A new documentary produced by DJsounds offers insight about the structure of a DJ’s life between the beat drops. Titled Why We DJ—Slaves to The Rhythm, the documentary is an exploration of the lifestyle of a DJ that paints a portrait of the personal sacrifices made by DJs in their effort to play a variety of gigs around the world. It features industry icons like Seth Troxler, Erick Morillo, and Carl Cox, inviting the artists to speak candidly about the mental and physical detriments of a career defined by its exacting and unremitting schedule.
Why We DJ—Slaves to The Rhythm debuted at this year’s Amsterdam Dance Event in association with Help Musicians UK and the Association for Electronic Music, two entities seeking to bring a greater sense of awareness to the prevalence of mental health issues in the music industry. Help Musicians UK’s recent study regarding mental health among musicians determined that musicians are three times more likely to suffer from depression as compared to the public.
“I think a lot of people see a guy DJing at a party and they think it’s cool, but they don’t really understand the mental and physical toll,” Seth Troxler states.” Harley Lunar echoes Troxler, remarking “People think it’s a really glamorous lifestyle [DJing], but I think it’s only glamorous for a very small amount of people, and even then you can’t escape the rigorous schedule.” Troxler goes on to highlight the fact that many DJs travel completely alone, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation that can be as extreme as the high produced by standing before a crowd of thousands during a set.
A probing inquiry into the reality behind the perceived glitz of the profession, Why We DJ is a project that sets out to make off stage moments more visible, making the assertion that despite its designation, a “dream job” doesn’t come without its own challenges.