We got some sound advice, wit and wisdom from some of the world’s top DJs. Today’s question:
What’s the biggest sacrifice an artist can make?
Above & Beyond
Time. You have to make sacrifices and bid a partial goodbye to normal life, family and friends. Getting that balance is hard at times.
That depends on the artist, but in general, we are all sacrificing our social and family life. We are constantly moving around the world, and we don’t have as much time as most of us would like to spend with friends, family and other people that are dear to us. People surround us all the time, but most of our human interactions are very automatic and plain, and they last only a couple of hours—so we’re basically lonely. The only steady, personal human relationship I have on my tours is with my tour manager. Keeping a steady relationship and forming a family of our own is also very hard for most of us, though some seem to manage to do that. But most of us are lone wolves, constantly moving around the globe, shifting time zones, fighting jet lag, and trying to stay on the top of the game.
Spending time with the family. An artist travels and performs so frequently, and when you are finally back home, you still have music to finish. Sometimes it is really hard to make time to see everybody and just sit back and relax and have some real quality time with family and friends.
Not having a private life. When on the road, there’s not much time to meet anyone or be intimate and share some private moments. We’re too busy in the studio, traveling around the world, week in and week out. I can only speak for myself, and that’s where I’m at right now. I’m not complaining, though, don’t get me wrong; I’m not missing being in a relationship, as I’ve been in one for a long time, and I’m loving my freedom right now. I am fully dedicated to my work, and that’s where I want to be. Music is my boyfriend.
Krewella (Jahan Yousaf)
The biggest sacrifice we’ve made is being away from our family to work on records in Los Angeles and tour for most of the year. To us, there is no point in life if you are struggling to be a successful artist but cannot see your loved ones. What we have learned is that it is not fair to deprive yourself of relationships in order to live your passion for art. There is a healthy way to balance our obsession with Krewella and our undying love for family… and we are working on that. A life with music and family is the richest and most fulfilling one we can imagine.
I think becoming a traveling artist takes a lot away from normality, and you lose a lot of friends and family not being around. But you make new friends, and eventually your own family; nothing can’t be repaired.
New World Punx
There are so many people who will read this and have dreams of becoming a DJ themselves. But there is an element of being careful what you wish for, because when you get to a certain level, the expectations and demands of touring can be brutal. It can be extremely difficult and emotionally draining at times. It’s always sad when you don’t get to spend Thanksgiving at home with your family, or you have to leave on Christmas night to fly overnight to a gig the next day. Days off and vacations in general are almost nonexistent. And with all the touring, there’s nothing lonelier than traveling on your own. This is where we are incredibly lucky with the NWP project, because if we have a string of gigs together, then we are on the same plane, sitting beside each other, bouncing ideas about tracks and sharing plenty of laughs.
Setting aside time to improve production! That is the most difficult, I’d say, and it really takes a lot of sacrifice and time. I feel like production is something that can always be improved.
One of my biggest sacrifices has been learning to work on the road without a proper studio set-up. Success in dance music is sort of a double-edged sword, in that once there is some awareness out there, you start touring, but that means time away from home and your studio. Only in the last year or so have I learned the importance of being able to work on the road, as that is where I am 80 percent of the time. Conversely, it’s also important to know when to take some time off the road and give yourself some space to breathe and think outside of a tour bus, van or plane. That too can feel like a big sacrifice; but it is so fucking vital.
Cassettes Won’t Listen
Siding with monetary security over achieving goals. Fuck getting that 9 to 5, you won’t get much music done in that cubicle. Life is short; you shouldn’t waste it making someone else rich.