Alongside World Mental Health Day (October 10th), the Association for Electronic Music (AFEM) released a guide created to spread awareness, and provide support, solutions, and information about mental health issues including stress, anxiety, depression, substance and alcohol abuse, and more that directly affect the electronic music community.
The Electronic Music Industry Guide to Mental Health is an invaluable source, readily available and free of charge to all members of the community and beyond. It’s clear community and support are at the core of this guide, “looking after yourself and those you work with” written on the front cover.
Regardless of your role in the industry, be you an artist, manager, or engineer, what unifies and drives the vast majority is their passion for the music. Passion often outweighs the negatives such as extremely late nights, hectic schedules, low pay, and high demands. Those on tour may be away from friends and family for the better part of the year, which can be quite isolating.
So, looking after one another is paramount. But also, it’s important to look after yourself. First and foremostly, AFEM wants to break the stigma surrounding mental health and let it be known that it is okay and encouraged to talk about mental health issues.
The Electronic Music Guide to Mental Health
The current guide is an updated version of the Music Managers Forum (MMF) Mental Health Guide that was written to support music managers who may be struggling with mental health issues. This guide was created for managers as their role is essentially caregiver to the artist. They are responsible for the artists’ wellbeing as well as being accountable for all administrative and communicative aspects and negotiations. This can be extremely taxing to have to look after another person(s) and yourself with no relief from HR or the possibility of sabbatical. The AFEM took the guide and expanded on it to make it more inclusive. Regardless of your position in the industry, the support and information are relevant. The guide is also backed by Music Support and Help Musicians, two foundations dedicated to providing support for those in the music industry.
The guide is extremely comprehensible, divided into chapters of potential struggles. Beginning with depression and anxiety, it leads to alcoholism and substance dependency, followed by stress management, imposter syndrome, codependency, and the importance of sleep. Each chapter provides a description, relevant statistics, and comforting reassurance. A list of signs and symptoms is followed by suggested ways to help yourself and help others. Recommended literature for further reading and education always closes out the chapter.
A Community in Crisis
The release of this guide could not be more crucially relevant than it is right now. Barely a week can go by without someone of note in the industry falling victim to overdose or taking their own life by suicide. This issue is not new news. The music industry has always been notorious for demanding work, little rest, high-stress work schedules, late nights, party lifestyles, and substance abuse. However, in the past, it has been taboo to openly discuss the mental repercussions of the aforementioned job requirements.
It is only recently that DJs and artists have been brave enough to admit that they need to take a break from their careers to focus on their mental health. In 2017, Ben Pearce spoke out about his anxiety and depression. In 2018, Carnage pumped the breaks and admitted through social media that everything was getting to be a little too much for him. Mentioning his own friends who struggled in silence before passing away, he decided that he couldn’t follow that dark path. Tim Bergling’s (a.k.a. AVICII) untimely death in April of 2018 was a huge wake-up call for the industry. The fact that this world renown and beloved man could be struggling so deeply and unable to find the support he needed really affected the community and a wave to bring a stop to this ensued.
DJSounds put out a documentary in 2017 titled Slaves to the Rhythm that goes into realities of what it’s like to be an artist on tour and constantly creating and how it takes a toll on mental wellbeing. With cameos from countless big names, it’s a glimpse into what an outsider may deem as a glamorous life but is truly the straight and narrow to death.
From big benefits like The Avicii Tribute Concert in which all proceeds from the star-studded concert were donated to the Tim Bergling Foundation in support of mental health awareness, to wellness centers like ARETÉ that provide resources and counselling to those struggling, to smaller acts of heroism like the Chilean-Swiss DJ Luciano simply speaking out, publicly about his struggles so that maybe someone out there struggling can feel less alone, the community is stepping up and trying to combat this epidemic.
It is so important that we break this vicious cycle and the stigma surrounding mental health. This guide, although created for the electronic music community, stretches beyond that. The guide is a tool that can be used regardless of your chosen career path or the kind of music you like to listen to. It is an invaluable resource that unfortunately is so necessary in this time of crisis and shows that we are moving towards a future with less dark paths, less isolation, and more support.
Check out these women that are working to make the electronic music industry of tomorrow a little brighter.
Hong Kongers! This Saturday, January 18th is the night! FuFu Creative (you know the folks behind HK’s best electronic festival, Shi Fu Miz), is hosting its first party of the new year. You won’t want to miss this.
FuFu Creative is known for its epic parties with expertly curated lineups featuring underground acts with killer sound. Their festival, Shi Fu Miz, recently wrapped its fifth and best season yet. These guys know how to throw a party.
This Saturday will be no different. FuFu Creative presents Jonathan (Ojon) Kusama at Duddel’s 都爹利會館. The first party of 2020, it will also be the first of a monthly series of parties that brings together local and international underground acts that are making some serious soundwaves. There’s no better place to host this event than on Duddel’s gorgeous garden terrace that doubles as the city’s best dancefloor. FuFu resident DJs Max Davis and Mill H will get the party started playing a B2B set from 11pm-1am before Kusama takes over the decks.
Electric Soul is giving away 3 free sets of 2 tickets! Head over to our Instagram to enter to win!
Jonathan (Ojon) Kusama is an Indonesian musician, songwriter, DJ, and producer hailing from Jakarta, based in Singapore. Ojon has been in the electronic music scene since 2006, making his way through Asia and more recently, Europe. He has released tracks on countless local and international labels, most notoriously with Cocktail D’Amore (Berlin) and Love On The Rocks (Berlin). His man label is I’m A Cliché (France). In 2009, with two of his friends, Ojon established Space.rec, a label that worked exclusively with underground Indonesian musicians, releasing singles and albums. He is also a founder of Akamady Records with Gerhan Ferdinal a.k.a Komodo. His sound is ambient, ethereal, and underground. His talent is undeniable and this upcoming set is highly anticipated.
Don’t miss Ojon’s highly anticipated set. Head over to our Instagram to see how you can win 2 free tickets to Saturday’s event!
We recently caught up with Ojon to get his take on the Asian electronic scene.
Electric Soul: What do you think about the Hong Kong musical scene, compared to Singapore or Indonesia?
Jonathan (Ojon) Kusama: I think Asia’s musical scene is great right now. The industries are getting bigger, a lot of new cool clubs are opening – parties, event organizers, producers, agencies, and great festivals are emerging. The vibe keeps getting better and better. Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta, and many other countries and cities in Asia each have their own character and styles that are very unique.
ES: What are your favourite places to hang out in Singapore/Indonesia?
ES: Where do you think the scene is headed? One year from now? Five years from now?
JK: One year from now, I think we will see more clubs with cool concepts opening. Festivals are going to be more hype than last year. I think there are going to be more producers releasing on big labels. And hopefully, local labels will start to rise and get bigger. Five years from now, I can only hope that the government will support our culture and lifestyle.
ES: What is one sub-genre that you think doesn’t have the attention it deserves?
JK: Ambient Music
ES: As a DJ and musician, what is your opinion regarding the difference between old school vinyl mixing and modern digital Ding?
JK: Both have their own power and values that I can appreciate. I started out collecting vinyl before I began DJing or producing. I learned a lot of stuff from the old school kids or should I say the OGs. But in my opinion, if we want to survive this industry, we have to master the best of both worlds.
New year, new music streaming platform. The e-commerce giant launched a new feature to ring in 2020. Amazon presents “Choose Your Own DJ” and it’s just as epic as it sounds.
As the name suggests, this new music streaming feature lets you choose a curated playlist with tunes selected by 24 of the world’s top DJs and producers. Ever been curious as to what Jax Jones throws on when getting ready for a big night? This feature gives listeners a glimpse at the music tastes of their favourite artists.
The feature is similar to other streaming sites, such as Spotify’s artist radios or YouTube playlists. Rather than curated by an algorithm or adoring fan, these playlists round up the artists’ favourite releases and remixes of the year, go-to songs during their sets, and even some unreleased tracks.
“These tracks include some of my favourite releases this year, stuff I’ve been playing out in my sets a ton, a bunch of remixes, and a lot of records by friends and artists I love,” said Diplo in a statement.
The “Choose Your Own DJ” feature is readily available to Amazon Music subscribers. If you have yet to jump on this platform, Amazon is offering a killer introductory rate of $0.99 for your first 4 months.
If your New Year’s resolution was to listen to more awesome music, checking out this new feature will surely get you on track to crushing your goals.
Need some fresh new music to add to your 2020 playlists? Check out these ladies that are up and coming in the electronic music scene.
In 1986, Pepe Rosello revolutionized the electronic clubbing scene. He took over the nightclub, Space, moved it out to Playa d’en Bossa in Ibiza, a mostly family populated resort area close to the airport, built a wall around it and started throwing parties starting at 7 o’clock in the morning. The tourists poured in, hitting the club, suitcases in hand, before checking into their hotels. The early morning parties, outdoor terrace, and planes soaring overhead became defining features of the club that would run for an extremely successful 27 years.
Space Ibiza threw its last party in Playa d’en Bossa in October of 2016. Carl Cox, who held a residency for the better part of the 27 years, kept the party going until the bittersweet end. In accordance with Spanish laws, the club closed its doors for 2 hours a day, making its epic parties 22 hours of non-stop entertainment, music, and fun. This was unheard of at the time of its opening and still groundbreaking until this day. No trip or visit to the White Isle of Spain was complete without an all-day and night bender at the island’s most legendary club. Space Ibiza didn’t just change the face of the Ibiza clubbing scene; it was a worldwide phenomenon. It became the most awarded club in history, earning 30 in its 27 years.
What can only be described as a super club, Space Ibiza was 5 rooms of continuous dance music and the infamous Space Terrace, which Carl Cox still fondly remembers today. It has now been three years since its closure and the world has yet to see a club of such status open.
Bring Back Space Ibiza
There has been a lot of hearsay and speculation of whether Space Ibiza will make a triumphant return to the White Isle, and a lot of this chatter has been sparked by Carl Cox. For 16 years, the esteemed DJ was a resident at the club, playing a nine-hour set that closed Space Ibiza for good. It’s safe to say he has an emotional attachment to the club, which is why he has been so vocal about bringing it back. In 2018, Billboard confirmed that Cox would indeed bring the legendary club back. DJ Mag, too, reported on a rebuild. As the original club structure was reopened as Hï Ibiza in 2017 (and is having great success), Cox mentioned that there would be a rebuild in a new location in the future, with the same guys involved.
At the end of 2019, we’ve still yet to see any sort of physical rebirth of Space Ibiza, but that doesn’t mean the club isn’t living on. Since 2010, Paul Strange (R.I.P.) brought the infamous party and sounds of Space Ibiza to Sydney, Australia under his promotional company Paul Strange Presents. Every New Year’s Day for the past 9 years (going strong into their 10th year on NYD 2020), the Space Ibiza party has resurrected at the Greenwood Hotel. This year, the Space Ibiza NYD Party titled A New Era will go down in the late founder’s honour with Heidi, Patrice Bäumel, and Rebūke ringing in the new year. This party began long before the club shuttered and we can only hope it continues on for years to come.
Sydney isn’t the only place lucky enough to have a Space Ibiza inspired event. Under the Space Ibiza name, Cox reincarnated the party at London’s Steel Yard in May of 2019. From London to Sydney, and now Talum, Space Ibiza has been on a world tour, popping up in major cities to throw endless parties with stacked lineups. Although the club closed its doors in Playa d’en Bossa, it surely didn’t put an end to the epic day into night into morning parties the world grew so fond of. Fingers crossed for something more permanent but until then we’re happy that Space Ibiza’s memory lives on through Carl Cox, the Space Ibiza tour, and the thousands of partygoers who come together in the legendary club’s name.
Ring in the New Year with epic festivals happening across the globe. Check out what’s happening here.
The festive holiday season is upon us. While for some, this may be a simple time of reflection, relaxation, and plenty of food with family, for others (cough, us) it’s a time of celebration; a time to start this year as we intend to spend it: full of really good music, dance parties, and good times. And while the summer tends to be the designated festival season, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any happening as we approach year-end.
New Year’s Eve is always a party. Every single venue in every single city puts on a big event to celebrate the end of one year and welcome the next. These parties tend to be overpriced and underwhelming. Long lines in cold weather are followed by overcrowded clubs and a pricey cab ride back home. We deserve better and thankfully the universe has answered our prayers.
We want our New Year’s Eve celebration to last. We waited all year for this! So, to start off your year on the right foot, we’ve compiled a list of electronic music festivals that start in 2019 and keep on going into 2020 so you can ring in the New Year in the best way possible.
Epizode – Phú Quốc, Vietnam
The much-anticipated Epizode festival in Phú Quốc, Vietnam kickstarts its 4th edition on December 27th and runs through the New Year to January 7th. This 11-day festival is guaranteed to be a good time. What could be better than ringing in the new year on the beach, dancing to your favourite artists? The lineup boasts talent from near and far with DJs playing 24 hours a day. Sounds of techno, house, and disco will fill the island and keep you dancing. Art installations, cultural activities, and plenty of breathtaking sunsets will keep you stimulated when those feet need a break. We don’t think an NYE celebration could get much better than this. Get the inside scoop through our interview with CEO, Natasha Rogal.
In Arizona and Colorado, we have two different festivals of the same name happening simultaneously. So regardless of where you are in the US of A, you can enjoy an epic New Year’s bash. In Arizona, Decadence will be thrown by Relentless Beats and partygoers will immerse themselves in the Weird & Wonderful, complete with circus performers, characters, and colourful acts. The lineup is stacked to impress with AC Slater, Dillon Francis, Skrillex, and Zeds Dead. To the north, the Colorado Decadence will be a definite treat for the senses. Over the top visuals, sound, and décor ensure the festival holds true to its name. Arty, Bassnectar, Rezz, and Steve Aoki are a few of the artists that’ll close out 2019 and bring you into 2020.
Snowglobe – Lake Tahoe, California
Don’t let frosty temperatures get in the way of you having a good time this NYE. MTV’s Snowglobe festival in Lake Tahoe, California will be 3 days of face/snow melting beats. Music, mountains, and multiple stages featuring your favourite musicians sounds like a pretty great way to spend the holidays if you have to bear the cold. Keep warm dancing to the sounds of Louis the Child, Griz, Skrillex, and Fisher.
Rhythm & Vines – Gisborne, New Zealand
One of the first places to ring in the new year, New Zealand is known for epic celebrations and for 17 years, Rhythm & Vines has been that celebration. Although not exclusively an electronic festival, headliners include Disclosure, Alison Wonderland, and RL Grimes. For three days over the new year in Gisborne, NZ, over 21,000 festival-goers will be merry in the sunshine, dance through the rolling hills, and camp amongst the vineyards.
The Cityfox Odyssey – Brooklyn, USA
New Yorkers who have watched the ball drop enough will be at Cityfox Odyssey at Avant Gardner in Brooklyn to ring in the new year. The 27-hour festival will cross two city blocks, have 4 rooms of music, and lounges and activations to keep you occupied. Sasha and John Digweed are set to take the stage, Âme will go B2B with Dixon, and Marsh will lead you into the countdown. Dress warm and get ready for an allnighter, because this New Year’s Eve, NYC will certainly live up to its name as the city that never sleeps.
Origin Fields – Perth, Australia
The lineup alone at Origin Fields should be enough the drag you down under this New Year’s. At Wellington Square in Perth, Rüfüs Du Sol, TOKiMONSTA, Flux Pavillion, and RL Grime are slotted to take the stage. In between sets, make sure to hit up the arcade, speakeasy, and carnival games. Dozens of acts will come from near and far to bring the most epic New Year’s celebration to Oz.
Get to know the first festival on our list, Epizode, a little better. Check out our interview with the festival CEO Natasha Rogal.
It’s with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of another beloved member of the electronic music community. Paul Strange died this past Tuesday, December 10th. The promoter spent the last 20 years building one of the most successful promotion companies in Sydney. Since 2000, Paul Strange Presents brought countless big-name DJs to the city, staged countless parties, festivals, and events, including the much-anticipated upcoming Space Ibiza.
A Scottish ex-pat, Strange found himself in Sydney after a 5-year stint in Ibiza working in the biggest clubs. Paul Strange Presents was founded in 2000 and quickly gained worldwide notoriety. The city of Sydney has been known to be a fickle one in terms of clubs, events, and large-scale music events but Strange was able to work his magic. Names like Carl Cox, Doorly, Nina Kraviz, and Pete Tong have all graced the stages of Paul Strange Presents events, many of them recalling these parties fondly, as some of the best they’ve ever attended.
One of Strange’s biggest accomplishments was bringing the infamous Space Ibiza party to Sydney every New Year’s Day for the past 10 years. The Spanish club of the same name ran for 27 years and is still recognized as one of the best nightclubs the world has seen. While the club closed in 2016, the party lives on through Paul Strange Presents’ Space Ibiza New Year’s Day bash. This year, the party will go on in his memory with all proceeds going to his daughter and Mental Health Australia.
Paul Strange is remembered fondly by his community, an outpour of support floods his Facebook page. RIP Paul Strange. Thank you for all that you did for the electronic music world. You will be missed.