Niall McCamley of The Spook School    

Why are you supporting MHF Live?  

I struggle with my mental health a lot and have been trying recently to be more vocal and also more constructive in how I discuss these things. I did a podcast called Made of Human with Sofie Hagen and the messages I received afterwards about the discussion we had about mental health caught me a bit off guard. There's a lot of people out there who feel alone, and I include myself in that at times, and, whilst I don't have a catchall answer to help people, being able to be honest with each other is so powerful.  

What’s your earliest musical memory? 

Not really sure what my earliest memory is but I remember my first cool gig I attended. I was 14 and went to Dublin to see Bowling for Soup. They were supported by a local band called The Keds which they announced was short for "The Dickheads" but venues wouldn't put that name on posters. I thought they were the coolest thing ever.  

What does music do for your mental health? 

It gives me an outlet. The world seems so constricting and full of rules but when you make your own music the options are endless. It can also be so private if you want it to be. An audio journal. Talking about things is hard, but being able to get things out of my head, even in an abstract two minute musical manner, is a pressure release.   

Who is the musician who has most inspired you? 

It probably sounds silly but Tre Cool from Green Day. He was the first drummer I saw that really showed his personality when he played and made me think I could actually play the drums. He was silly in their interviews and he wasn't just confined to being a 'band member' behind a lead singer. Being young and weird and obsessed with the drums meant Tre Cool played a big part of my musical life. 

What makes you happy? 

I'm still trying to work that out! The rest of the band find it strange but i quite like playing Football Manager 2015 while listening to the radio, watching TV and reading a newspaper. All at the same time. It's quite the cacophony if you're not used to it. But I think that makes me happy?  

What’s the best sound in the world? And the worst? 

Best sound is lots of people clapping. The worst sound is a single person clapping. 

What song is in your head just now? 

R.E.M. - 'So Fast, So Numb'. It's just one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands. I remember going to see them when I was younger and getting so excited I vomited. 

Please tell us about (and share) a piece of music that has had an impact on your mental health. 

Duke Special - 'Freewheel'. A song I listened to a lot growing up in Ireland and whenever I hear it brings up lots of memories of the past both good, bad and indifferent. "I don't want to stand still, I just want to freewheel." It also reminds not to get stuck or hung up on the past.  

The Spook School play Rockaway Beach 2019 in Bognor Regis, January 2019.​