Going back to shows late in 2016 felt exciting; I’d missed DJing a lot. The first two shows back have been difficult. The couple of hours leading up to going on were filled with anxiety and the kind of symptoms I mentioned earlier. In the end they were so rewarding because of the crowd reactions and feedback. I got a note in Vienna that said ‘Thank you, that was amazing’, and it hit me so hard. It was emotional to read it right after I finished that first set.
The time away from touring helped me no end, although I know I’m not out of the woods yet and I may never be. It’s helped me to understand what my demons are, and the warning signs for when they start to rear their ugly heads. The support of friends, family and the music community in general has been overwhelming, and has motivated me to get back into the studio. I’m writing music from the heart, using some of the feelings in my head. I’ve started meditating too, which I truly believe has already made a difference in such a positive way. I know this isn’t going to be easy and I may struggle with it for the rest of my life, but knowing what it is and that I can have good days makes me want to get through the bad ones.
This isn’t talked about enough in music, but anybody out there who is struggling, go and seek help. You can get through it, even if it feels like there’s no way out: there will be a light at the end. These sorts of experiences shape you as a person, so I’ll finish with a line from a song I love by punk band Neck Deep: ‘Smooth seas don’t make good sailors’.
Ben Pearce is launching a four-part storylined EP series which he’ll be unveiling quarterly this year. The first, ‘Ascension’, will be out early next year on PIAS
Published as part of Mixmag Health Season