My mind is constantly in knots. Seriously, what is going on? There is no correct answer to this that I am looking for. Anyone? But seriously, what the f*ck is going on, universe?

How much more can we handle? What other lessons are we supposed to be learning through all of this? What is the sign that we are all on the lookout for?

At the beginning of lockdown, there were some fun social media games to play or record videos of ourselves in our houses. DJ streams every hour of the day. Then, it suddenly turned. It turned to many of us going quiet. We retreated into our minds. Virtual games were not played as much anymore. It seemed that shortly after that, we started focusing on where our lives were heading. We became focused on the concept that we are all alone, in our houses, unsure of when it’ll end.

My, How Things Have Changed

There was a tweet that I noticed at the beginning of the pandemic as it started to go viral. It said something along the lines of, “true friends check in on you without being prompted to. Use this time to notice who does such things.” Again, I’m paraphrasing. But it initially irked me a bit – and here’s why.

Pre-COVID, my answer would be to disagree with that tweet. It’s difficult for many to be able to help another human without first being able to help themselves. How can someone fill up the cup of others when their own isn’t full?

And now – now, in the middle of COVID? My answer is yes. This tweet is correct in many ways.

Some Harsh Words

There has been way too much going on lately to have excuses for not showing up, and for not putting in a few more seconds of someone’s day to check in with those that have a piece of their heart. My goodness. We are the generation known for our multitasking abilities and for completing tasks with the littlest amount of effort. Seriously, what the hell?>\

There are no more cop-outs. There is no more room for games. No more joking around anymore. We all are running on fumes. The energy that we do have each morning we wake up is minimal. Whether we wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day, or never move from bed (which is ok!), the extra minutes we spend on one another will ultimately go a long way, in more ways than I can say.

Garrett’s Words

The news of the death of Garrett Lockhart, i_o, was released a few days ago. Selfishly, his passing put me to tears. Not only was he a key facet in the techno genre, but also a man that genuinely worked fucking hard. He was a man of words and yet mysterious at the same time. Take a look at the links below to read his thoughts from 2016 and on. He documented much of his life after leaving his home state

It is time to bring it back to when music meant something. Time to reacquaint yourself with the love and emotional breadth of music and forget about the cliques, politics and the stigma that our culture has accepted as normal. Time to break down the barriers between us, knock down the separations. It is time to come together. And thus I present fawks.I_o.

Moving to LA, despite his fresh ideas and newly-found path, he still struggled with who he was and who he was supposed to become. Even with the new project, Garrett struggled with the concept of the industry and it being ‘Soul’d Out‘.

His work started to reflect his consistent mindsets. His social media and show announcement tactics were heavily influenced as well. And this wasn’t just i_o. Many artists, in my opinion, use marketing tacts with aggressive wording that could generate dark thoughts in others.

His Death

I have to admit, I muted Garrett’s social media because of his dark humor and how triggering it was. At a point, I even commented on how some captions were troubling. Something was up and this isn’t the first artist or individual that my gut thought needed assistance. I was met with an influx of replies saying I just don’t understand that he’s been vocal about his struggles and this is his way of coping. I withdrew from commenting further because not everyone interprets the words like I do (and that’s ok!). However, I wish I continued. While there’s no right answer in situations like this, I think there are sure-fire ways to do your part before moving on or monitoring from afar. I wish I was more vocal. I wish we were more vocal. You can’t help people who do not want to be helped. But damn, it’s always worth a try.

And that leads me to this. One takeaway from his death is to…

Spend Time With Each Other

Suicide and mental health survivors deal with their unwanted mindsets daily. Things, words, memories, media, literature, sitting in silence, and more can be triggering. Relapses can happen. There’s no one or thing to blame for them. But, what the world can do is collectively look out. Sometimes, it’s not enough to say, “I’m here for you”. Let’s then put it into action. It’s time to keep knocking on the door, even when it’s bolted shut. It’s vital now more than ever, with suicide rates skyrocketing at alarming rates during this pandemic and mental health support becoming almost impossible to obtain without insurance or a steady income (which is hard to find nowadays).

I think now is the time to show support – to add an extra few seconds to our interactions with humans or to allow the words on our screens to seep a bit deeper into our skin. Add those few extra seconds to focus on how someone answers the most basic question, “How are you?”. Or dig behind the pixels of our phones and computers to see if someone’s words need more of our attention and assistance. It seems people are forgetting how unbelievably fulfilling it is to show up and be there for those in our hearts and strangers we see.

Our Community is More Sensitive Than You Think

As I mentioned before, not everyone is always vocal about their struggles or even aware that they are unknowingly distracting themselves from deep-rooted issues. Luckily, our EDM community is coming around – but there’s still a lot more ground to cover. One thing I’ve also noticed, that I implore each one of you to think about, is how our in-person and online comments come across in our community (and everywhere else, if you’re so inclined). This even applies to DJs.

Porter Robinson, back around 2012, was constantly facing his own racing thoughts as he departed from OWSLA and began his Worlds journey – which not many were happy about. Not many online understood the transition and it still seems, after a few years, that those dark moments still creep up on him.

Porter’s Intro for “Get Your Wish”

Recently, Getter was hit hard by EDM critics. He endured on a new house music project that was SLAMMED by the community. And that was already before the pandemic fully started! Rezz has also talked about how touring is immensely exhausting, and I won’t even go into Avicii and his well known struggles. Earlier this year, Paavo Siljamäki, shown as early as the 2014 We Are All We Need album, vocalized that “Peace of Mind” correlates so much with his hardships. He also wrote a piece just two years ago, which I encourage you to read if you have a few moments.

At this point in time, with so many hardships for our artists, we need to be kinder, more than ever, and zoom in on who they are as a person – not just their stage personas.

“There’s been a lot of talk about Mental Health, but I prefer the term Mental Fitness – it’s something we can train, work at, and get better at. And often, it’s even more fun together. So let’s share the bad, and the good.”

– Paavo Siljamäki

Castle in the Sky

We’ve lost too many beloved individuals this year, there’s no doubt about that. 2021 will be here before we know it, and we need to look deep into both our souls and those of others. It’s time we use compassion and understanding as we focus more on what’s behind the individual’s curtains.

“Maybe we should start realizing that it’s your soul that gives the world meaning, not the other way around.”

RIP, Garrett. You have taught us so much. Your light will never stop shining. Wherever you are, give ’em one hell of a show.

I appreciate any and all of you who took the time to read this. As Tony McGuiness from Above & Beyond closes out his Group Therapy weekly radio show says: “look after each other – goodnight.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.