Mind Bath is an artist who writes proud pop tracks that are wrapped in soft synths and underlined by the occasional R&B groove. The tracks are inherently meditative and cleansing. It’s the pause we didn’t know we needed. Brock shares about discovering meditation, navigating gender expression and how his youth in the mountains influences his work. Based in Montreal (Canada), his debut album is out May 31. It features Flower Tattoo, whose official music video is unreleased – look out for it –, which films an alien-planet-esque shore and gorgeous styling.
Your previous releases explore raw youth and love. How would you describe Baby You Can Free Your Mind, your debut album?
It's about gay love, and sex, surrender, strength, left field production, feminism, bass and spirituality – which all lead to music for collectively healing and feeling ourselves. A real debut LP that I put years of work into and will always be proud of. I think the best parts of the record come from not knowing what I was doing or what I wanted and really allowing the time to experiment until I did.
Growing up in the mountains inspires you, as you confessed to Wonderland. Would you say your compositions of often-soft ambient synths and clear, subtly echoing vocals are reminiscent of how the mountains sound?
I wouldn’t say it’s intentional, but I’ve been chasing the peace I feel in the mountains through every city I’ve lived in, so maybe it comes out in the songs.
Do you use samples from nature?
Yes, historically that’s almost the only thing I’ve sampled! (Laughs) When we started mixing this album, me and Matt Otto spent a couple of days outside making a sample bank: rocks, wood, water, wind. On the tracks I produced, I think the only samples not from nature are a slamming door, an exploding lightbulb, dragging chains, and the Neptunes drums from Slave 4 U.
In a previous interview, you notice pop melodies “free the mind”. Do you think there is something particularly cathartic about the genre?
I just think it’s important to be lighthearted. If you take life and your art too seriously, it’s only going to hurt you. Trust me! Have fun, be cute. There’s a lot of garbage pop I don’t fuck with, but the good stuff is songwriting magic.
“If you take life and your art too seriously, it’s only going to hurt you. Trust me! Have fun, be cute.”
I noticed you have shared a meditation track on your SoundCloud. What does this practice mean to you?
I’ve always listened to meditation and ambient music to relax, but I just started actually practising meditation this year. I’m fairly naive and excitable about it at this point, but I’ve made time for it every day for months now and it’s really changing me. My focus has been on forgiveness, self-compassion, and realising the importance of resetting our stressed-out nervous systems. It has me praying and facing my fears and tapping into something so new I can’t explain it yet.
Am I right you have a Scorpio zodiac tattoo on your thigh? Does this have a link with your latest release?
The Scorpio I just released is a new version and Ouri’s interpretation of the first song I ever wrote and released (under another name) years ago. Please don’t find it and link it lol, I hadn’t found my voice yet. When that first single came out in 2014, my boyfriend at the time took me to get the tattoo as a gift. I got it on its side so you could only read it when my legs are spread because young scorps are obsessed with sex (laughs).
The music video for Girl (You Are Everything) featuring Fariha Róisín is beautiful, sensual and charming. Tell me more about how femininity inspires your work.
Thank you. When I was a kid, I thought my femininity was wrong, like I was a weak boy or maybe I was a mistake and I was supposed to be a girl. Then, we unlearn this terrible social conditioning and see feminine qualities as massive strength. I follow my feminine intuition and heart in all I do, and the femmes in that video helped shape me and this album.
Final track Mercury features a reference to escapism from perhaps masculine expectations during your childhood – “the mountains paint me masculine, sky rolling in”. Is my interpretation along the right lines?
Yes, but not really escapism now. The landscape of my small town was bliss, but small populations can also feel isolating, like diversity and queerness don’t exist. I was an athlete and on a snowboard team, so there was a sense of me adapting to the environment. This lyric is about how when I get back into that kind of nature and solitude I instinctively see that energy come out of me. I like it though, my masculinity is really grounding. We are so multi-faceted and shouldn’t police ourselves to be any which way.
Does producing under a moniker, rather than as Michael Brock, help you overcome anxiety when sharing your work?
One hundred per cent. Give yourself that grace, it’s way more fun.
What are your hopes for the future of the pop music industry?
I hope for it to reflect real life. Which sounds simple, but under capitalism, people want to be lied to. It’s so bizarre. I want to see all bodies, all voices, all expressions and spirits flipping the industry.