Noiseporn will be conducting a series of interviews with artists and music industry professionals to discuss mental health–specifically, how they cope with all the pressures and temptations that harbor our culture. This is not solely an issue for electronic music, it is ubiquitous for all performers. We hope these interviews will help the growing number of performers entering the scene see that no one is alone.
We spoke to Swiss DJ Nora En Pure.
Do you think there are aspects specific to this industry that create depression or stress?
Yes, there can be. To me the troubling aspects are being alone often, flying a lot, very little sleep, comparing yourself with other acts, doubting your creative output and social media. Being on the road often means a lot of alone time, very little sleep and jetlag, it’s the perfect ground for negativity and starting to doubt everything. Comparing yourself to others is probably a natural competitive thing to do, but it can also drag you down or put extra pressure on you.
Given that most of this work is creative, there is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ You expose yourself to outside judgment the whole time, so I feel you naturally overthink things a lot more than in a job where you know exactly what to do. Social media is another critical factor. In my case, I luckily have a very grown up, healthy and supportive fanbase. But you hear of so many cases where you just wish people would be a little more considerate in the kind of comments they write online. Our work is a matter of taste, you can never make it perfect for everyone. If one doesn’t like it, one can simply choose to go somewhere else instead of leaving negativity or hate.
Have you experienced depression in your career or with those you’ve worked closely with?
I haven’t experienced depression myself or with anyone that is really close to me in this industry, but I know that almost everyone has their struggles especially when being alone on the road.
How do you cope with the long hours of touring, loneliness, and staying overall mentally fit?
I think how well you can handle and balance these things, depends a lot on what kind of a character and mindset you have, some people are more vulnerable to this and some less. I have a very close circle of friends and family that have joined me on tour already and understand that to the amazing sides of this job there are also some troubling ones. While touring, I often call them and talk to them and think of different topics. Sports or actually anything outside that hotel room can also help when you are feeling down, but often you don’t have that much time, you are physically tired or you simply don’t want to do things on your own again but there you just need to force yourself to do it.
Do you feel that being a woman in the industry comes with its own unique set of challenges and stressors?
Overall, we might be a little more sensitive and might overthink things still a little more than guys 😉 but I really feel it’s a matter of character. I think men manage to sleep better or fall asleep more easily even while sitting upright in an airplane seat (?!) and I’m very jealous of that. This ability comes in very handy with this job. I usually don’t really come across or I simply ignore other gender stereotypes that might be around in this scene, because there are many jobs with a majority of one gender, I don’t think it’s such a big deal. One should be judged by the work not by gender. But maybe I’m lucky there and have never really come across anything negative that would impact me now.
What does a sense of community within the field mean to you?
That is maybe something where, as a minority gender, you have a slight disadvantage. It takes longer to have normal friendships. Guys are always immediately buddies with each other, to get to that level as a woman it takes a little longer. But I really appreciate having friends in this industry and it’s quite mindblowing how most people really have the same or very similar impressions and experiences. It definitely helps a lot having people around you that understand this scene inside out.
If you’re not feeling great, does playing a set always help? Is it cathartic to just play and listen?
Music has always, always helped me. At times a crowd can cancel out the tiredness and exhaustion & jet lag of an intercontinental flight completely with a fantastic vibe. Other times it can also happen that you play and you don’t feel it or things don’t go as expected or how you wanted and sets you off. If that happens, I usually feel pretty down for the rest of the day like I didn’t give it my best. Even if the feedback is very positive – if my mindset is negative, it’s very hard for me to move on or to be convinced otherwise. The only good distraction then is either working on new ideas for a new track or calling my family, trying to put things back into perspective.
Suicide prevention hotline (available 24 hours every day): 1-800-273-8255