Dance Music Culture Pt. 3 – Mental Wellbeing Issues

In 2018 one event shook the electronic music scene- Avicii had committed suicide, shortly after his close friends reported how happy and inspired he seemed. He retired from playing shows and instead of getting better, it looks like he got worse. The event was quite a shock, but it lead to numerous other electronic musicians to take a break from music and focus on their mental health. Last year Eric Morillo (49) and i_o (30, one of my personal favourites) both committed suicide, along with countless others- the list is too long. What is behind these events? The trend is worrying and uncovers a dangerous truth hidden behind the DJ desks…

Mental health has always been a big issue in the music scene, especially after the rise of popularity in drugs. This is especially prevalent in the electronic/dance scene. The deadliest part of the whole story is the lack of sleep. DJs can sometimes play daily shows up to months at a time, leading to dangerous lack of sleep. They take drugs and drink alcohol in order to keep u with the crowd and also stop themselves from crashing. This is a vicious cycle that leads to many dying and those who survive experience total mental depletion. Burnout, depression and anxiety creep up onto touring DJs, especially on comedown from drugs, and this gets worse and worse with prolonged chemical abuse. On top of that, people in the industry do not seem to have proper support from experts, or refuse to listen until it’s too late.

A big problem in the music industry is that it is heavily populated with 2 high-risk groups- young, inexperienced people and people with previous mental health issues. Living such a high-paced life filled with dangerous temptations will quickly exaggerate mental disorders and on the other side overwhelm the young and developing mind, breeding many insecurities and mental struggles.

Having a public life is a very hard thing to deal with. The most notable example of this is Britney Spears’ breakdown. Though she is a pop star and not an electronic musician, this is quite relevant to this article, as Britney is a musician under heavy public scrutiny. She is a prime example how badly negative press can impact someone’s mental health. On top of that, she is still being controlled by her family and management to an extent. DJs are also heavily directed by their management and this often leads to them feeling powerless, even miserable.

i_o once mentioned in his Tweets how during the times of the pandemic, we can truly see how many people care for us. Those who do will check in on us daily and offer help in any form they can. Unfortunately, one of his last posts on instagram, with a caption “do u ever question ur life” wasn’t taken as a warning sign that he needs checking up on.

This documentary gives an insight behind the scenes and showcases interviews with iconic DJs, like Carl Cox, Pete Tong, Eric Morillo, Seth Troxler, Luciano and other, giving us an insight in how they feel being part of the business:

This second documentary is about the world’s “craziest” DJ, Fat Tony, who claims he had spent over a million pounds on drugs, during his 28 years of using. He clearly shows us how much problems drugs cause to DJs and multiply their mental health struggles:

This article is a reminder to frequently check on your loved ones and make action, don’t just leave them with a few empty words.

COVID Music industry

The Devastating Impact of COVID-19 on the Music Industry

It’s now been more than a year since COVID-19 first started spreading in China. The virus has not only killed infected people, but it has also taken many industries with it. The music industry is one of Corona’s economic victims. In a nutshell, sources like Billboard and Amsterdam Dance event, the music industry finally recovered from a drastic downfall it experienced and electronic music artists in 2019 were making more than during the 2017 peak of the industry. The pre-covid yearly industry revenue was 7.3 billion, and now it has fallen almost 70%, which is a shocking pitfall. This article talks about the ways in which the industry is trying to cope with the loss.

The first major thing that happened was that over 90% of festivals were cancelled. Shortly after, clubs followed. This hurt artists a lot, because ever since the start of the 00’s, live performances have made up the majority of any musician’s revenue. Everyone moved online, organised streams and virtual festivals, which are accompanied by fundraisers intended to support the staff that has been put out of work due to the virus (i.e. promoters, bartenders, sound staff). However, these efforts were not enough, and pretty quickly we saw the closing of some of the most iconic clubs in Europe.

The Summer came and Ibiza and Majorca did the unimaginable- they closed their seasons. These islands are famous for their clubbing scene and at least 80% of their economy relied on party tourism. This has put many seasonal staff out of work.

Since standard festivals couldn’t be held anymore, organisations came up with the concept of “drive-ins” and “socially-distanced” festivals, but this is obviously not sustainable in the long run. Firstly, it is not cost-efficient and tickets are quite expensive. On top of that, festivals rely on international visits, which is highly discouraged during the global pandemic times.

One name that stood out with its charitable work and artist support during these times was Bandcamp. The biggest news they announced is that every Friday, the company would forgot about 15% revenue made from digital sales, channeling that money back to the independent artists. Besides the company itself, numerous artists made campaings on the pplatform where they donated 100% of album revenue to COVID relief organisations.

Many people are in need of mental support during these times, because it is hard to cope with quarantining and not being able to live a normal life. But there have been some positives- we are united more than ever and everyone is trying to help each other. Pineer DJ company has made a documentary that gives insight into how the music industry staff have been handling the situation. They showcase the stories of 5 prominent electronic DJs, who talk about their past and current experiences.