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25 Jul 2018

Making music to the sounds of schizophrenia

An inspiring bassist and pianist who refuses to let the daily struggle of his schizophrenia stop him from making music is releasing his third album.

Rob Bayley, from Northampton, regards his latest album, Belief, as one of his greatest achievements, representing just how far he has come since being taken to a psychiatric hospital where he was sectioned on a secure ward at the age of 16.

The instrumental album captures the sounds of schizophrenia, a condition Rob was diagnosed with in his late teens. Since then, he has received various therapies and treatments, care from doctors and nurses with good and bad experiences, as well as different courses of antipsychotic medication.

Rob-Bayley, Credit: Chloe Bernard

Daily life can still be incredibly tough for Rob. He often experiences psychotic episodes and ridiculing and persecuting voices. But Rob believes music helps him manage his schizophrenia which brings him joy and purpose.

“Music is the thing that makes sense in what can often be a nightmare world,” he says.

The 51-year-old, who goes by the artist name of Lunar Shooter, is releasing Belief to raise money for SANE – an organisation he has campaigned alongside for more than 20 years. He has released two previous albums, Lunar Movements and Lunar Soundscapes, written articles describing psychotic illness, and published a book titled Lives Within a Life, chronicling the development of his schizophrenia.

Rob’s desire to produce his own album began back in the early 1990s. Not having the means of recording music, he sought out a beneficiary and Pink Floyd kindly provided Rob with a grant, which he used to set up a home studio. This facility enables Rob to turn the sounds he hears in his head into music. He expresses these by way of experimentation on various basses and guitars, as well as a wide spectrum of keyboards.

“Schizophrenia provides me with a unique view of the world and all of its noises and reverberations.”

Rob Bayley

“When I am coping with my condition, I can get a myriad of different sounds in my head, and I try to translate these into music in my studio. I find sound is very much tangible. I hear depth to sound and different layers of percussion, chord arrangements and bass rhythms. I take a great deal of inspiration from the things I’ve experienced and the visions I’ve had.”

Rob Bayley on guitar

Rob hopes his new album helps change the perception of schizophrenia and the stigma that so often comes with the condition.

He says: “This collection of compositions aims to show that schizophrenia need not constrain creativity. For me creativity is, quite literally, a lifeline.”

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of SANE, says: “Rob is a much-valued supporter of SANE, and we are delighted he is now releasing his third album, with all the proceeds going towards our work to support people affected by mental illness.”

Belief is available for download across platforms such as iTunes and Google Play. All proceeds go to SANE.

Listen to more of Rob’s music on his website.

Top image Credit: Chloe Bernard

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