Since it is mental health awareness month and the topic has been as hot button as they come in the music business, as it should be, we asked several DJs to share how music has impacted or helped their mental health. The link between music and mental health continues to be explored in fields like music therapy and can be a good outlet for those struggling with depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses. Speaking to Magnetic, several DJs and electronic acts spoke about their personal link between music and mental health.
This is Leo Pellegrino from the band Too Many Zooz. Music is very important to my mental health. Ever since I was 11 I would use music to escape to a different world that music brought me to. When I would be dealing with the stresses of being a pre-teen I would just take out my saxophone and my problems would go away for a while. I used this as a coping method for all the world’s problems as I grew into a young man. I was scared for many years to be by myself but my saxophone would always make me feel like I had a friend. So I practiced a lot.
I then became successful and honestly as music moved from a hobby to career the business side of it became my stress. Luckily I am able to get up on stage every night and play the stress away. My saxophone allows me to be a super hero that people look up to and I take a lot of pride in that. The 90 minute shows we have almost every night act as a therapy session.
"I've been playing, producing, and recording music for over 15 years now and for me this is the main channel on how I communicate my emotions to the world. Music has always been and will always be a companion in my life that helps me express good and bad feelings, it simply is for my a channel on how I communicate with my outside world and that helps me going through good and bad times. The communication lies in writing lyrics about my current feelings, creating harmonies and sounds that musically express how I feel, or just a beat that simply emphasizes my mood. In the end it really doesn’t matter what music you make, it’s about the emotions you communicate. In this is how people connect.
I lived in different places in the world and whenever I moved somewhere new it was always hard to connect and get to know new people at first. So even when I was alone, music was there and helped me get through that phase of loneliness. It’s like your best friend that you can count on when there’s no one else there. On the other hand, music is a also wonderful “tool” to get to know new people very fast. I talked to stranger for hours about music and had a good time although I never saw that person again.
When writing music, I usually don’t start with a beat or a chord, I start with a feeling. I am trying really hard to kind of convert that feeling in some kind of musical expression. For electronic music with only little vocals, expressing those feelings is kind of abstract but it is in the little details of each track that gives the music a certain mood. For me, writing music is therapy. I went through some dark times and music helped me to get that sadness out of me and it has always worked out for me in the end."
"For me, the link between music and my emotional or mental states is pretty inextricable. I only really connect with music that moves me - if it gives me shivers, I'm into it. It's also a functional relationship. I'll intentionally listen to a certain track when I feel something that resonates with it. For example, breaking up with someone and whacking on Bon Iver, or getting gassed about something and banging out 'D.N.A' by Kendrick Lamar. Obviously, writing music is functional too. Usually my inspiration to sit down and write music comes directly from a feeling I have, and a need to express or exorcise it. Without that release, after a break writing or performing, I usually start to feel sort of emotionally blank, and getting back in a creative mindset is the best way to bring back the color."
"The best thing about music is the way it brings people together. During the week everyone just lives their separate lives which can be stressful with work and other personal problems for people. Events give people something to look forward to. It gives everyone a chance to come together, let loose and just enjoy themselves without worry or fear! We love the close knit family vibe that our events have, its like one big support unit and the love is real.
We've found various types of people at events, they could be ones that have social anxiety and feel like they have to be there, but end up loving it. Or maybe there's a type of person who goes on multiple nights out to avoid issues. We think at points in our lives we've all been one of those, but at the moment we're pushing music and what we do in a positive way, and we're expressing that passion, vibe and energy through the music we are getting out there."