THE ADDICTED DJ

The physical toll of DJing – disrupted circadian rhythm, back pain from being hunched over, standing on your feet for hours on end, jet lag, headaches and tinnitus are very real conditions.  But one thing we don’t talk about enough is addiction.

There’s this romantic notion of the addict artist. History is full of writers or painters that used substances to tap into or accelerate the creative process for their art.  But let’s be honest, in the end most eventually struggled in their art, succumbed to their addiction and left the earth too early.  DJing is no different.  It’s especially troublesome since DJing is attributed to nightlife and partying. You have an extremely volatile situation for a lot of vulnerable people.  There are plenty of reasons to keep your head clear and take care of yourself physically.  It’s so you don’t burn out faster than you need to and maintain a professional reputation.   I’ve spoken with DJs who struggle with staying sober, or fairly sober, while spinning and it’s challenging.  You have a long night ahead of you and it’s really hard to keep that energy up and also, you feel you need to be on the same “wavelength” as the audience.

I’m no saint and I don’t judge.  What I’m saying is that I think there is this side to DJing we don’t talk about and that is substance abuse.  I can’t get into a whole discussion about addiction and the different perspectives of it, I’m not qualified to do that.  I just know it’s a real issue in our culture.

There’s another issue I want to bring to light as well that we don’t talk about.  I’ve had DJs tell me they wish the audience weren’t on so many drugs or so wasted.  We all know that time of the night where everyone is “cracked out” and you as the DJ are forced to deal with it and it sucks.  You wonder, are they really hearing what I’m playing, am I really connecting with these people that seem to be pitching back and forth and face planting in front of my booth?

While we may never be able to truly change the fact that some people overuse or abuse, we can acknowledge the effects this part of our culture has on its artists and its people. At some point it’s time to really talk about these things.  At some point it’s time to start saying, this is not ok, this is unhealthy, this is not moving us forward.

I’ve found some great alternatives and people who are trying to imbibe health and wellness towards music, dancing and DJing.

Get Your Dance On: http://www.getyourdanceon.net/

Sadhu Music and Anthony Granata that put on Electric Yoga: http://www.crsny.org/blog/1866

The Immaculate Electronica Group: http://www.meetup.com/immaculate-electronica-NY/

If you think you need help please tell someone or contact your local substance abuse hotline.

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