Dorah Jacson/Toxic Fox), Oskar Campbell (Dosed), James Oxley, Lockie Farr (To The Skies), Cam “Supacam” Standen, Angus Woodhead, Jessy Davidson (Cherri Laird), Aspy Jones, Sharon Brookes (Pocketlove), Clint Francis, Emma-Jo Dau (Dear Willow), Carl Lynch, Tiana Dennis (The Dennis Sisters), Brianna Dennis (The Dennis Sisters), Ayla Scanlan (AYLA/Forrest Run), Kerrie Garside, Carla Bures, James Gadenne (Shinobi Kin), Asher Chapman (Bearfoot), Vinny Nowell, Jonny Mew, Jack Mack.

Song written and donated by Robz Godfrey Jr, co-writer Cam “Supacam” Standen

Executive producer: Cam “Supacam” Standen

Assistant Producers: Angus Woodhead, Robz Godfrey Jr, Eddie Duarte

Recorded at Glasshouse Studios, Beerwah

Engineering & Mixing: Angus Woodhead at Glasshouse Studios

Mastering: Ben Feggans at Studios 301, Sydney

All drum and synth programming: Cam “Supacam” Standen, Angus Woodhead, Robz Godfrey Jr

Grand Piano: Angus Woodhead

Bass: Rhys Fox (Bearfoot/Muules)

Electric Guitars: Eddie Duarte

Cello, viola, violin: Vashti Janna

Make-up artist: Kia Leeke

Videography: Chris Mitchell (Mitchell-Clare Productions)

Photography: Chris Clow (Photography by Chris Clow)

Further credits: Sammy Kannis (Alchemy Music Group), Brad Houston (Engageneer)

Sponsor: Mantis Sportswear.

For further information on R U OK Day, or if you are dealing with suicidal thoughts, please do start the conversation. Head here.

Rhys Fox