The Shins’ James Mercer discusses his battles with anxiety and depression

'Back then you just got told to shut up'

The Shins‘ frontman James Mercer has spoken out about his battles with anxiety and depression.

Mercer is gearing up to release The Shins’ fifth album ‘Heartworms’. One of the record’s tracks ‘The Fear’ deals with Mercer’s experience with anxiety – something he’s learned to deal with since childhood.

“When I was a kid, I would have waves of it that lasted months and I didn’t know what the hell was going on,” he told NME. “Back then you just got told to shut up. It faded into this depression that lasted a while, and I haven’t had that for a long while. Sometimes anxieties come in, just from knowing that I have kids and I have to be there. It comes at weird moments in life, too. Like we went for this big meal the other night because The Shins are releasing a new record, and then I realised that it’s just me in The Shins so all those people were there for me.”


He added: It was weird. It was friendly, but I was so anxious. ‘The Fear’, the song, is about someone who realises that he missed an opportunity with a relationship and he’s sad about it. The door has closed and he’s sad about it.”

  • Check back at NME for more of our interview with Mercer

The Shins release ‘Heartworms’ on 10 March, before UK tour dates including Green Man Festival and BBC 6 Music Festival.

For more information, advise and help in dealing with anxiety and depression, visit MIND or CALM.


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