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Josh Kmak on the mend

Garage-rocker reaches out in depression, finds salient support on social media

Local rocker Josh Kmak: “I ended up walking into a hospital. I spent three days there... My big focus now is to find a therapist.”
Local rocker Josh Kmak: “I ended up walking into a hospital. I spent three days there... My big focus now is to find a therapist.”

Josh Kmak says his commitment to making music both helped and hurt him through a very dark time.

The multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter sits in occasionally with the Schizophonics and has played with the New Kinetics. He was a key player in the breakout local garage band Shady Francos.

Video:

Shady Francos

...live at Mays 2015

...live at Mays 2015

“I went through about four different band members,” Kmak says about an unfulfilled obsession. “I wanted to keep the band going, but I couldn’t find people who were as dedicated as me.”

So the Shady Francos disbanded last summer.

“That was the seed of it,” he says of the onset of a year-long bout with depression that he is still dealing with. “If a member couldn’t be a part of the band I was always worried, Who else could I get? It was, like, Oh my gosh, I can’t keep a band going to save my life. I was scared that this is all I know how to do and that I would only end up with a handful of songs.”

Kmak says he has no family history of depression but that the anxiety was “like a circle going around in my head” that kept growing. “Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. This has been the worst year. I don’t know one person who is having a good time this year.”

A few months ago he admitted he started having really bad thoughts on social media. “I was ready to check out. I just said, ‘I don’t know when this depression will end.’ It’s a cliché, but when you’re in that hole you really don’t see any light.... I just thought my friends deserved to know.”

Kmak’s fellow musicians rallied and help him take the next step.

“The biggest impact I got from that post is all the people who got ahold of me to tell me I’m not alone. A really important part of dealing with depression is hearing from people and not thinking that nobody would miss me if I’m gone. You start to feel better automatically.

“I ended up walking into a hospital. I spent three days there. I was scared they were going to pump me full of a bunch of stuff. I just take one med to balance my serotonin levels. My big focus now is to find a therapist.”

His new solo record is out this week. “Someone told me that when you go through this, it’s the best time to write music. Throughout this whole year I never quit music. I never stopped writing. It was definitely fuel for me.”

Kmak releases The Undertone this week. “With the exception of a few solos, I played everything on it. Eventually I’d like it released on vinyl.” For now it’s free at creepseed1.bandcamp.com.

Kmak, 26, says playing live will have to wait. “Right now I’m not ready to jump back into that. I just started the healing process. But I do miss it.”

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Local rocker Josh Kmak: “I ended up walking into a hospital. I spent three days there... My big focus now is to find a therapist.”
Local rocker Josh Kmak: “I ended up walking into a hospital. I spent three days there... My big focus now is to find a therapist.”

Josh Kmak says his commitment to making music both helped and hurt him through a very dark time.

The multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter sits in occasionally with the Schizophonics and has played with the New Kinetics. He was a key player in the breakout local garage band Shady Francos.

Video:

Shady Francos

...live at Mays 2015

...live at Mays 2015

“I went through about four different band members,” Kmak says about an unfulfilled obsession. “I wanted to keep the band going, but I couldn’t find people who were as dedicated as me.”

So the Shady Francos disbanded last summer.

“That was the seed of it,” he says of the onset of a year-long bout with depression that he is still dealing with. “If a member couldn’t be a part of the band I was always worried, Who else could I get? It was, like, Oh my gosh, I can’t keep a band going to save my life. I was scared that this is all I know how to do and that I would only end up with a handful of songs.”

Kmak says he has no family history of depression but that the anxiety was “like a circle going around in my head” that kept growing. “Everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. This has been the worst year. I don’t know one person who is having a good time this year.”

A few months ago he admitted he started having really bad thoughts on social media. “I was ready to check out. I just said, ‘I don’t know when this depression will end.’ It’s a cliché, but when you’re in that hole you really don’t see any light.... I just thought my friends deserved to know.”

Kmak’s fellow musicians rallied and help him take the next step.

“The biggest impact I got from that post is all the people who got ahold of me to tell me I’m not alone. A really important part of dealing with depression is hearing from people and not thinking that nobody would miss me if I’m gone. You start to feel better automatically.

“I ended up walking into a hospital. I spent three days there. I was scared they were going to pump me full of a bunch of stuff. I just take one med to balance my serotonin levels. My big focus now is to find a therapist.”

His new solo record is out this week. “Someone told me that when you go through this, it’s the best time to write music. Throughout this whole year I never quit music. I never stopped writing. It was definitely fuel for me.”

Kmak releases The Undertone this week. “With the exception of a few solos, I played everything on it. Eventually I’d like it released on vinyl.” For now it’s free at creepseed1.bandcamp.com.

Kmak, 26, says playing live will have to wait. “Right now I’m not ready to jump back into that. I just started the healing process. But I do miss it.”

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