The topic of mental health within the electronic music industry is nothing new. With late nights, busy touring schedules and being in the public eye representing just a few of the many pressures that can come with working in this area, it's become increasingly important that we learn to manage and look after our mental and physical health and wellbeing.
With one foot in nightlife and another in the world of hypnosis and therapy, Berlin-based producer, DJ and Lazy Tapes boss Cera Khin has been making it her mission to put these issues front and centre, not solely for her own benefit but for others too.
After seeing her music peers and her friends and family struggling with their mental health during the pandemic, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Using her training as a hypnotherapist and mindset coach, she launched her Technomentalhealth Instagram page as a way to raise awareness of mental health and to support other people through positive messaging, affirmations and practical techniques to implement in their daily lives.
Following the release of her latest EP, 'Demons To Some Angels To Others' for her own Lazy Tapes imprint, we sat down with Cera to dig deeper into her mental health work, the benefits it's had on her own DJ career and what changes she'd like to see within the world of electronic music.
How has the last year or so been for you, professionally and personally?
These past months have been so fulfilling on a professional and personal level. Of course the whole year wasn’t easy, it had it’s ups and downs, but I must admit that it was the best opportunity to slow down and learn to be more present in anything I do.
Many might not know that alongside your work in electronic music you also work as a hypnotherapist. What first interested you in mental health and hypnotherapy?
The pandemic made it really very clear to us that if we don’t learn to manage our mental, as well as our physical health, we would end up struggling a lot in many aspects of our life.
While there are many myths and misconceptions, hypnotherapy is a very real process that can be used as a therapeutic tool. Hypnosis has been shown to have medical and therapeutic benefits, most notably in the reduction of pain and anxiety and depression.
Do you feel there’s a lineage between your work in music and hypnotherapy? How do these two professions intertwine?
My intention through my music and DJ sets is to make the crowd lose their shit, sweat a lot and forget about all their problems which can be compared to a trance-like mental state which is also a state of Hypnosis.
Let me explain it in a better way: when you are listening to music, enjoying it and moving your body, the moment you forget the environment and start to see some other pictures in your mind, get goosebumps and enter that trance-like state: that’s hypnosis. These moments can be very profound and healing.
Hypnosis is an altered state of mind. Every one of us is in hypnosis now and then. Even animals.
As a touring DJ with a busy schedule, how has your background and education in mental health benefited you personally? Did you find it easy to apply what you’ve learnt to your own mental health?
My educational background in mental health has definitely impacted my DJ career in a very positive way. I used to be a very anxious person but now thanks to stress management techniques I’ve learned over the past year, I've become calmer even in really stressful moments and I've learned to self-soothe and manage my mental mess better.
Of course sometimes it gets tough to be zen all the time, I’m not a monk yet (laughs), especially when I’m touring with no sleep and having to run to catch a flight. But I always remind myself that these mind management tools are effective in any situation in my life.
When it comes to looking after your mental health, what’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to people in the music industry?
I would tell the whole scene to normalise talking about mental health in the electronic music industry. To get educated about mental health, follow educators online and use social media to spread awareness and learn more about it.
You launched your Technomentalhealth Instagram in December last year as a way to raise awareness of mental health and empower personal growth. What led you to start it?
I couldn’t handle seeing all the people I follow online, even my family and friends being sad and depressed because of the pandemic. At one point I realised that I gained so much knowledge in the mental health field that I’m ready to share all of it with the world. That’s how I started Technomentalhealth and so far it has been very inspiring!
What do you hope to achieve with the page? Do you have any plans to take the initiative into physical spaces as well as online?
I hope to spread awareness about the importance of mental health in the electronic music industry, break the stigma and help people who need help.
So many artists and supporters contacted me and told me how much they are thankful that the page has been helping them to go through the pandemic and how much they've gained more awareness. I’m actually very grateful to hear that :)
I can say that technomentalhealth is now considered as an online community but maybe one day we can reach physical spaces? Participate in mental health & educational meetings etc…? Who knows let’s see where it takes me!
Although mental health continues to be a taboo subject we have definitely seen many more initiatives in recent years as well as prominent figures speaking candidly about their own experiences. What do you think the future looks like for the industry?
I think people are becoming more and more sensitive about the mental health topic. Instagram has been an important tool to share more knowledge and spread awareness on so many levels. I hope the future of the industry will be more aware, more inclusive, more environment-friendly and more open-minded.
What changes would you like to see within the music industry to ensure people are being looked after and are looking after themselves?
I think the promoters, festivals and clubs need to install more educational campaigns and sensibilize ravers, as well as DJs, about preventing drug and alcohol misuse, addiction, as well as setting boundaries in the club; I actually did a post about this topic on Technomentalhealth.
It’s a whole ecosystem; it's everyone's responsibility to play their part in making the scene a safer place.
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