[Photo by: GutterLIFE/Youtube]

Melodic-punk band GutterLIFE just released a powerful music video for “Haunted,” which deals with drug overdose and regret. Vocalist Matthew VanRossem wrote a letter about the song's meaning and what the band wanted to accomplish with the video. “Addiction can be to a toxic person, a drug, a relationship, anything really,” he states. “To me, making this video was so important and the process was cathartic.”

Read more: Travis Barker, Anthony Green talk addiction, depression and Chester Bennington

This is not the first time the Long Island outfit—VanRossem, guitarists Adam Lutz and Andrew Nicolae, bassist Matthew Kelly David and drummer Jesús Arancibia—have raised awareness on themes involving mental health. The inital proceeds from their single “Strung Island” were donated to To Write Love On Her Arms in 2015.

The goal with “Haunted” is to make people think twice before comitting to something that could harm them and the people they care about. “I wanted the video to share a message that you aren't alone,” explains VanRossem. “I wanted the viewer to question their own state of mind and possibly make them think twice about how a permanent decision, like suicide, could be such a horrible regret if they could see themselves in the same dark light.”

Watch the video and read VanRossem's statement in full below:

“I remember writing this song when I had no place else to go. It seems more like a distant memory now but the feeling is always lingering. At the time I was living place to place. Who knows exactly where for sure… probably reeling from anxiety driven from whatever binge I was recovering from the night before—just low with no place to go, no escape. [It's] a common theme for a depression sufferer with a tendency to mask every emotion by draining the life from whatever liquid substance can be drawn from a bottle or can. I wanted out. I just laid there thinking about how I had nothing to look forward to and how I had made a huge mistake coming back to Long Island from my beautiful California escape, the place I journeyed to with my band to clean myself up only to return under the dark cloud I spent every dollar and breath, making sure I'd never have to return to again. Yet there I was, nothing changed. In that moment of hopelessness, I opened my backpack to reveal a concoction of pill bottles and medications I'd been saving for an extremely rainy day. Truth is it wasn't raining, and I wasn't sure I wanted to stick around for when it did. I remember spotting a pen in my bag with an old receipt and writing a note so personal it would stay hidden in my wallet for years. 

“The note in my wallet was my apology. The minute I took the pills, I knew there was a very real chance I would never wake up. I kept it with me in my wallet until it sank on a boat I'd been living on this past January in a snowstorm. Of all the things I lost that day (including almost all my belongings and my beloved white Epiphone SG), the note was the only thing I didn't and will not miss. 

“After hearing the song and seeing the video, so many people wanted to know who the song was about. And the truth of it all is that it really isn't about anyone but yourself, and your vices. Addiction can be to a toxic person, a drug, a relationship, anything really. To me making this video was so important, and the process was cathartic. Being asked what it would be like to realize you are gone by your own hand is really heavy stuff. I wanted the video to share a message that you aren't alone. You see my entire band mourning for me in the beginning, and we had to stop filming a few times because of the depth of the content. During the shoot I lived what would've been my worst nightmare and, because of it, I hope others will see that my reactions aren't even truly acting. There are other ways to deal with suffering, and though I'm still working on my own issues I know that these vices will only bring me to one place, ’A love so deep it filled the grave,’. 

“I felt it was important to add the suicide hotline number at the end of the video because I wanted whoever was watching to empathize with the remorse I felt seeing myself after I took my own life. I wanted the viewer to question their own state of mind and possibly make them think twice about how a permanent decision like suicide could be such a horrible regret if they could see themselves in the same dark light.” 

On December 30th, GutterLIFE will be supporting August Burns Red on the second CI Annual Xmas Show.

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