There is no telling yet the devastation this pandemic has wreaked on our mental health. Separation anxiety, stagnation, uncertainty, doom-scrolling, loneliness. If it has felt figuratively hard to hold your head above water as each next towering wave comes crashing down, you’re not alone. And this is the exact sentiment being captured by Auckland-based multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer Daniel McBride, who has been making waves under the moniker Sheep, Dog & Wolf with his fusion of muted R&B and surreal electronica.
“Fine” is the haunting new single which aptly tells the story of McBride’s previous struggles with mental illness – “fine” being a universal word which, we can tell ourselves and others around us, and a word which we all know, can hide a sinkhole of hidden emotions.
“I could be in the depths of it, barely leaving the house, completely devoid of feeling and utterly dissociated, and yet I would still somehow convince myself that everything was normal, that I was fine,” he explains. In self-loathing despair, McBride would deem the feelings a personal failure, and not wanting to admit he needed help or felt unwell or in need of help, would push everything down. He adds: “I wish I’d known then what I know now: that mental illness is just that, an illness. It’s nothing be ashamed of. And once you work past that shame and denial, once you acknowledge it and ask for help, it gets a lot easier.”
Distorted, ethereal saxophones open the track, before McBride’s hypnotic vocal harmonies carry upon the disjointed beat. And the unforgettable visuals see him helplessly strung-up and hanging upside down, void of emotion, juxtaposing his inner turmoil with an eerie sense of calm.
“Fine” marks the fourth single taken from the artist’s second highly-anticipated album Two Minds, “written during a period of chronic physical and mental illness,” but for McBride, the album is also a triumphant positive statement, as he adds, “it’s about recovery as much as it is about illness, and about the shafts of light that could shine through even in the depths of it.”
Watch the music video for “Fine” below…