Written By: CiCi Bianchini & RayTrill
YehMe2 Interview By: Isaiah Campbell
Depression- an act of depressing or a state of being depressed: such as a state of feeling sad, anger, anxiety, and depression mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies. – Webster Dictionary
Depression comes in many different forms, affecting everybody differently. It can range from being mild to severe, last a day or even months, and sometimes hits people hardest around the holidays/ winter time. No matter what, depression is something that people need to be more open about, as they are not alone. It seems like more people this day in age are being diagnosed with depression. I mean look at the world we live in. Young adults are told to go to college to get a degree so they can have a “grown-up job,” while being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Many people have to work two or three jobs just to keep up with bills. Society has brushed the topic aside of mental illness, addiction, and suicidal thoughts; making us who struggle with this illness feel like we can’t reach out and get help.
We See Depressions and Anxiety almost amplified in the music industry; Some of the reasons for this may be the constant need for others approval to succeed and get ahead in this cut throat industry.
Depression is hidden behind some people with the brightest, biggest smile. They have learned to hide it the best, to continue to make others around them happy. Take Chester from Linkin Park for example. Just days before he committed suicide, he was laughing and joking with his family and kids. While on the outside he looked happy, on the inside he was fighting demons no one knew about. A lot of people just don’t know how to respond when their friend tries to confide in them. You hear the saying “music has saved my life”, but to others who suffer, this statement is deep and personal.
We believe that ALL artists at one point or another, even the strongest, will experience some form of anxiety, self-doubt or depression. YehMe2 has some thoughts on how to conquer this and cope with any mental health issue that can affect an artist big or small.
YehMe2, Self Care in the Industry Interview.
TRILLVO: Being a well-known musician, and being under the magnifying glass of society, typically actions become magnified and blown up to bigger proportions than someone on a normal level. Do anxious feelings become magnified in a similar way?
The higher the level you are in whatever field you’re in, the more pressure you’re going to feel to perform your best. So in my personal experience the anxiety I’ve felt performing for huge crowds, and making music for a big following has definitely been magnified. Not that society is doing it to me. I’m doing it to myself, but the feeling is definitely amplified by having a bigger following.
TRILLVO: Staying in hotels every weekend can get so lonely, how do you make sure you keep those feelings at bay away from friends and loved ones with so much alone time.
I thrive on my routine. First thing I ask the front desk when I’m checking in is “Where is the fitness center?” I’ve found that if i keep myself occupied, I.E. going to the gym, getting dinner, doing fun tourist shit around the city, and face-timing my fam, I don’t get too homesick. But if i was to just chill in my room I’d probably feel it way more.
TRILLVO: The amounts of projects one person in the industry might seem to be overwhelming, especially with deadlines. Have there been times where you thought you’d never finish? What did you do in that situation?
Always! In a creative business your work is never over. There’s always something to do, and if there isn’t you feel guilty like there SHOULD be something to do. I find the best way to cope with that overwhelming feeling is to just take each task one at a time. I make a lot of lists and knock out each task, no matter how small it may be, striking a task off the list feels good and that helps keep my momentum going forward.
TRILLVO: A lot of artists struggle with saying no to drugs & alcohol while on tour, what are some ways that have made avoiding temptation easier for you?
Taking alcohol off my hospitality rider was a big step for me. Not having it around makes it 100x easier to avoid. Also back to my answer to your previous question.. Idle time is definitely a trigger for me so I try to stay as busy as humanly possible from when I leave my house till I come back home.
“I currently suffer from depression. I don’t know that it’s something you can beat, as much as it’s something you can learn to coexist and cope with.” –YehMe2
TRILLVO: How do you handle being a touring DJ and a Huge family man, while trying your best to maintain low stress levels? How do you keep your family happy while you’re on the road?
Facetime is huge. Being able to see them on a regular basis keeps me grounded, and the fam happy. As my boys get older I can tell they’re starting to miss me more. Especially with Lex, so I’m going to have to find new fun ways to incorporate them into my road life.
TRILLVO: What helps keep you calm and what might work for others?
Meditation is great. Headspace and Calm are great apps to get you started with some basic mindfulness techniques. Once you get in the habit of doing it, you can implement those practices in your daily life. Pre- show, Post show, in a traffic jam, delayed flight, anytime you feel a heightened sense of stress and anxiety you can close your eyes and breathe for 5 mins and just by doing that, bring your heart rate down and relax yourself.
TRILLVO: Have you ever suffered from depression and if so how did you beat it?
I currently suffer from depression. I don’t know that it’s something you can beat, as much as it’s something you can learn to coexist and cope with. For me I use a mix of meditation, therapy, fitness, and medication. It’s different for everyone, but I’ve found it’s easier to cope with my depression if I’m actively working to better myself.
TRILLVO: If you can get one thing out of the music industry, out of everything you’ve learned, and have one piece of insight what would it be?
Save your money. In the 15 years I’ve been a professional musician, I’ve seen so many ups and downs. It’s a feast or famine kind of industry so be smart with your money because one year you can make serious money and the next not so much. Invest. Save. Be smart!
What should you take from this as an artist?
Something I found myself pondering today, “I can only imagine how stressful it must be making music. You’re relying on people to approve or deny your art. You start basically basing all your artistic worth on the opinions of others, when in reality, happiness is not caring what people think… damn.” As an artist, the industry you work in is based on the validity of other humans, strangers mostly. I can’t imagine the toll it would take to put your heart and soul into a project and to have that project ripped apart by strangers online. What can you do to cope with this insanely taxing industry that ways on so many people.
The only opinion that truly matters is yours: Other people’s opinions feel good when they’re positive but nobody in this entire world will ever get full positivity from anything they ever do. You have to learn to not only ignore the bad, but also the good. The only opinion that should ever matter should be yours.
There are many things you can do to cope: As Josh (YehMe2) mentioned above, do not let yourself become idle. Go to the gym while on tour at every hotel, Make sure you regularly facetime friends and family, go out and see the city you’re visiting, meditate. Keep your mind off your job; you cannot let your life be swallowed by your job even if it takes you away from your regular environment most weeks of your life.
Have Fun: The moment you stop having fun in whatever you do is the moment you can slip into feelings of anxiety or depression. Play games with yourself, remind yourself what made you so happy about what you do. Enjoy yourself!
Meditate: Don’t over work yourself, take you time. Balance is so important to anything you do in life. Make sure you take time off to unwind. Make sure you spend some time with people outside of the music industry as well, it’s good to be able to have separation.
My name is CiCi Bianchini & I would like to share my story of depression and how music saved my life and continues to bring me joy on my darkest days.
I was diagnosed with anxiety, PTSD, ADD, and depression at the ripe age of 6 years old. My adoptive mom did just about everything she could to help me, not really understanding the things I was diagnosed with. So she focused on the one thing that would get me through school, my ADD. Pushing my depression and anxiety aside. My younger years were great until I reached my teens. That’s when my depression and anxiety hit me hard. Sadly, my parents didn’t really believe someone my age could have all these problems to “lead” to depression. Sometimes, people do not understand that you do not need a reason to be depressed. So again, I ignored the thoughts.
As I got older, it was harder to cope with everything, so I turned to drugs. Drugs, a very addictive personality, and depression do not mix. Many times I tried to commit suicide, with many failed attempts. The summer I graduated high school, I got extremely close to a girl I went to school with. We became glued at the hip. We bonded over many things, including our drug addiction and depression. Brandi quickly became my sister that I always wanted. She was legit the missing piece to me. While we had many awful fights, she was always there for me on my darkest nights. On one of our many adventures, she took me to this nightclub in Orlando that played trance, techno and dubstep. That first night I heard those weird wubs, I was hooked. I knew right then and there I wanted to be apart of this industry, just not knowing what I wanted to do. Brandi, would spend hours and hours with me downloading music from limewire, yes I went there. She pushed me to fall in love with electronic music.
Years pass and we grew up. I went to rehab and got sober, while she went and got her G.E.D. I learned correct ways to cope with my anxiety and depression, instead of self-medicating. Sadly, Brandi’s depression won, and she committed suicide on November 1st, 2013. My world crashed; I had just lost the only person who believed in me and pushed me to be better, to follow my dreams. Her last wish for me was to make it far in this industry. For a few years, I gave up. I stopped listening to electronic music, well music in general. As many people thought I would relapse, I didn’t. Instead I got a tattoo dedicated to her, kinda my way of coping with the loss. As I slipped into years of depression and hiding it, I fell out of love with electronic music. However, one day, it just all came back to me. I took over my depression, I told myself I am not letting the battles in my head bring me down.
Music saved me because now I am writing about it, a passion I have always had. Music was there for me when I couldn’t say how I was feeling, it was there for me when others weren’t, and while I felt alone; it made me feel like I wasn’t. Being able to write about some of my favorite DJs who don’t know that their music has brought me back from a dark hole is literally my saving grace. It is my way of healing. I listen to this genre of music because it helps express who I am without being judged.
Every day is a battle for me. Some days it is so bad that I don’t eat, drink, shower, or even go to the bathroom. I just sleep. Then I have days where you couldn’t even tell I have anxiety or depression. I am very blessed to have surrounded myself with people who understand me and do not judge me, who are there for me, remind me my life is worth it, and shower me with love. All people I have met because of electronic music. Now I live my life in memory of Brandi and see what she saw!