Photo by Pablo Robles

By Alex Gallagher | June 8, 2021

Vera Revive understands suffering from mental health problems. The Scottsdale band’s vocalist John Lockwood and guitarist James Swisher have used their platform to bring awareness to the problem.

Their latest single and video, “Faint,” does just that.

“We formed the band wanting to help the most people that we possibly could while talking about things that people don’t want to talk about,” Lockwood says. 

During a meeting with its manager, Bill Darcangelo, Vera Revive decided it wanted to make a statement.

“A lot of people, for mental health awareness, might focus on suicide or depression,” Swisher says. “All those have their place, but we wanted to be a little more specific with body dysmorphia and eating disorders.”

“Faint” discusses body dysmorphia and the struggles that often come with it.

“We wanted to go all out as much as we could,” Lockwood says. “We discussed doing a music video and having a feature on the song.”

That happened. “Faint” features vocalist Dana Willax of the Northern California band Kingdom of Giants.

“When John and I first sat down, it was always important to the both of us that, no matter what we were singing about or writing about, we stick to honest topics that we relate to and other people relate to,” Swisher says.

While the song firmly conveys the message, Vera Revive plans to create a video that, though somewhat graphic, will encourage those struggling with body dysmorphia to seek help.

“The music video is almost going to be like a short film where it focuses on a young girl dealing with body dysmorphia and eating disorders,” Swisher adds.

An accompanying documentary will explore the effects of body dysmorphia and the making of the video. The video’s actors and Vera Revive members who have battled body dysmorphia will discuss the illness in the documentary.

“One big thing that we did to break the stigma around body dysmorphia was we focused on the little things in the day-to-day life of people who struggle with these illnesses,” Lockwood says.

“When the video comes out and everyone sees it, it’s going to hit pretty close to home with anyone who’s dealing with these things.”

Mental health can be a touchy subject, but Vera Revive feels conversations about mental health are important. They can potentially save a life.

“I’m glad we’re going even further in and helping as many people as we can, no matter what topic it is,” Lockwood says. “I try to keep a lesson to be learned inside the lyrics.”

Those lyrics are meant to appeal to his audience. However, they draw from his mental health struggles.

“I’ve dealt with a little bit of body dysmorphia myself,” Lockwood says. “There’s not a moment in a day where I’ll see a reflection and I’ll look at myself hardcore and not like myself.”

For the song “Grief,” Lockwood focused on suicide.

“That song came when I was in a weird spot and almost committed suicide,” he says. “I wanted to tell this story to show people where I am now for not doing that and how things get better.”

Lockwood also wanted to use his platform to reach out to members of the LGBTQ+ community with the song “In Absence of Color.”

“I have family members who are LGBTQ, and I see on the news how rough they have it trying to be themselves,” Lockwood says.

Swisher adds, “The people who participated in the music video we made for ‘In Absence of Color’ were also LGBTQ. They were a big part of that song and helped make it as spot on as possible.”

Though its music is not always about the happiest of topics, Vera Revive does hope to spread a message to those going through difficult times.

“People don’t like hearing it, especially when they’re dealing with things,” Swisher says. “Things really do get better. It really is the truth. Things get better.”

Resources

Suicide hotline number: 1-800-273-8255

Vera Revive: verarevive.com

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