Self-Portrait: Hayden Thorpe

Off Your Bike

Jun 07, 2019 Photography by Hayden Thorpe Web Exclusive
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For our recurring Self-Portrait feature we ask a musician to take a self-portrait photo (or paint/draw a self-portrait) and write a list of personal things about themselves, things that their fans might not already know about them. This Self-Portrait is by Hayden Thorpe.

Thorpe, formerly the singer for British art-rockers Wild Beasts, released his debut solo album, Diviner, last month via Domino. In 2017 Wild Beasts announced their breakup in a typed up statement, signed by the band and posted to Instagram. That was followed by a final EP, Punk Drunk and Trembling, three farewell concerts in February 2018, and a final album, February 2018's live in the studio release Last Night All My Dreams Came True (which featured new interpretations of songs from across their catalogue).

Diviner was written in California, Cornwall, and at Thorpe's home in London. Thorpe had this to say about the album in the press release announcing it: "My adulthood was based on a certain belief system, a band, a family. When it shifted entirely, I had a ghost I had to find a new haunt for.... I believe in the medicinal properties of songs. I believe in their healing properties, Songs defy time, they don't erode or denature, they come with you and reform anew in your mind as and when you need them.... I broke up with myself. So this is a break-up album, but not about a relationship. It's a break-up from a past self, it's a breakup from the old idea of yourself and therefore every relationship, of all kinds, that you've ever had."

Read on as Thorpe writes about a teenage near death experience, the strange way he sleeps, and more.

1. At 14 years old I was rescued by an off duty lifeguard from a violent sea in NSW, Australia. I remember very distinctly reasoning with it being my end. It was peaceful, I only felt life had been a little short. Death has never scared me since then. 

2. I can sleep for eight hours sat bolt upright. My circadian rhythm is pretty binary, on/off. At times of creative pressure my sleep can recede to three hours with no apparent effect on my daily functioning, I relish those periods. 

3. The classic children's book series Postman Pat was written in the post office on the road I grew up on. It involves the antics of a postman and his black and white cat in rural northern England. 

4. The bloody fingernail of my index finger on the Diviner sleeve occurred as I was riding my bike to artist Olly Chanarin's studio on the day of the shoot. I fell off the bike beside a canal quite dramatically. There wasn't a mark anywhere else other than on that one finger. I arrived and we began shooting immediately. 

5. I recently undertook a guided breathing meditation and through some quirk of natural body chemistry had a profound sensation of inhabiting soil and stratosphere simultaneously. A huge rare deepwater fish called a hoodwinker then washed up in my thoughts as if from the depths of my subconscious. I'm still unpacking it. 

www.twitter.com/Hayden_Thorpe

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