Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach: Mental Health + Mushrooms
Killswitch Engage's Jesse Leach has been one of the most active advocates for speaking out on mental health, sharing his own struggles along the way. In this exclusive interview, the singer explains his almost necessary relationship with the darkness as an artist and how psilocybin mushrooms have helped mitigate some of the roadblocks.
"Unfortunately yeah for the most part it does," Leach said when asked if writing under dark circumstances yields the best results, specifically regarding the song "I Am Broken Too."
"That's only if I'm writing from a personal perspective," he clarified, "That song actually is written about somebody else, which was a unique way to deal with it seeing how they processed it and then putting myself in the narrative — I'm talking to somebody, it's a conversation that's happening."
It's a frustrating balance as Leach explained, "You kind of need dark times and tragedy to inspire songs that dig that deep," noting that a song about happiness just wouldn't have the same hard-hitting effect.
"It sucks, but it's my muse," the frontman said of his relationship with dark times. "It is what it is," he lamented, going on to say, "Having a mental illness, you don't want to be depressed but if you didn't have that disorder you wouldn't be as creative as you are. Most creative people have that shift, that issue, that mental illness and it's a blessing and a curse. You just have to learn how to wrestle with it, how to deal with it. Thankfully over the years through being open and having a conversation about it and seeking alternative therapies and exercise and diet even, you learn how to manage it."
To help manage his mental state, the Killswitch singer has turned to small doses of psilocybin mushrooms over the last four years, which he claims has been tremendously beneficial.
"As far as maintaining my mental health, you take a mushroom, take the cap off, eat the cap. It's going to give you three or four hours of a very mellow, balanced, warm, comfortable buzz," he said of his personal experiences. As for the positive effects, Leach detailed, "My social anxiety goes away, I'm feeling good, I'm feeling happy, I'm finding joy in music and food. It just kind of helps push you in a better direction and the after effects will last for days. It helps regulate the nervous system and the mind."
He's a big proponent of this natural (yet illegal) alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, but stresses that responsibility, moderation, control and research must be exercised. "If you're taking a handful of mushrooms and eating them and expecting that to help your mental health, it's not going to fucking help — you're probably going to lose it [laughs]. You're gonna be naked crying. You've got to be responsible with it and to me I take it very seriously.”
Watch the complete interview in the video above and get your copy of Killswitch Engage's new album, Atonement, which comes out Aug. 16 on Metal Blade, here.
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