DJ Music producer and mental health

DJ Music producer and mental health
Written by: Dexxter Clark
A topic that people in the music industry don’t like to talk about is mental health.

Mental and physical health is a big problem for artists like DJs.
You have it a bit more easier if you are only a music producer.
You could technically safely close the door at 6 and go home.
Do you remember Avicii?

Stress is a real natural survival mechanism.
But the way we think about stress in our society is unhealthy.

Stress is the number one cause of cancer, and stress is the number one cause of death when you count also stress-related illnesses like heart attacks.
And still, most job ads mention stress as part of the job.
Stress was meant to be a coping mechanism in case you where chased by a tiger.

Not to increase the workload so someone else can drive a bigger car.

Why can’t that order wait until tomorrow and has to be shipped today?
When you think about it, stress is forced upon you by someone else, mostly because of a financial motivation where you rarely profit from yourself.

The person that drives the bigger car and doesn’t know that you stressed to get the work done.

DJ ing isn`t a party (it is… but the party of someone else).
It means you have to be in shape for you next gig.

You can’t do much the day of the gig, because you have to give everything in the couple of hours you are working.

The hours are excruciating, you start at midnight until early morning, sleep (can you sleep during the day??), and travel to your next gig.
But at least that’s a rhythm, right? Wrong!

If you travel between timezones. there is no rhythm: night = day, day = sometimes night, night = night sometimes... (but not always)
And a lot of DJs drink and use drugs
How long do you think you can continue to do that?

In a regular 9-5 job, you work and have the night off, sleep and go back to work the next day.
In a regular job your boss has a problem if you burn out (at least here in Europe).
He has to pay you when you are doing ‘nothing’ at home.

He has to pay for your illness, so it is in his best interest to keep you healthy.

But with DJing you have obligations and expectations.

You signed a contract with your manager (booking agent, tour manager etc etc) in which you promise to take every gig.
Are you ill? That’s your problem, you have to perform, you signed for it.
And if you cancel, you can get away with a fine (if you are lucky), but you also disappoint your fans.
Have you ever thought about how big the pressure is when peoples salary depends on you doing a gig, and you are the ‘only’ one who doesn’t want/can’t do it?

There are only a few that do not cave under that kind of pressure, just suck it up for a couple of hours by taking a pill and a tray of Red Bull … and everybody is happy.
As a DJ you are responsible for you own mental health, and not everyone is capable to do that (Avicii).

Everyone wants to be a big star overnight and there is the ‘lucky’ 1% who manage to do that.
But for the rest of us...

You learn a lot along the way up, also not to step in pitfalls like bad record deals.
In my opinion it is better reaching the top slowly and healthy than fast and burned out.

If you are serious about DJing and want to take it to the next level on the CDJ,
you should check out my CDJ 2000 video course.

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photo author dexxter clark
Dexxter Clark
Music Producer / YouTuber

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