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“It’s a mess and looking to the horizon there doesn’t seem to be a fit and proper solution as yet. Considering the state of parliament at the minute, any solutions are a long way off.” 

So says Karlost, an outreach worker whose new business assists the recovery of those who’ve survived life-altering injuries. 

Karlost: We specialise in working with people who struggle to accept help or let people through the door. Most of our clients’ lives have been turned upside down by a car accident or significant incident acquiring a brain injury, and they have lost trust. It’s my role to regain that trust and build a positive working relationship to get them the support they need from a rehabilitation team. You can imagine how many people are going through this situation, it has a massive impact on them and their families.

Can you give us an estimate as to how many people require your services, and does the need for what you do highlight a weak point in what the NHS provides?

Karlost: Put simply all the agencies I am aware of are really stretched, literally hundreds of vulnerable adults on waiting lists. They’re waiting for the most basic support not even considering those with complex needs. Accessing the mental health team, (which is a crucial area) is almost impossible. Their funding has been cut to such an extent the wait is running into months. There is a severe issue around vulnerable adults accessing the services they need from the NHS. I am aware of several people who are working within the NHS who are exhausted and demoralised. Some of the strongest people I’ve met have are slowly being broken down by the lack of support. Anxiety and stress levels are through the roof for not only the clients and staff; you have to consider the families of people going through the trauma. Considering the state of parliament at the minute, any solutions are a long way off.

Why aren’t NHS’ workers getting the money they so obviously need?

Karlost: Privatisation. Slowly but surely, everything is being sold off, all our public services are exhausted, good people and goodwill can only go so far. People need to be able to support themselves. I’m already resigned to the idea that if I’m lucky enough to grow to my older years, then there won’t be an NHS.

What do you think can be done to sort this? Do you believe that marches and protests are effective?

Karlost: It’s frustrating that they are not more effective. They are a useful measure for showing civil displeasure but are an ineffective way of bringing about change. We are the masses, but somehow the few have us in their palms. Diversion tactics are so blatant, but as a whole, we follow suit. We need to ‘down tools’ simultaneously.

Stressful stuff. At least you have your music to find some peace. How goes things in that realm?

Karlost: I’ve just got back from Wales where two old friends and I had a two-day jamming session in a cottage in the middle of a national park. The results are otherworldly and predominantly about Wales and The Sheep Dog World championships, taking place next to where we were.

Intriguing. A two-day jamming session? Will they be joining you in some live incarnation of your current musical output?

Karlost: We are geographically challenged living opposite sides of the isle, but the energy and quirk we had, would be a wonderful thang on stage! Rich, Si, are you game? I’m sure they will read this. 

It was a great experience, with everyone taking the lead at different points. It’s really nice hearing all of us laughing and buzzing in the background of the recordings.

Your recent live shows utilise the use of loop machines alongside you strumming the guitar. Do you find your voice having fewer instruments to battle through provides a cathartic experience?

Karlost: I get a lot out being in a full band, shared energy, and I get to behave in a way you couldn’t otherwise. The looping experience is entirely different. I feel a lot more pressure, being new at this, but when it all goes to plan, I find it hard to stay calm. All those at the Brixton gig will be able to vouch for this. I was absolutely buzzing after and during the gig. As far as telling a story or two goes and getting my lyrics across this is far easier. Just me, the guitar and the magic machine (looper). Both are cathartic for different reasons.

The upcoming live session of ‘Broken’ definitely provides a more intimate dialogue. Where did you shoot it?

Karlost: Matthew, the bass player in Japanese Fighting Fish, was at the Brixton gig and offered to shoot it for me in a secret location (I was blindfolded on route). Top man Matt for arranging this. It was an intense few hours, working live and trying to get it all in one full take. Two completely different moods, track one ‘Broken’ an emotional journey through the minefield of relationships and then, ‘Sexxi’ an absolutely crazy track about how Sexxi things can be. Very silly. I decided to make the videos to give people an idea of what to expect when you come to a gig.

Matt is excellent (helped out with post-production on a few vids back in the day). The lyrics to ‘Broken’ are bleak. What inspired lines such as: “Say what you will, I feel broken-hearted, all of these memories when they gonna-stop!”

It is so important to process any negative feelings you have and move on. In my life and the lives of others around me, there is far too much holding onto things that can’t be changed. You can lose friends, partners or family members because of your stubbornness or inability to let things go. Loads of relationships are broken because something was said or done. Forgive but don’t forget or you could end up very lonely!

Is there a specific event that contributed to the creation of this song?

Karlost: My family’s been broken and fixed many times. Years with no communication or contact but now we are close again, thankfully! I have a wonderful lady in my life, we challenge each other, and our little boy is a whole new science to negotiate. It’s a fantastic journey we’re on but, like everyone, tests come up, and we fight to overcome them together. Be open, communicate regularly and create a space for pure honesty between you and others, this would be my advice! I hear far too often “I just bottle things up then explode”.

You apply a deft touch to expressing such volatile emotions but keeping the experience easy to consume. I take it the title of the song is a direct reference to tribulations in the realm of the family?

Karlost: At a family party a few years back, it was like a scene out of Anchorman. All the factions separated to either side of the room. As the night moved on, we all slowly came together. Words were said, hugs were had, and it was a belter of an evening, the difference from the start to the end couldn’t have been more different. A beautiful thing to see and be a part of. The honest answer is until recently, I have felt ‘Broken’ in ways. It’s nice to feel 100% again and writing this track was part of this, I have a clear plan, family is great.

Broken

Say what you will, I feel broken-hearted, all of these memories when they gonna stop / Feels like I, I could be the one whose changing I’m losing self-belief, can’t take this anymore / For all of those things I shouldn’t of said / For all of those things I shouldn’t of done, I need to say I got it wrong / I needed time I can’t sleep, it’s vicious /Can’t stop me when’s it gonna end / Walk, I’m walking, walk, I’m walking / You got me broken but I won’t give up

Stay in touch with Karlost:

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