INT : EDM DJ’s express angst about mental health, addictions
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July 26, 2016 at 1:09 pm #704092
Decent article; wasn’t expecting to see Above and Beyond being mentioned in the Grauniad to start with; for decades they always treated EDM as “low brow” culture (unless the performers were not from a “western” country) and were biased towards guitar music.
I had noticed myself that Armin Van Buuren went from looking about 18 to looking around 50 in the space of the last few years (poor blighter has lost nearly all his hair) in spite of being worth millions of Euros…
I think all my friends who were part of East Anglias EDM scene (many of them respected producers and promoters have gone back to the day jobs as they have families to support and its less stressful…)July 26, 2016 at 1:23 pm #983226
PS: this graphic from the article is worth a look – It doesn’t surprise me that US rap/hip hop artists don’t live long as they have the unfortunate tendency to get shot at, but I hadn’t realised EDM is now that much lower down the list, (then again a few artists I remember from back in the day are already brown bread) or that country and western performers were healthier as in the 80s/90s loads of them were keeling over…July 28, 2016 at 3:33 am #983229
Interestingly or not so interestingly a good share of the people I’ve known who passed away from drugs were musicians of some sort.July 28, 2016 at 5:17 pm #983227
Although the above graph seems to be based on USA data I think the same applies in the UK or for English language music/more modern genres – in mainland Europe there are cultural differences that seem to mean most Schlager/Piratenhits artists live well into their middle age and beyond. One thing I’ve noticed with European pop genres (which does influence EDM artists in those countries such as AVB, Ferry Corsten etc) is the musicians don’t even consider music to be a long term career themselves!
Armin actually took a break from DJ’ing at the height of his career in the late 90s/early 2000s so he could finish his University law course, part of which he studied in SE England (which is why he speaks perfect English with a posh British accent). A lot of the Europeans (sensibly) retire from touring at relatively early ages and/or have a big emphasis on stable family environments rather than hedonistic lifestyles and relationships.
On the Schlager scene, still popular with older people in more suburban/rural North European areas though it does have younger fans the term “Musikant (DE/NL)” is often used to describe the artists and in event titles such as “Musikantenstädl”.
This actually means an amateur or part time folk musician rather than a professional musician (Musiker (DE) / Musicus (NL)); a lot of the older artists returned to their normal day jobs or start families; although it is not uncommon for their work to involve such things as running record shops or teaching music in high schools (which is valued a lot more in NL and DE than in UK). Many of them even return to touring in their 60s, 70s and 80s! There doesn’t seem to be such a thing as a “superstar DJ” and all the artists and promoters are very approachable and support their local economies without anything obviously controversial/illegal happening (other than uncle and grandpa getting the local lads to scale mobile phone towers and put up unlicensed transmitters :laugh_at: )
This is perhaps hard to explain without linking to a lot of stuff which is not in English and few would understand (other than illiesse and Angel maybe) but this is IMO much closer to a true underground music scene in the European sense (although it has parallels with underground techno culture of the UK and FR in the 1990s/2000s) than the American EDM or pop music industries and it does also still influence the culture associated with music events of all genres in mainland Europe.July 28, 2016 at 6:10 pm #983230
Its worth mentioning that there some outlyers who partied hard and toured for 40 years and are still alive such as George Clinton and Keith Richards.
Whats scary to me is rap artists dieing at 25 on average, that means that for every rapper making it to 50 or 60 there will be 4 or 5 dieing at 20 our younger. :crazy:
I wonder if that chart is mean or median, if it is mean as it purports to be then that is ridiculous.July 28, 2016 at 6:56 pm #983228
I just saw a picture of Kevin Saunderson and two other dudes who worked with him from back in the day at some ceremony in City Hall getting some medals and some certificates that give them the freedom of Detroit for their good work for the community and they must be in their 50s.
What is worrying is that rap and EDM are new genres that have only really existed in the last few decades.
In the case of USA rap and other “urban” music genres including the British equvalent known as grime (plus more recent West Indian genres derived from reggae) there is the factor that some lyrics and samples are aggressive, encourage gang rivalries and can lead to people shooting and stabbing one another; but this is not as often the case within EDM genres such as house and techno.
I think a lot of the problems affecting UK/USA performers is due to a lack of a wider support network (compared to mainland Europe) and an unrealistic expectation of long term careers in the entertainment industry (and a vicious circle as EDM and urban dance music is associated with drugs and those on the lower socio economic groups) – for instance in my town (which is to be fair a relatively affluent and safe place) there are hardly any EDM events anywhere; and outside of a dwindling number of clubs and pubs late night music venues and festivals are hard to get licensed unless the Church of England puts in a good word for them (I kid you not; at least the local vicars seem to like drum and bass :laugh_at:).
However with superstar DJs in their 40s upwards who presumably have made some cash in previous years, surely there is the option to take a step back?
I recently read on some US site called the Daily Beast that todays pop musicians are in effect competing with the work of the recently deceased ones such as Prince, Amy Winehouse etc who have substantial back catalogues and obviously though they can no longer perform do not cost the labels any “artist management” expenses, so they are literally “competing with zombies”. I’m not sure if this was meant as a real article or satire but it does have some truth to it.July 28, 2016 at 9:21 pm #983231
That bit about Prince seems true but additionally the distribution paradigm has shifted from physical copies of the album to iTunes & now to streaming services like Tidal or Spotify and to people who bandit the music by watching it on Youtube like we do here in the “What are you listening to?” thread… :smiley-sex018: Although Vinyl has become hip again.
It does seem harder to make a living as a musician now and if you’re going to do it you’re probably going to tour a fair bit which is stressful and probably leads to increased drug use while on the road which kills people younger. Additionally some musicians spend their money like American NBA and NFL players so they’re always broke. Marvin Gaye once said something along the lines of “I’ll never have to worry about being broke I’ll just make another hit album”.
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