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Written by: Matt Lillywhite
Avicii, Lil Peep, and many others within the music industry have unfortunately lost their lives due to various issues surrounding mental health. It’s a serious subject that needs to be talked about more often – yet is sometimes criticized because “it’s a negative topic”. Without strong mental health, the consequences can be absolutely horrific. Loneliness, depression, and many other issues start to kick in, and you ultimately become a lot more suppressed by your own thoughts within both your personal and business life.
Many producers within the electronic dance industry completely overwork themselves to the point of exhaustion. Whether it’s finishing a new track, working on a mix for an upcoming show, or staying up until 3 am to have a call with the CEO of their favourite record label, everybody has taken actions which have negatively impacted their health. But this exact combination of personality traits is what causes the downfall of so many people within the music industry. For example, you could overwork yourself and not have the motivation to continue with a new track for months due to extremely persistent creative block.
A good way to deal with mental health problems as a music producer is by talking to a mental health specialist in your town/city. If you are genuinely unable to cope with the pressures that you are facing, it may be a good idea to seek professional help. Although it may come at a small cost, your health should always be the primary focus when making decisions. Due to the entrepreneurial nature of a producer, we tend to keep our thoughts & emotions very private as we are often focused on the task at hand. However, if you are able to open up to somebody (even a friend) about how you are feeling, the problems you are facing, and the causes of your unhappiness, it can be much easier to find a solution that will benefit both your health and career as a music producer within EDM.
As well as maintaining your mental state, your physical fitness should be considered fundamentally important to the success of your artist career. Research from multiple studies around the world has proven exercise to be more effective at combating mental fitness than anti-depressants. This is because the feeling of running a 5k, doing 100 push-ups, or a variety of other workouts can give you a significant feeling of accomplishment which boosts your happiness & confidence as a person. In addition, getting a reasonable amount of sleep accompanied by a reasonably healthy diet will give you the mental capacity to go out and achieve whatever goals you may have for the day.
Knowing the warning signs of an upcoming period of depression (or any other type of issue) is absolutely crucial so that you can prepare for whatever may come your way. Anxiety & depression are symptoms that naturally force us to retreat into a cocoon and ultimately close off the world from ourselves. Additionally, big changes in sleeping & eating habits are strong signs of mental health problems that are about to arise. It may be due to a variety of reasons such as performing on stage for the first time, tracks not achieving their desired results, or simply being unhappy with your career at its current stage. No matter how small or big the issue may seem, it needs attention so that it can be resolved. In order to combat this, consider taking a 30-minute walk around your city or neighbourhood in order to get some fresh air, meeting up with friends, or simply turning on the TV and watching your favourite show on Netflix to take your mind off music production. Essentially, you want to filter out the chaos and unpredictability that life within the music industry often brings around. However, If that doesn’t work, seeking out medical advice may be the best option for you.
Also, self-awareness of your own limits is absolutely vital to having good mental health as a music producer within EDM. If you feel depressed after being on Ableton until 3 am, stop doing it. If you are feeling unhealthy due to constant takeaway food, consider eating more fruits & vegetables in order to get a more balanced diet. Everybody within the music industry will undoubtedly face their fair share of hardships accompanied by adversity. But if you know how to deal with these difficult moments, and respect your mental limits, the risk of getting into a poor mental state significantly decreases.
Finally, finding somebody which you can support yourself is a great way to feel much better in whatever struggles you may be facing within your life. By helping others going through a similar problem, you can subconsciously give yourself the answers and guidance to push through the hardship you are currently undergoing. For example, if you and your friend are dealing with creative block, telling them some suggestions on how to overcome it will also give you a strong sense as to what can be done to overcome the creative block yourself as a music producer. By creating a structure within life that encourages both giving and receiving advice, it can boost your mental stamina, reduce loneliness, and ultimately make you feel a lot better.
Mental health is an issue that needs to be talked about more within the electronic music industry. But by talking to people, empathizing with their problems, and creating efficient systems to overcome problems, the journey may not be as difficult as originally seemed.