“My whole life hit the bottom,” he says. “I didn’t feel like I could speak about it with my family, and I felt like there was no cure, no way out. I decided to try rehab so I could say that I sought professional help, one last time, before dying. I’d tried detoxing before, many times, and it never worked.
“I knew that I had a beautiful, incredible life, but there was something deep inside me that was triggering me. I was ready to kill myself. It was a slow suicide. I truly thought I’d go [to rehab], detox, and then after a few weeks, go to my grave.” Only, it didn’t go like that. Luciano went to the Dara Rehab Centre, in Koh Chang,
“Thailand. It was hard, harder than he expected — but it worked. Now, Luciano is sober, and has rediscovered his love for music. He decided to speak out about his struggles with addiction (including on a high-profile panel at this year’s IMS) because his friend Avicii — real name Tim Bergling — wasn’t so lucky.
““Tim used to come and hang out at my parties,” he says. “I always admired him… he was just a young guy, gentle and sweet.” Luciano got to thinking about all the other young people who might be struggling in the industry, too. “I realized that I have a higher responsibility towards dance music, and to creating a healthier environment
“— because dancing is good, dancing is healthy.” Once again, he fired up his laptop. This time, he was going public with his story, in the hope of helping others. In May 2018, Luciano logged into Facebook, and began to write: “Today I am one year old; my rebirth day… I decided to stop suffering in silence.”
Dance music has a mental health problem. It’s a statement of fact; unambiguously correct. People are dying: Bergling last year, Keith Flint of The Prodigy this year. They’re the deaths you see reported in the press, but there are also the people you never hear about — the people behind the scenes, the ones who do the soundcheck, book the acts, or sort your rider.
Dance music is in a mental health crisis
Dance music has a mental health problem. Sirin Kale speaks to artists such as Luciano, Courtesy and Marie Davidson, as well as some PRs and promoters, about one of the principal issues affecting our scene, and the potential solutions to this pressing problem
March 2017. Luciano, real name Lucien Nicolet, is in Frankfurt airport, and he’s bent double with heart palpitations. He knows something isn’t right: things are very wrong, in fact, but he tells himself that everything will be okay.
Soon after, he’s hospitalized with an overdose, induced by five days of touring and partying.The Swiss-Chilean techno DJ has been abusing his body for decades. He knew this day would come, but he’s still in denial.I was trying to convince myself that it wasn’t happening,” Luciano remembers, two years on.
After being discharged from hospital, it hasn’t sunk in. “The next weekend, I’m taking drugs and drinking alcohol.”Aft“I’m up to 25 people in the music industry now who have taken their lives, whether they’re close friends or one step removed,” says Ben Turner, music manager and co-founder of dance music health and wellness retreat, Remedy State.
“I’ve been seeing this situation grow, and the reality is that it’s going to keep happening. The scary thing is that people can be chatting with you one day, and they can seem fine — and the next minute, they’re not.”
A lot has been written about the perfect storm of factors which make dance music a particularly toxic industry for anyone struggling with their mental health. Relentless touring schedules; jetlag; 6 am flights and 4 am set times. Anonymous hotel rooms that blur together. The pressures to appear successful on social media.
There are financial pressures, too. The industry is contracting — in part because many young people have become health-conscious, favoring Instagrammable daytime pursuits over the clammy environs of nightclubs — which means that it’s harder to make money, and everyone is struggling to keep their heads above water.
And that’s leaving aside the corrosive impact of drug and alcohol addiction, which are, let’s face it, ever-present in the industry. “If you want to talk about the structural things that are difficult about being a touring artist, then it is really basic things that would affect anyone’s mental and physical health,” says Danish techno artist, Courtesy. She references irregular sleeping, constant time-zone changes, and non-stop touring as things that take a toll on her mental well-being.
photos by pixabay,com