Music, Mental Health and Means – A Conversation with Erin Incoherent

Erin Incoherent performing for Coping with Dystopia in March 2020. Photo credits - Bill Nobes

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Erin Incoherent was recently interviewed by New SCENE and North Forty News on our weekly podcast NoCo Now.

 

Steven Bonifazi

Singer-Songwriter Erin Cookman is embracing and destigmatizing mental illnesses through music whenever, wherever to bring communities together.

Known as her stage name Erin Incoherent, Erin was born and raised in Fort Collins, Colorado. Erin had sung her entire life, but It was here where she would join a punk band and began playing and performing music at the age of 13.

“The very first show I played was my 7th-grade talent show,” said Erin.

Erin graduated from Poudre High School and relocated to Portland, Oregon, after turning 21. For a few years, she lived back and forth in Colorado and Oregon until late 2017 when she moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, rebranding herself to Erin Incoherent and releasing her album Medusa in 2018.

When Erin was 22, she was diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder characterized by unstable moods and behaviors. Medusa tells Erin’s story of coming to terms with herself and how she can move forward in life.

“Music was always something that helped me process what I was going through,” said Erin. “All of my work has been dedicated to people who have mental illnesses, and I want people to feel a sense of togetherness and that there is nothing wrong with having what they have,” Erin said.

Erin Incoherent at The House of Robot, 2019. Photo credits – beloved1___ Habiyb

In January this year, Erin moved once again to New Jersey, where she created her recently released album, Déjà Vu. This 12-track album features songs such as “Of Roaches & Roommates” that touch on addiction, recovery, and what Erin refers to as changing behavior methods or being doomed to repeat the past.

The album speaks to many different parts of who Erin has been and what she experienced. The tracks “The Fog” and “The Storm” involve an ex-lover of Erin’s as she explains to him what went wrong and what he has to look forward to continuing life without her.

Most importantly, the album helped propel Erin into evolving into the woman she is today.

Déjà Vu really helped me challenge the lessons of me changing and breaking new ground,” said Erin. “The three months before I released Déjà Vu, I hated it, and I was supercritical, but then I heard voices in my head say you have to fall in love with it,” Erin said.

All of Erin’s work is autobiographical, which provides her a way to interpret her own existence. Much of the time, she can talk herself through emotional episodes through writing.

One of the biggest issues facing people today is a lack of compassion, community, and unity in Erin’s eyes. For her, playing a part in bringing people together and promoting self-love is half the battle.

“I want people to know that self-love is a living breathing entity, it is its own part of your identity, and you have to show up and give that person love,” said Erin. “It would be cowardly to not show up when we’re being asked to do the work,” Erin said.

In August, Erin moved back to Fort Collins after finishing her album. She came back to be closer to her brother Van as COVID-19 continued to surge across the country.

Today she spends her days loving her life, becoming more comfortable with herself, and speaking how she wants to be heard. Nevertheless, she realizes her work has just begun.

“I just want whoever reads this to feel like they can change the world, and it is up to them to show up and do what they can,” said Erin. “There is hope and an accessible future, and we are the ones who make it,” Erin said.


For more information regarding Erin Inchorenet, including her discography, visit: https://erinincoherent.bandcamp.com/music or follow her on social media at erin_incoherent on Instagram and Erin Incoherent on Facebook