08.03.2021 Text by S(GBA) 

I am Steve (German by Accident). I fell into a hole, shortly after the pandemic shut down the world (my world back in March 2020). I used to live in Mexico City, had a home in a beautiful big Finca with artists around me, dinners, meeting international travelers for a Mezcal, and had Tacos every day. My career was starting off well, after the first few months of freelancing and opening a solo business. I just started to find my flow in life I’ve had grown and built for my young self. A life I always dreamt about. But since March 2020, day after day it faded away, it went further and further away from me, and I didn’t want to let go. All my money, all my energy, all my love, and what was left at that time went into holding onto the threads of my old life. About 7 months later I found myself lost in the darkest corners of my mind. My exhaustion turned into a depression, also called burnout. Who am I? Do people like what I do? How can I show them now who I am and what I am capable of?

I built something for myself, had to let it go and struggled with the demons of the past for about 12 months until I was able to surrender. And then fell. Even deeper. Where did my vision go? Is this normal? Can I have my energy back, please? I started to be so deeply in conflict with the voices in my head that I turned to social media, trying to win the lottery and cracking the code. At the end it had cracked mine and no one won the lottery. It made me socially anxious, cut open all my wounds and brought me insomnia, crying in the evening and just really unhealthy eating habits. I wasn’t looking into the mirror anymore but into pictures and actions of other people to reflect myself, and it made it all worse. Traps everywhere, what can I say, what can’t I say. The pure existential, physical angst around me on that huge sofa in front of the TV, day in day out. The pandemic ate me up.

That is when I stopped using social media completely for about 3 weeks, put my cell phone, my emails, my whole life on flight mode. And it became silent. I awoke and found my way back out. I began to build a new direction and a new vision. 

Right before that pause, I stumbled upon TechnoMentalHealth, an Instagram account by the artist, Cera Khin, who I knew from booking her for a club in Mexico City. She was the first person that picked up my struggles so I wanted to talk to her. Following Cera since her early career, how she developed her own craft and style I have a lot of respect for the fact that she grew herself a fan base, an independent life, a strong mind and a career in this business and now made the step forward to talk about mental health. I find it brave. And I find it helpful. Florence is a woman I share a friendship with for a long time. We used to be colleagues at the same company and became very close friends. Her journey and strong will to build her life always has and still is a big influence for me. As she changed her career path while I was starting off my career in Mexico City we followed up on each other’s lives on a daily basis and discussed different topics frequently over the past 5 years: psychology and the status quo of our work, as well as love and relationship. Meanwhile, Florence became a full-time mental health coach for creatives and artists. So it was evident to bring her to the table when it comes to the topic of mental health and coaching. After we had the call for this interview, I wanted to meet Cera in person again. We went for a coffee and had a deep conversation, about how we manipulate our minds to stay unhappy. Cera gave me a few ideas on how to do the same with positive thoughts, ideas, and visions to teach our minds to become therapeutic tools instead of a tormenting ghost. I use those tips every day. Florence keeps providing me with books, articles and lets me see her tools to stay focussed and to keep myself healthy and on track which makes me reflect differently. 

C: Are you in Mexico City now, Sophie?

S: No, I’m back in Germany.

C: What about you Florence?

F: I am based in Berlin for more than 10 years now, electronic music brought me to the city. I have been working for various Techno and House DJs, labels and festivals, mainly in public relations and artist management for almost 8 years until it didn’t make any sense to me anymore, for many different reasons. One of them was a bit of my own personal story forcing me to take a break and to reduce my work commitments. I was into personal growth for a long time. It started in 2016 when I was getting highly interested in mental health, especially in the music and entertainment industry as I’ve seen many artists struggling with all sorts of challenges, as well as the people working within the industry for artists. So during this break, I thought: “Okay. Well, what can I do besides doing public relations?” I originally have studied Sociology and Psychology, so that’s why I thought doing a one-year training in systemic coaching and getting into personal development and growth could be the intellectual challenge that I was needing at that time. I already had the idea of offering to counsel for the music industry when I started the training because mental health was about to become a big topic at that time. I only knew very few people offering this kind of support in Berlin. If you look for instance to the U.S., especially Hollywood – all actors or big music pop stars have their coaches.

C: Exactly, it’s part of the culture there. Now they all have coaches. It’s really popping, in the states especially.

S: How do you get into that topic or since when do you talk about this stuff openly, Cera?

C: Actually, it was just by myself. I never met anyone in real life in this field, you are the first person Florence. F: Wow. Okay.

C: Basically it’s been really hard throughout my career. I also suffered from depression in the past. I have lived in Berlin for seven years. The first years have been quite challenging to get comfortable with. I wasn’t a DJ at that time. The weather, the culture, with everything. it’s so different from where I grew up. I was totally out of my comfort zone! I was also depressed during that period but the problem at that time was that I couldn’t find a therapist or at least it was quite complicated. I struggled a lot and then I started to put all my pain into music and that helped me the most, being unable to find someone to really help me in different ways. It sounds like a cliché but that’s how it all started. My pain was my savior and I just put all my focus in music and then I started touring and DJing around the world! I’m so proud! I am also a person that works out a lot. Technogym! (laughs) I have a healthy lifestyle, I even stopped doing drugs a few years ago, I did my best to feel better and it really helped my mental health. I basically did everything to stay mentally balanced.

F: Oh wow, you started this Instagram account Technomentalhealth” this year? 

C: I created the “Technomentalhealth” Instagram four months ago. I was like “Wow, my own experience this year has been hard, and I see people really struggling, especially with Covid and how the world is changing. What keeps me actually going as an artist, as well as a human being?” It had to be something that is helping me and other people as well. I feel that a lot of people are experiencing the same thing at the moment, as you said Florence. Especially in the music scene, it is already hard, it is not part of our culture still, it is not part of the broader society. As a taboo topic before the pandemic, no one wanted to talk about mental health properly, mostly just forget about the problems and party them away, that’s it. But they don’t really resolve the main issue.

F: Yes, I think maybe it is a German or European culture issue that there is a big stigma around admitting that you are not doing well. The electronic music industry is also an independently operating industry. Only a few people are employed and feel financially safe enough to take a sick leave or to open up about their well-being, showing their weakness. The majority are self-employed artists, creative professionals, or agents. Almost everyone in this field is self-employed and admitting that you are not doing fine is a tricky thing because the competition is so high in this business. At least that’s what I witnessed before Corona started one year ago, and now the pandemic changes basically everything. We are facing totally different challenges on so many levels. I mean all turned upside down now. 

C: The pandemic made people actually more aware that we need to go back to the roots of the problem, not cover the problem. It is hard to show weakness. Nowadays, not many people show vulnerability, because the culture taught us through generations that it is a sign of weakness but actually, it’s not. It is even brave to show it and takes more strength to show it than hide it. I guess, people are afraid of competition and that makes us feel that we have to always be at our best and create this fake perfect lifestyle online. And now with the pandemic, structures are breaking. And it’s about time to talk about real shit! That was my main endeavor to start a mental health Instagram page. One day I woke up and said to myself  “I need to do something!”. It was just my gut feeling telling me. I have always been interested in psychology, reading books about it, researching almost every single day, watching every single documentary about the latest research in Neuroscience… So there is already a foundation of knowledge once I started getting deeper into it. Out of personal interest and own experiences, trying to find solutions for my personal situation that I felt like sharing with others. I am aware that I won’t change the world but at least make people more aware and let them know, they are not alone with the struggles. We are all struggling.

F: I think in order to normalize the stigma, awareness, and a certain level of understanding of the human mind and its thought-patterns are the best preconditions to raise the awareness about what is going on in oneself and in others, but then as well normalize the conversation about it. I think this is the only way to create safe spaces, to open up to others. 

S: The fact that not many governments really support creative mental health, electronic music culture even, in a really heavy time with sentences like “Your industry is not coming back soon, or, the event industry is the last thing we will open again” is further down the line a sign, that the people working in this field should really stick together and make moves forward together.

F: Yes. I think the government is unfair on different levels. For instance, some politicians in the UK, but also here in Germany simply say “Maybe you just have to get another job.” This feels like a slap into your face – they don’t realize that people are putting their lives, many years into building up those careers. This is what they are set for and has been their solo business basically, but an unpredictable situation has taken it away. Just to say “Go find another job!” is too one-dimensional. A big part of their identity is based on their career. Being financially let down by the government is already a big burden. Now you can add the impact on your mental wellbeing and the circumstances, that it is almost impossible to find psychological support, even when you are willing to pay for it by yourself.

S: In the beginning we talked about coaching and mental stability being meanwhile part of the entertainment, music culture in America. I doubt that many professionals are focussed on the same discipline here. What means “normal peoples struggles” if you can even distinguish that really but I believe as an artist and creative you need different motors to run. You need different connections to work within you, connecting with your emotions in order to create your art, it needs time to create and to distribute the created. So it seems to me that creativity as a job is still not taken seriously by the system. Understood that a different setting for creativity is necessary. All the ad’s designs for our daily world wide web digest for example, the packaging of the products we buy, or consume is all based on art and creative minds having to think about that and creating is a serious job by a lot of people and goes into many different areas of all our lives. And it is not that creatives don’t have other skills than being creative. You have to be creative on your business model, on your financials, your time management, your administration. Another stigma, people think we are doing art all day long.

„I think in order to normalize the stigma, awareness and a certain level of understanding of the human mind and its thought-patterns are the best preconditions to raise the awareness for what’s going on in oneself and in others, but also to normalize the conversation about it.“ – Florence Jimenez Otto

C: It’s weird to really minimize your position and I felt it myself being a DJ. Now I feel my job is shameful. I played a few parties last summer and they were legal parties allowed by the government, with masks, social distance etc… I had to keep these offline to avoid problems even though it was all legal. Most of us are really struggling and some can’t even pay their rent. It’s not easy to find another job after doing all your best and investing all your energy to become an artist. It’s not just uneasy, the reality is that there aren’t even jobs available.

F: That’s the next thing.

S: What job do I do? 

C: I tried to apply for some jobs but there are not available ones. It is already quite a struggle to handle the situation plus it is actually not that easy to find the right therapist to help you go through all these changes… I remember about four years ago I wanted to do therapy and I applied and had to wait for seven months to get an appointment. So basically if you have depression you really have to lose your shit until you get an appointment. So it’s like “Ok, I have to wait seven months, I need to find solutions by myself, right? And then you see everyone going deep into negativity. People have been really negative this year which is also understandable. You can see it even online with the news, Facebook, Twitter etc. … it’s been really hard to wake up every single day in this ocean of negativity … I then realized that I needed something to hold on and have some hope at least. Every post I do on “Technomentalhealth” is a form of therapy for others and even for myself.

F: I mean, it’s funny that we basically teach what we had to learn the most. I have a question for you Cera. Starting the Instagram account and I’ve seen that you also did a training becoming a therapist. Is this a new purpose for you? Or is it the turning point for your career? 

C: It is a new purpose. I mean, of course my DJ career is still there, especially with covid it is all on hold, but it’s there, you know. For me this year especially, I couldn’t focus much on the music, it’s not full time as before. I was traveling every weekend before Covid but it’s a different dynamic now. So I needed to find a new purpose, it’s essential and therapeutic. I can’t focus on just one thing. I’m always curious to invest in different topics and matters. Especially when you know that you can’t travel and can’t play music and do your main job and passion. I didn’t want to complain about it and get depressed. So finding a new thing to do is kind of my way to get away from depression. But of course this didn’t start just this year. It’s my whole life experience because I’ve also been through different, difficult stages in my life. I grew up in Tunisia. I went through the revolution and the Arab spring in 2011 which was a traumatic experience. It’s already hard there and then moving to Berlin, so it’s not something that you do in one day. You need a whole life experience to become a coach or, to be involved in psychology or hypnotherapy. You need to go through your own struggles to be able to understand the struggles of others and help them. It costs you time, all your time. This year was more about really going for it and the feeling to share it with the world.

I think the pandemic made people actually more aware that we need to go back to the roots of the problem, not cover the problem.  – Cera Khin

S: How is the feedback so far? What things do you see and do you see any similarities, some patterns? Is there something that you can already say in that short time? It’s quite a big account already, for four months of work, to be fair.

C: Actually really good and I had a really good response. I had so many messages of people saying, finally someone speaking up! You know in the techno scene and the electronic music scene in general people usually don’t speak up about sensitive subjects, and lots of people are relating with the posts that I do on “Technomentalhealth”, because I try to explain and give some tips. For example, What is self-awareness? How do you fight negative thoughts? How to recognize, if you are a people pleaser? What is true self care? … Lots of people contacted me and told me they’ve been doing therapy at the moment and my page has been helping them in the meantime with the therapy that they are doing because they recognize a lot of themselves that they weren’t aware of. They can see their patterns more clearly so it’s really good for self awareness.

S: And do you want to talk a bit about what has changed for you? From the perspective of the whole presence that you can show, you as an artist, is there some identity change? Do you think: “Maybe I should change this, or change that?” You wouldn’t have changed it because of the pandemic or do you sometimes think “what if?” or “I should have done this or I shouldn’t have done this?” I’m really happy about it, and I’m happy to hear from so many people it’s been helping!

C: I don’t use much of the word “if that didn’t happen I would …” because I know it doesn’t serve much and it makes you stuck sometimes and drown in self-doubt. I think this year’s lesson is about acceptance. The biggest thing and challenge is to accept the pandemic. It is about accepting that the situation has changed. I hear people saying “when things go back to normal” but things are not really going back to normal, let’s be honest. This is the new normal now. Usually most of us feel scared or keep so many taboos because we’re afraid to speak up the truth. And for me, that’s what my point is, to accept and learn how to cope with the new situation and find new ways of living. Every change is difficult I admit and that is ok. It is human to fear change but at some point we need to accept the situation and move forward.

F: How do you cope with the situation?

C: How do I cope? You mean in everyday life? How do I go? I exercise a lot. I try to eat as healthy as possible. I meditate a lot. I read books a lot. I make music when I feel inspired. I try to talk to close friends and my family when I can. I try my best, to have the most stable lifestyle. I know it’s already hard sometimes for people to wake up even from bed. I just try my best every single day and now share the things that work for my mental health with other people. 

S: Let’s dive in Hypnotherapy. You have a video on your page talking about your certificate in Hypnotherapy. Do you want to explain the word a little bit and then also how you got the certificate and what you learned from it?

C: With hypnotherapy, it has been a long time. I have always been fascinated by the human mind. We are not aware of our subconscious mind, what actually separates the conscious from the subconscious mind is the analytical mind and when you help people get beyond their analytical mind, you enter the operating system where you can begin to reprogramming and rewire the brain of a person. I’m gonna try to give you a quick example: since you were young, let’s say from 0-7 years, through your family or the society where you grew up, or your culture, you’ve been conditioned with certain aspects. Some people might also experience some trauma in their childhood. Trauma can be abuse, war, death or it can come through the lack of feeling seen, heard, and understood by caregivers. Then they grew up with the belief, which generally would be, that they are not worthy. They feel not worthy, not accepted as they are and this belief is embedded in their system even though they are adults now because it’s programmed in their subconscious mind. It’s really hard to change it and people are having issues and struggles in their adult life especially in their relationships because they actually don’t know how to feel worthy.

You need to go through your own struggles to be able to understand the struggles of others and help them. It costs you time, all your time. This year was more about really going for it and the feeling to share it with the world.” Cera Khin

S: A question to both of you. Would you say that social media is some sort of the source of the problem or can become a source of the problem? For anyone and younger people and younger artists that might see you and say: “Oh Wow. She’s such a famous person and also so big on social media.” Would you say that’s some sort of feeling to be part of it and to kind of build your identity based on that idea to be famous and accepted? The root of the problem can be actually “scrolled away”.

F: Well, I think social media is shaping the perception of ourselves and of others, what is assumed to be likable. It’s a massive and complex topic, especially social media consumption in an unconscious way, which I guess most of us do. There are certain studies about social media consumption, for instance, if you consume social media in a more passive way, when you just scroll down through your news feed, but not posting things by yourself. Apparently, these people are more prone to have depressive symptoms, in contrast to people that engage with others through comments and post content by themselves. Being clear about why you are checking your account is the first step towards awareness. Relaxed entertainment? Boredom? Information consumption? Craving connection? Voicing an opinion? Seeking attention? I think to build up a brand but also to send out certain vibes – the vibes that you would like to attract, social media is a great format. You can use it for whatever you want. You, Cera and Sophie, you both have your outlets and create your own brand with Technomentalhealth and NSNS so I think for this purpose, it’s a good platform. 

S: From my experience, I still think that being on the market, you constantly look to the right and to the left. For me, it is really hard to keep my line and to keep on track because you see so many other people doing so many things. Some are more engaged than others and you question yourself a lot. “Am I doing the right thing”? It is this ‘Wow-Effect’ and speaking about the unconscious I think we are trained to be hooked with a ‘WOW’. It is more fun, more exciting, more emotionally uplifting. But then it stops so fast and you wonder “Wait a minute, I had such good energy just a few minutes ago, and now it’s down again, something is wrong with me… loops. I definitely struggle sometimes to stay focused on what I actually want to do. Then you have to always align with the reality of social media, which is a very fast-moving, constantly changing, mass of information that you can’t really keep up with and you have to kind of jump on a wave or on a boat sometimes. That’s how I feel about it. And it also draws my attention so much on Instagram, constantly, because you look and you watch and you kind of get sucked into it every single time. You just open the app because it plays something or it has a quote that’s customized to you, you start sharing it in the Stories, with your friends, you scroll, loops again… So sometimes I wonder how to really deal with it in order to stay sane, because if I would just look to the right and to the left and do what everybody else does, then I basically would also lose my essence and myself, no?

C: I don’t use much of the word “if that didn’t happen I would …” because I know it doesn’t serve much and it makes you stuck sometimes and drown in self-doubt.

C: I think you have to learn to use social media. Filter that consciously and set boundaries with yourself about how you use social media. Boundaries are so important for your well being. For example, if there’s an account that is annoying you and it’s triggering you to make you feel bad or doesn’t make you feel good, you have to unfollow it or in certains cases, block it. There’s so much unnecessary information that doesn’t serve you and doesn’t participate in your growth, you can always unfollow. So basically it’s up to you, to choose the right people for you to follow and the right platform that you can get inspired from, because there’s lots of negative aspects of course. I learned lots of things, because I decided to choose those platforms that inspire me and people or the other platforms that do not inspire me or participate in my growth, I just unfollow them. That’s how boundaries work to protect you, it is very simple.

F: Being conscious of “Why am I opening up Instagram now?”, I think that needs to be clear, because these apps are designed to keep you hooked, they’re operating with our psychological needs as a human being. So you have to beat the algorithm, you have to beat artificial intelligence. You need to know yourself better than technology knows you. It is not easy, because for many it is a habit, just opening up and thinking “okay what’s going on?” Maybe I am missing a social interaction. Well, I want to know what other people are doing, right? Did I get a like? Great, now I feel good because I got attention and so on, it’s feeding our human needs on so many different levels.

S: When you look into social media and how they are designed…I just figured that our interaction these days through covid has created a new system in a second world on these “things”. So much business now and how people make money. When you look at YouTube, when you look at Google, when you look at Instagram and Facebook. These massive platforms create a massive amount of income for people which kind of drives people as well to those platforms, making them more addictive and irreplaceable. You mix influence with business on a whole new level in arts and culture. For example, when brands ask you to share some products on your Instagram page, for example, because it’s such a lucrative and easy way also to get engagement obviously because you’ve built your fan base on there, I wonder what does this do to your artistic identity, good and bad. One day it starts with 1.000€ then two, then all of a sudden four. What does this do to our value system towards money and selling yourself for a living by not sitting in an office. Isn’t it the same spending 2-3h actively looking down on the phone and the rest of the day posing in front of the camera and all day long thinking about content? Instagram is your dåesk plus collects all the data. I mean all these super model accounts are based on that business model to implement the app more into our lives. So to me culture feels kind of trapped in this capitalism. I am really excited to see how arts will develop once the pandemic is over. How we consume it, what we expect from it, what people have created. I can’t wait, for real. Social Media I think becomes a manual for a silenced generation. How do you beat the algorithm? The algorithm is done by computer and the human mind is basically trapped in the algorithm which is the subconscious of the internet. The algorithm and AI, how do you beat your problems as a human and how does a computer as a tool beat the unconscious of the system? I use social media in a certain way but the more you are forced to use it the more you are forced to unconsciously give away your data, your human behaviour and your moments. 

C: I like that metaphor that you said that the algorithm is the subconscious of the internet.

S: I question if at some point everyone will want their own, customized explanation instead of finding a common solution? So I feel the older you get and work also in this cultural landscape, the more social responsibility you also should have in order to keep people informed about the reality of things. Because sometimes the internet reality gets lost in that unconscious as much as our reality gets lost in our unconscious. So I think mental health is probably the most important topic that’s going to pop up, hopefully now, because I think a lot of people struggle with it more than we can imagine. 

Being financially let down by the government is already a big burden. Now you can add the impact on your mental wellbeing and the circumstances, that it is almost impossible to find psychological support, even when you are willing to pay for it by yourself.

C: I totally agree with you and that’s why it’s really important to raise awareness for everything you do, and to practice self awareness. I think that’s already a tool, to be aware of things. Even your thoughts on how you consume social media, the food you eat, the people you meet or simply your life. I think it’s really important that you can establish yourself, to know what’s the limit for you, so that you don’t let it affect your mental health.

S: What are the topics that you Florence for example work with right now? With your clients in general in your work? Do you have something that suits a general problem through the pandemic or maybe also outside of culture. I mean culture is so broad, it’s not just about DJ’s, it’s photographers, videographers, people that run magazines, people that are managing artists, directors, theatre actors, opera singers… So it’s this huge field of different people and different stories. Is there one topic that you would say is an average problem at the moment, looking at your palette of clients? A topic that shines through, that’s kind of really important to talk about?

F: That’s a difficult question. I think one of the common issues is to follow your artistic vision, whether you are an artist, musician, editor, graphic designer or actor. Yeah I would say staying true to your artistic vision and being able to make a living, with or without your art and craft. Finding the right mindset so you don’t have the feeling of selling yourself out to markets, jobs or agencies where you can make money. Being authentic but also being clear and committed to what you want in life. Having clarity about Why? you are doing the things that you are doing. What’s the motivation behind them? Clarity about your priorities and compromises. For instance, what’s your relationship between your art and the money you are generating with it. Is your fee also a source of recognition? How do you feel about your art (and yourself) when inquiries for commissioned projects are not coming in as you have expected? When you completely rely on making money with art, it also holds the danger of overidentifying with it, which can cause high pressures of being “successful”. It can have a negative impact on your creativity. Whereas you could also have a side job, related to your art, well said to your craft. For example, many illustrators do illustration as their art but they’re also working as graphic designers. This is a scenario in which you get paid for your craft and at the end of the month, you know you can pay your bills. With this kind of comfort, you might even find more freedom to pursue your artistic vision. That’s one thing that I see quite often, to find the balance between the two of these scenarios.

C: I think that’s the biggest struggle right? That’s the biggest thing to find the balance between being yourself, doing your art and also it is money, and you have to pay your rent and you have to pay your bills and pay your taxes and not lose your soul.

F: When you have been making a high standard living with your art and then you realize that trends in culture are changing, people are not that interested in you anymore, you have to remain flexible. When your identity is tied up to success,  status and an image or brand that you represent, and then your status quo is changing, you are forced to step back on different levels, it is a transition process inside yourself. And now we have the pandemic, this is an even more special situation.

C: This is my vision, you know, but for me any art is like life itself. You have ups and downs. You can never have it always exponential. You know, it won’t be all the time going UP to the hill, sometimes it’s going down. That’s emotional intelligence. It is up to you how to deal with the situation when you run down on the hill, that’s how it goes all your life, it just doesn’t stop. It’s an endless loop. It’s up & down. F: Being flexible is a superpower. 

C: Exactly and I think that’s the case not just for DJ’s, for painters, it is for everyone. Every answer is for everyone. You can have a family, you can have kids and one day you’re fired from your job and then you have to find another job etc etc …. At the end we need to be flexible and we need to learn how to cope with any hard situation we encounter in healthy ways. Even though you established Plan A, Plan B, but maybe you have to find Plan C in some situations, and I think that’s the key to success because you will never be successful your whole life or perhaps you can but this doesn’t really matter. What’s important is to have the right tools but tools to keep you going. It’s all basically tools for self-help, tools to establish the right mindset to face any kind of situation.

S: When you see yourself as a solo business not just an artist, learning that confidence and knowledge that you are an entity that is valid in the system understanding, that something that you’ve built might not be on that level anymore because the market has changed BUT remind yourself that you can reach it again, leads back to the point you mentioned Cera, acceptance. I think most of us fail once, and in that failure lies the energy and the basis for a new beginning. C: What if the secret to success is failure?

S: But I mean that’s actually a good question. Is that even failure when you’re right now not making the money that you were making before because of the situation?

C: And when you say it’s failure because you believe this is only happening to me, then it is failure for you, individually. I see failure as a way to learn and to be better another day. I don’t think it is the end of the world. Sometimes failure can be actually even more rewarding than being successful. Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but it’s a way to learn lessons for the next try.

F: No, it always has a big opportunity to learn things. And I think if you always have been successful and think you never failed, then also something is wrong in that thinking.

C: I don’t think anyone in this world is free of failure. This is a big part of humanity, we can’t be perfect. We are humans. mistakes are human.

F: I think that within the word failure and also within the word perfection is already some sort of judgment because you could also say “things didn’t work out”.

C: It is a big label to say failure, because it is subjective. Maybe it’s not a failure. What is failure for me might not be a failure for you. Of course, if you want to say the word failure, you think it wasn’t successful and you say ok I failed and next time I am going to do it better, then I learned from that. That is the different approach to that problem. But again to talk about the global pandemic I don’t think it is a failure, it is just life. There is something happening to the whole world, to the earth, to the planet earth, it is not failure, it is just destiny we have to live through in 2020/21. I don’t know for how long. I’m not controlling this (laughs). It’s been challenging. People are losing their jobs, people are dying, there’s so many weird changes (and happenings) but at the same time it’s up to us, human beings, to learn how to cope with the new situation. Let’s do it all together and be kind to each other!

F: I think it’s actually a good chance to change things because the pandemic makes it more obvious what hasn’t been working out before on different levels, also outside of the music industry. The industry was already on a point which was not healthy anymore in many perspectives. Now it’s crashing and it is tough, it’s really heartbreaking. Nevertheless, crises are always opportunities for change. 

S: Speaking about chances, maybe to give it a round finish I want to ask, what do you both individually, have planned for the future? For this specific topic? I mean you on one side with Techno Mental Health and you Florence on the counseling work. In a positive way, what do you hope for the future? And where do you want to bring your works?

C: Of course, I can’t wait for the music to go back, to go back to my job and my passion. I can’t wait to see people in the scene being more compassionate, more kind, more tolerant and understanding. Everyone is struggling with mental health at the moment and people really have to be kinder to one another. Especially in the electronic music scene, because I’ve seen lots of harsh things. So I hope people just understand, and don’t blame others and don’t judge others. I just feel like that and because everyone is struggling at the moment, don’t judge people for how they have become successful or how people are struggling; you can’t really judge people because everyone has a past, everyone has a story and you never really know what is behind it. So that’s why I hope there will be more tolerance. That the scene will consider more the minorities, celebrate the differences and be more caring.  

You know, at the end we are all humans, we all have our history here. We all have our personal problems. For me, for everyone, not just the artists, the ecosystem we live and work in, the clubs, the promoters, the ravers everyone! More diversity and inclusion please!

F: I wish basically for the same, that there will be more compassion and interdependence. Asking for help should not be a sign of weakness anymore. For me personally, I was also thinking about doing a training in hypnotherapy. I have experienced it by myself and I have found it quite powerful.

S: I tried it as well with the hypnotherapy and it’s very very powerful. You awake something within you that you probably don’t really communicate with under normal circumstances because you’re constantly stuck in your negative emotions. All these triggers and all these reactions as everything became a reaction these days. Type laughing in your phone and it pops up a smiley instead of the word to express a reaction. You lose touch with that reaction in reality but might just avoid to trigger a real feeling, because you have a smiley to express it, or a quote, or a modern word, “dope”. Let’s allow ourselves to be dreamers and go for the dreams with respect and esteem for your neighbours dreams.

C: Exactly! Have you ever asked yourself once “Why am I attracting the same people in my life? or “Why do I keep having the same patterns in my relationships or my work life?” With hypnotherapy it helps you to understand and recognize that pattern. It basically gives you another pair of glasses, and a different view, a new lens! And when you have those new pairs of glasses then you say “Okay shit actually I was sleepwalking all this time, I can see clearly now!”.

S:  Nice. We did a lot of work today, friends! Thank you for this really refreshing talk and perspectives. That was like opening a window to get some fresh air.