Bun B to Mastodon: Musicians reveal how they combat stress

From tai chi and meditation to video games and music itself, musicians ID their go-to methods for alleviating pressure and relaxing
  • Stress Awareness Month
    Photo: The Recording Academy
    April is National Stress Awareness Month
April 20, 2017 -- 5:00 pm PDT

Whether you are a musician or not, you might be feeling the effects of Mercury's retrograde, which began on the 9th of April. Maybe life seems to be tapping its toe to a different rhythm than you are? Fortunately, we can help.

April is Stress Awareness Month, so we asked several musicians how they prefer to relax, reboot and recharge in the studio, on the road and at home. The tips they suggested for relieving stress are as varied as the causes, but we did find one through line on stress: every musician deals with it. 

Tai chi to gaming: What helps musicians relieve stress?

Do you wish you could turn back time to the good-old days? Are you feeling stressed out?

In recognition of Stress Awareness Month, we spoke with rapper Bun B, DJs Fedde Le Grand and Lost Frequencies, GRAMMY-nominated metal band Mastodon, alt-rock singer/songwriter Anna Wise, and more musicians about how they cope with stress and the methods they incorporate to relax, reboot and recharge in the studio. The tips they suggested for relieving stress are as varied as the causes, but we did find one consistency: every musician deals with stress.  

GRAMMY-nominated rapper Bun B identified a specific school of meditation, transcendental, that helps him cope with the dynamic stresses of a busy lifestyle. "A lot of forms of meditation … are meant to keep peace of mind when you're alone, like say the monk that lives off in the mountain or the cave —that's the meditation they practice to deal with being by themselves," he explained. "Transcendental meditation is more of a way of finding peace in the midst of the rat race."

On the other side of the spectrum, some musicians said they attempt escape stress through entertainment, namely video games. "I'm a bit of a gamer," DJ Fedde Le Grand admitted. "I like to do adventure games that you can kind of lose yourself in." The stalwart house DJ and producer also recommended the more physical solution of practicing tai chi: "If you do something with your body, you're not in your head so much."

But perhaps the most apropos answer to the stress relief challenge was right under our noses. Next-generation Dutch DJ and producer Oliver Heldens said music itself is his stress relief mechanism, adding, "making music can make me relax because then I don't have to think anymore."

In the same spirit, Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor answered, "I play the drums," without a trace of hesitation. "I highly recommend it to everyone. … My mom used to say, 'Go play your drums,' because I'd be flipping out. ... So I'd go down there, play my drums, [it made] it all better."

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