Barefoot Doctor Bit: What’s the best way to Handle Pressure and other People’s Expectations
Last week Ben Westbeech (aka Breach) stressed the wisdom of ‘finding pleasure in DJing ‘without getting fucked up in every performance’ declaring ‘Many people see artists as strong personalities. That image is often just not true. When I look around me, I see that most of the DJs I know get completely fucked up each time they work.” (DJ Broadcast)
Barefoot Doctor Bit: “ When you look across the whole range of the human species, only a minority are truly strong in both character and body, though the two are often inextricable, so it would be misleading to assume all DJs are strong. Some certainly are, but most are just like everyone else: human and fallible.
This misconception probably arises because the nocturnal clubbing environment is rightly perceived as tough, gritty competitive and macho, so it’s presumed anyone able to work in it let alone do well in it, must be equally tough.
In fact, most creative people are necessarily sensitive, often introvert, and absorbed in their art to the exclusion of much of what people regard as common sense.
The pressure to turn in a top performance every time is huge, and it increases the bigger you get, despite the fact you get more practiced at handling it.
Then you have to look back to what inspired most DJs to take up the DJ career in the first place, which more often than not was going to parties themselves and loving the atmosphere and what the DJ was doing so much they wanted to have a go too.
Driven by the attraction to the fun side of clubbing the unconscious associations with the various accessories that normally go with enjoying a good party, the drink, the drugs and so on, are strong, which elicits a sense of missing out if you’re standing there stone cold sober working while everyone else is letting go, getting trashed and having fun.
Combine that with the sensitivity, performance nerves, probable shyness and the need for late night stimulation to remain energized, and it’s obvious most DJs succumb to the temptation of auto-trashing on duty. It takes a strong-willed person not to.
But obviously this is difficult to sustain long term.
But if you’re a pro, and are intent on prevailing for the duration of your career potential, you’ll probably start shifting the balance bit by bit. It helps to start the night reminding yourself you’re there to serve the audience, rather than be on a night out, that you’re working, just like most of them have to during the day – it just so happens your work is entertaining them and they’re free to indulge but you’re not. Also they probably only get to do it once a week, while you’re probably doing it a lot more frequently.
Then it helps to take up a strengthening discipline on a daily basis – martial arts, meditation, yoga or whatever, at least as an offset for any damage done. Over time these sorts of practice develop an internal robustness and innate sense of delight about being alive no matter what you’re doing or not doing, and that helps you withstand the urge to self-destruct without feeling you’re missing out.
And of course it helps to focus on the main plot: the joy of the sound itself and let that carry you.
But in practice it doesn’t have to be approached in an all or nothing way. It’s more a matter of modifying the equation between auto-trash and superhuman strength of mind and body, as you go along.”
Questions by Skrufff.