Concert Crap: So your brand new EP Incandescent is being released in May and it explores mental health and the things that a person goes through when struggling with mental health. Did being able to write about the things you were/are experiencing help you at all?
Liz Mauritz: It’s always cathartic at the moment to get my feelings out of my head and into another medium. It helps me reflect on those moments and think about how I would like to react differently in the future. My goal with ‘Incandescent’ is to help others feel less alone and know that someone out there understands them and is going through similar things; while I’m working on my self-care, I still backslide and fall down, and that’s okay. We all are going to experience trying moments and as much as we would like to get to the top of that mountain and say “I did it, I’m all better,” that isn’t how mental health works. There is no cure, only progress and maintenance. I want to encourage people to seek progress in whatever form that takes for them; for me, it’s writing and playing music and talking to others about my experiences, and being a source of support for others. That gives me strength.
CC: When did you get started when talking about mental health in your music?
LM: I’ve always written about it in some form, but it was always wrapped up in another subject, usually related to a relationship that was a contributing factor in exacerbating my mental health issues. Being in love, falling out of love, that can be a source of additional anxiety and stress that affects your psyche on top of what you’re already dealing with. The song “Misery Loves Company,” off our EP ‘Louder Than Words’ was the first song that was purely focused on mental health, from the perspective of an outsider watching someone have a breakdown and being frustrated with how they seemingly give up on themselves. The true turning point for me though was after speaking with HeartSupport in March of 2017 at So What Music Festival. I realized that sharing my experience could make a difference for someone else. I have notebooks full of lyrics and stream-of-consciousness prose where I’m just pouring the intense and frantic thoughts in my head out, and I’d hidden them away. I turned to those words and realized that despite my fear, I needed to share those moments in case they could help someone else who has been in those dark moments and needed to see that there is light on the other side.
CC: Being married and being in a band together, how does the writing process work for you? Do you write together or separately?
LM: Generally, the first inkling of a song starts separately. Zach plays around with different riffs, and I’m always stockpiling thoughts and lyrics wherever I can in my phone or on paper. But the moment he comes to me and says “check out this riff,” or I show him a voice memo of a line or two, the song becomes a team effort. We write in our studio room together; Zach fleshing out the rest of the rhythm guitar track while I work on a melody. We’ll spend hours with a riff looping while I fit lyrics I already have or write new ones and record them. It’s a bonding experience for us, working through the bumps and writing blocks together, but we know when to walk away to preserve our headspace. The feeling of working alongside someone who gets you, and hears your ideas without judgment is indescribable. I didn’t think I’d find a muse, but here we are. We just click in the best ways surrounding music and life.
CC: “Firestarter” is a song from the upcoming EP and the title definitely matches the theme of the song. Is there anything in the song we wouldn’t pick up on the first time we listen to it?
LM: I think one of my favorite pieces is the line “won’t rest until the record shows” because it has a dual meaning. One, we won’t rest until we go down in history as a band that prevails, always working hard, always pushing ourselves to be better musicians, performers and people to our fans. And two, we were in the middle of our writing cycle for this EP when we wrote “Firestarter,” and kind of struggling with the direction of it and hitting some writing blocks, so the line references us not resting until we literally finish writing this record. It definitely got us pumped to finish the rest of the record, and was the end of our writing block woes.
CC: Is there anything you’d like to say to people who also struggle with mental health issues?
LM: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. As hard as it feels at any given moment, don’t lose hope, and let someone you trust in; ask them to keep you accountable and have a plan. Then, when those moments hit, reach out to them, stay in contact with them. Tell them where you are, what you’re doing and feeling. If you don’t trust someone in your personal life, I encourage everyone to join the HeartSupport online community and find someone in that community to keep you accountable, or if you truly don’t have someone, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Put it in your phone, today, when your mind is clear.
I’ve been down the darkest of roads mentally. I still have days where I think “this is it, I’m done, I’m never getting better, the negativity is winning, and I want it to be over.” Despite my bad days, in my moments of clarity, I know I want to stay here. So I have a plan in place to take care of myself when those bad moments hit. I go to a safe place, in public, to hold myself accountable until my feelings pass. I tell Zach where I am, and keep in touch with him. I’ve cried my heart out in the gym bathroom, spent hours there because it was the only place I trusted myself to be. And then, eventually the waves of despair and gut-wrenching, awful thoughts leave, and I feel safe enough to go home.
I reflect on those moments a lot, and it hurts me to think about anyone else feeling that way. It’s a horrible feeling, to hate yourself, to want to give up, to have these intruding thoughts take over your mind. If I can help someone else at that moment, I will.
CC: What are the top 3 biggest influences on your music?
LM: Pre-hiatus Fall Out Boy, New Found Glory, and Neck Deep. Runners-up would be The Wonder Years and Hit The Lights.
CC: If you could tour with any band, what band would you choose?
LM: Touring with New Found Glory would be at the top of my list. Their career path as an artist in this genre is admirable. They’ve been able to navigate through all the changes and trends of the last 20 years of pop punk while remaining relatively true to their sound, and those guys KILL it onstage every time. I hope they never give it up.
CC: What is the last song you listened to?
LM: “Ready And Willing” by New Found Glory. It popped on my playlist at the gym, and felt fitting for taking on today.
Check out Firestarter here!!
Post and interview by Madeline Cronin
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