Depression and mental health have long been cited as a common theme amongst artists, and in many cases their creative endeavors are a method of coping with these afflictions. Yet, when the chosen method of overcoming these stresses leads to compounding an already deteriorating health, the result can be disastrous.
We’ve already seen Avicii hospitalized twice before announcing his retirement at only 26-years-old, Carl Cox is stepping down from his 15-year Ibiza residency in fear of burning out, and Benga is just now returning to the scene after a two-year break to take care of his mental health.
In many ways, being a professional musician, especially in dance music, seems like the world’s greatest job. Traveling the globe, playing to thousands of screaming fans, making music, and living in excess sounds like a dream, but the career choice is not without its hardships.
Of the 552 professional musicians in a UK Help Musicians survey, 60% claimed to have experienced depression, identifying anti-social work hours, money troubles, and touring as the largest contributors.
While constant touring, sleep deprivation, lackluster food options, and time spent away from loved ones are all easily identifiable downsides, the more nuanced issues are the most dangerous to one’s health. You might not think that loneliness is commonly felt by touring DJs, what with fans swooning to their music and receiving constant celebrity treatment, but feelings of isolation can be all too real.
“I mean, I suffer from anxiety and depression. You don’t have a whole lot of emotional bandwidth for buffering any challenge. Sometimes I feel unhinged as a sober person on the road, like I’m on a totally different plane to everybody else I interact with. I won’t speak to another person until I get to the club and everyone is drunk or high and not on the same wavelength as I am. That feels really uncomfortable, too.” – Louisahhh
For a more in-depth look at the difficulties faced by DJs, and accounts of how artists like Louisahhh and Crookers have found their own ways to balance the DJ lifestyle, check out Nick Jarvis’ feature on Thump.