Drugs, sleeplessness, isolation: the downside of being a dance musician
Summary/Commentary:The "glamorous" lifestyle we all imagine these DJs have isn't always so glamorous after all. On tour, it's very easy to go weeks or months without real human connection - the kind that really feeds your soul and needs as a human. The life of a touring DJ, specifically because of the speed at which they can tour, can severely impact mental health. In short, it's an increasingly prevalent issue in our industry that should not be taken lightly.This article originally appeared on The Guardian
Paavo Siljamaki and Jono Grant of Above & Beyond play New Orleans. Photograph: Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage
Afterparties, fame, a rockstar lifestyle: Above & Beyond’s Tony McGuinness says he would trade it all for just one night of solid sleep.
“Partying with people back at your hotel for three hours compared to getting some sleep: there’s just no competition,” he says. “Jet lag and being unable to sleep when you need it, this is the single biggest danger in our job.”
Last year, the Guardian reported on the dark side of touring – insomnia, anxiety and other mental illnesses exacerbated by an unstable life on the road, the breakups and destruction of personal relationships from inorganic human connection – and the problem is just as acute, if not more so, for DJs.
“The difference [between the music cultures] is the speed at which a DJ can tour,” McGuinness says. (He’s toured as one-third of the progressive trance trio for more than a decade.) “You have this completely flexible timescale that’s not available in rock’n’roll at all, and you’re often on in the middle of the night.”
“DJs finish shows at 3am or later,” adds Curt Cameruci of trap duo Flosstradamus. “Then we have to go back to the hotel and try to get a little sleep before an 8am flight, but we’re so amped up from the show that it’s hard to come down.”