What a Sugar Addiction Taught Cosmic Strip About Creative Drive

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In this personal essay, Cosmic Strip frontwoman Camella Agabalyan talks us through the process of putting together an unreleased music video, and what the experience of creating the band’s song Sugar Rush taught her about addiction, mental health, and creativity.

I originally wrote Sugar Rush when I was ill and had to cut out sugar from my diet. I couldn’t believe how addicted my body had become to sugar over the years – the withdrawals on that first week were overwhelming – dizziness, tiredness, seeing double, feeling faint.

A week after I felt fine but the sensation was so intense it made me think about the significance of dependency and addiction in humans. I am conscious of my own cravings in life but I am only starting to understand my deeper and darker triggers that drive you day to day. Once Sugar Rush was completed, I started exploring the concept of addiction and put a plan in place to shoot a music video with a pair of twins that could represent the constant struggle of the human psyche with dependence. We shot some really beautiful emotive scenes between them both and some also quite intense and harrowing moments. It felt like the perfect representation of what I was trying to communicate with my song.

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One of my many addictions in life centre around me taking too many projects on board, having too many big ambitions which give me constant pressure to be perfect and deliver perfect work. This video didn’t end up being released, like many other videos that I have worked on for Cosmic Strip previously. It’s always been a big learning curve for me to teach myself to take a step back when things don’t go according to plan and to work on my anxiety when I feel I’m letting myself down.

I feel like Sugar Rush now takes two meanings for me: the original concept of feeling the physical withdrawals from sugar but also my new stance based on my mental needs to satisfy my creative output to an unachievable level. I look at these photos and still feel a sense of achievement as I believe I have still managed to create a world in which ‘Sugar Rush’ can live in.

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The images will always be a good reminder for me and my creative ambitions. It also really feels like a stepping stone to me in terms of understanding my addictions which can take control of me and bring me down.

I hope as a viewer you will understand the idea behind the song and visuals and perhaps dig a bit deeper at your own dependencies. It’s interesting to me the song was originally written around a physical reaction and has ended up focusing around more focused issues around my mental health.

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Photography by Sean Carpenter.