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Music

Doctor's Orders: Jack In Water prescribes his nine favourite records

@josephtaysom

Jack In Water has just released his impressive debut album, You Don’t Feel Like Home, and it’s a personal record that sees him unafraid to open up and provide some welcomed introspection. It is a unique talent that makes him a fitting guest for our Doctor’s Orders series.

Will Clapson’s moniker, Jack In Water, allows him to delve into the darkest of topics and touch upon subjects that others would hide away from. He used to work as a Sexual Violence Services operations manager, an experience that opened his eyes to things that have haunted him ever since. Yet, Clapson doesn’t shy away from approaching them on the You Don’t Feel Like Home LP.

He is a survivor, and on his track, ‘Monster’, he talks about his experience which has made others feel less alone while also liberating at the same time. It’s an unflinchingly honest album that deals with dark subjects in a nuanced manner, and there’s a soothing essence to it.

Continuing with our Mental Health Awareness campaign, Far Out Magazine has teamed up with the suicide prevention charity CALM to help connect you with your favourite artists and hear how music has helped them during their darker times and day-to-day lives.

The organisation, with the full working title of ‘Campaign Against Living Miserably’, offer a free, confidential and anonymous helpline for those most in need of mental health support. Now lockdown measures have eased, that doesn’t mean that impact of the last eighteen months has ended, and CALM still needs as much help as possible to carry on with its excellent work.

We at Far Out believe in music’s ability to heal. It could be the moment that the needle drops on your favourite song and provides respite from a chaotic world, or, conversely, it might be the fanatic conversation you have with friends about which guitarist was the greatest. Music, it’s safe to say, has always allowed us to connect with one another and ourselves.

In support of CALM, we’re asking a selection of our favourite people to share nine records that they would prescribe for anyone they met and the stories behind their importance. Doctor’s Orders sees some of our favourite musicians, actors, authors, comedians and more offer up the most important records, which they deem essential for living well.

If you’re able, and if you can afford to, please consider a small donation to help the CALM cause. £8 can answer one potentially life-saving call.

Jack In Water’s nine favourite records:

Phoebe Bridgers – Stranger In The Alps

Phoebe Bridgers’ 2017 debut album, Stranger In The Alps, piqued people’s interests in a way that’s seldom seen. Despite being barely in her twenties when she released the record, Bridgers had wisdom beyond her years and a magnificent storytelling prowess which captured Clapson’s adoration.

“Sometimes artists look like they’re writing completely freely,” the singer comments. “They’re not worrying about pleasing that label. They’re not worried about pleasing, and she’s one of those people that just seems completely free to me. I find it incredibly cathartic when I see artists writing music completely from a raw state. It makes me feel more at ease, and the more people write music from a place of honesty and vulnerability.”

Micachu & The Shapes – Jewellery

English indie-band Micachu & The Shapes’ debut album arrived in 2009 to critical acclaim. Their classically trained background made them immediately different to your starter pack indie bands who were suffocating the scene.

“At this time, I was making jangly guitar indie music, and in and out of different bands,” Clapson explains. “I was getting a bit bored of guitar band music, and remember just like hearing this, I think it was on in Rough Trade, and I just went over and asked who it was then I bought the album and listened to it like the whole way back in the car from a gig that night. I was just blown away.”

Radiohead – Kid A

Kid A by Radiohead is the definition of a masterpiece, and it’s also the most brazen record the group have ever released, which is some achievement. It sparked a new era for the band, and Clapson has nothing but positives to say about it, yet, it’s not the experimental shift in direction that strikes him most.

“I remember it was the first album that I listened to lyrically,” he explains. “It connected with me because I was quite depressed during listening to it, and Thom Yorke was the first person I’d heard in interviews talk about depression openly. Some of the songs on the album just resonate with me. I think that’s the one thing that I love about people that write openly about their kind of struggles. It makes you feel a bit less alone, especially at that age.

“I was a teenager confused all over the place and, he must have been in his 30s when that album came out. It just really helped me articulate my own emotions better through listening to someone else’s description of depression, anxiety and mental health struggles,” he says from the heart.

Anthony and the Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now

Antony and the Johnsons critically acclaimed sophomore album, I Am A Bird Now, won the group the Mercury Prize in 2005, and the record is one that Clapson still finds himself returning to all these years on.

“I remember seeing them on Jools Holland, and I was just blown away,” Clapson vividly recalls. “I’d never heard someone with that voice, and then the whole album was just like this expression of learning who you really are. 

“Obviously, she was going through the struggle with her gender identity and just trying to come to terms with it, and I wasn’t going through that. But I guess it resonated with me in the sense that trying to understand who you are for music and work out who you are.”

Sufjan Stevens – Illinois

Sufjan Stevens’ 2005 concept album, Illinois, wraps you up into his universe, as he uses the State as a tool to express his expert storytelling credentials and create a truly immersive record.

“I remember a friend played it in the car, and I heard ‘Chicago’, the first song of the album, and it was just it was one of those perfect times,” Clapson explains. “I think I was hungover at the time and not sure what I was doing with my life. That song came on, and it just made me feel more hopeful. I feel like there’s so much pain and kind of overcoming of pain in that album that just made me hopeful,” the singer said with a smile.

Bjork – Homogenic

Homogenic was made at a strange time in Bjork’s life. Arriving after she survived a murder attempt from a deranged so-called ‘fan’, the record was an unexpected masterpiece. Despite all the chaos going on in her life during this period, she managed to create a true work of art that Clapson adores.

“She was the first artist that I’d heard that was doing odd things like with her voice, throwing her voice all over the place. She couldn’t fit into a particular genre, and it felt like she was free to express herself, and that I find inspiring as a musician and as a songwriter. She is one of the reasons that I wanted to make music, but I just ended up in guitar bands because I didn’t know anyone else who liked Bjork,” he laughs.

The Last Dinosaur – The Nothing

This album is another pick from 2017, and it’s by another Essex born artist. Like Jack In Water, they have also used music as a coping mechanism for trauma with this album dealing with singer Jamie Cameron dealing with a car crash in 2005, which took his best friend’s life.

“I’m quite good friends with Jamie, who is the songwriter,” Clapson reveals. “Around this time, he just lost his job, and I was about to quit my job. I had a normal job. We thought we could do this. Let’s quit it and do music full time and it kind of worked. I remember he’d spent so long on this album, and it was just one of my favourite albums of all time.

“Like it is all about death, he sadly lost a friend very young, and kind of he was down was like coming to terms with that. It’s just magical to me, and I always find that when someone can create something so beautiful from something so painful,” he poignantly adds.

Orlando Weeks – A Quickening

Former frontman of The Maccabees, Orlando Weeks made a gorgeous arrival as a solo artist with A Quickening last year, which sees him deal with the dark lows and the priceless highs of fatherhood. A topic that was coincidentally glued to Clapson’s mind at that time.

“When I first heard this, me and my wife were trying to have a baby,” the singer says. “I’ve always wanted to have children, but there’s like ethical reasons, and also just the kind of normal nerves of becoming a dad, but I knew I definitely wanted to. 

“I’d heard albums that people had done before about becoming a parent. But this one hit me differently. During discovering the album, my wife also became pregnant, so it’s always felt special to me. It’s weird, but it makes me feel connected to fatherhood.”

Aldous Harding – Party

The final selection from Clapson sees him revisit 2017 for the last time and is the second album from New Zealander folkie Aldous Harding. It won ‘Album of the Year’ in Harding’s native country and helped propel her celestial talent onto the international stage.

“My first introduction was on Jools Holland,” Clapson says for the second time during our interview. “She did a performance of ‘Horizon’, just her and a piano. I remember at that time, as well, I was trying to write as much music as possible, and I was really obsessed with writing really complicated songs with lots of chords because I was insecure that my songs were boring.”

He continues: “Then hearing her album, and it’s so simple but complicated in so many other ways. It’s one of the albums that changed how I thought about music.”