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Shining a light on isolation through music

An animation of an older man from the video for the Egomunk song Islands

The art of isolation

There are many ways to raise money for Age UK, and to draw attention to the issues experienced by older people during the coronavirus crisis. Egomunk has managed to do both with the release of the song Islands.

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The mysterious Egomunk recently released the song Islands, which examines the loneliness experienced by older people, particularly during the period we're currently in. Proceeds from the song are being donated to Age UK, too, as discussed in our recent interview.

We’ve been amazed by the variety of ways people have been fundraising for Age UK in recent months. From shaving heads and family relays, to indoor mountain climbing and ultramarathons, the levels of invention shown have helped our work and inspired others to follow suit. Some have taken themselves out of their comfort zone by trying something new, while others have focused their efforts around their passions.

Egomunk has done the latter with the song Islands, a piano-led ballad with electronic elements, which recognises the loneliness and isolation experienced by older people. And not only is Islands accompanied by a thought-provoking animated video that brings these themes to life, Egomunk is donating proceeds from the song to Age UK’s Coronavirus Emergency Appeal too.

Egomunk's true identity has been one of the most closely guarded secrets in the music industry since the release of debut album Footsteps to Mars in 2016, with collaborators asked to sign non-disclosure agreements. This anonymity allows for greater artistic freedom. “We can create music without concern for the listener making judgements or having expectations about who we are and what they expect us to do,” explains Egomunk. “Our concern is how we stay human.”

What can you tell us about Islands?

“The song highlights loneliness and the need for care for older people, which is an important message during this current crisis. As well as being from The Only One EP, it is also part of a trilogy that goes on to tell the tale about an older man, who is retired, being looked after by his carer. The next two chapters will follow their journey together.”

What was your personal impetus for writing it?

“It’s based on seeing a world of isolated older people, who have been in their homes for some time, not just during the COVID-19 outbreak but before that too. It could not be more pertinent to our here and now, from the first line, ‘I don’t ever think I’ve ever been as lonely as you...’”

Why did you decide to donate proceeds to Age UK?

“We all know someone in our family or on our street whose living situation has been compromised and needs assistance. Many older people are disinclined to seek support from their neighbours, family or friends. Knowing there is a professional body they can reach out to for support provides solace, as some older people may be too proud to explain their circumstances to their peers, or not want to be seen as a burden.”

How did you become aware of the work of Age UK?

“We’ve known about Age UK’s work for a long time. We were reviewing the finished animation for the song as the world was waking up to the consequences of coronavirus. We wondered what the older man featured in the video would do if he didn’t have the good fortune to have a carer to comfort him. Having asked that question, we thought of Age UK.”

Why is this such a challenging time for older people?

“The fear of being the most vulnerable must be incredibly disquieting. And the challenge of having to protect themselves from catching the virus may be overwhelming, mentally and physically, especially when care homes have demonstrated what a devastating task it is. We create anonymously as a choice; older people don’t have a choice in this, they have to adhere to this guidance through necessity.”

The video for Islands is powerful and features something of a twist ending. What was the brief?

“The concept was a take on a modern society where older people had become ignored. It was therefore important that we showed the indelible bond between the older man and the carer. We wanted to display their close, loving relationship. It is about loneliness, set in the future but mirroring contemporary issues.

“In the closing scene the carer takes the older man to the window to see children happily stood around a Christmas tree. Seeing him experience their joy is touching. At the moment older people can see what’s happening outside their homes but are unable to let people in due to the locldown or because they’re shielding. It’s a difficult time but better days will come.”

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Last updated: Jun 09 2020

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