The life of a globally-touring DJ is a conversation with a constant spotlight upon it 2018 and with good reason too.

Not too long ago, we were all deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Avicii, one of the greatest musicians of our time, as he took his own life back in April. It was only last week that Ukrainian tastemaker, Nastia, expressed how unhappy she was with the overwhelming demands that accompany such an exhausting lifestyle yet was met with a social media backlash of complete disregard and disrespect.

Granted, on the outside and from scrolling through social media pictures and videos, travelling the world to play music to thousands of people seems like the dream job. However, it’s on the inside what those who remain critical of such a lifestyle lack in understanding.

When an artist plays four or five gigs a weekend, it could be spread over two or three countries. Such a busy schedule comes accompanied by countless flights and time spent at the airport, sleep deprivation, the pressure to play often in order to grow more and on top of all this, are expected to maintain a positive attitude on all socials.

Such a hectic lifestyle, if continued for several years, can lead to serious consequences on one’s mental and physical wellbeing in the long haul. Therefore it is essential we, as an industry, raise awareness on such subjects and come together to help as much as we can.

Here’s a selection of ANTS’ regulars sharing their tips on how they ‘Hack The System’.


Eli & Fur

In the midst of a busy summer of touring, what keeps you motivated? Do you have any routines that you try and stick to in order to stay healthy whilst you’re on the road? (such as going to the gym etc)?

Touring is definitely a challenge when it comes to sticking to a routine and staying healthy. We got into this because we love music but we also love to party, when you know you have quite a few shows in the pipe line it can be a challenge to pace yourself, the last show of the tour always gets the most out of control haha. The gym happens if we have a few days off mid-week but usually it will just be a few hotel room sit-ups. Dancing behind the decks is always a good workout.

And any pre-set rituals to get you psyched up?

We always like to get to the club an hour before just to get into the right mind set and experience the vibe.

Whilst touring you are constantly on the move. Do you have any tips for catching sleep on the road? How do you switch off?

Melatonin pills are a life saver. It can be impossible to sleep when you are running on so much adrenaline. Podcasts are always helpful, there’s this one where the guy speaking has the most monotone voice. Sends you straight to sleep.

And do you have one item that you can’t live without whilst travelling?

Fur: I bought this camping pillow in Denver airport that I honestly do not no how I coped without it, it’s so soft. I now take it on all the flights.

Eli: my iPhone headphone converter which I’m constantly loosing, I hate Apple for changing it, wasted so much money on those weird looking things.

What books do you like to read whilst travelling? How have they opened your mind more?

Eli: I love to read factual books, mostly about physiology and society. One of my favourite recent reads is ‘Sex At Dawn’ by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethà. It’s a fascinating book.

Fur: I’m reading Shantaram at the moment, it’s about a convicted bank robber and drug addict who escapes from prison and flees to India. It’s an amazing story.

What’s your basic day to day diet like when working through a busy gig schedule at the weekend?

We love food so much, it’s one of the huge benefits of getting to travel to different places. After a show we will usually skip breakfast and then head somewhere near the hotel for lunch, our favourites are Mexican, Italian and we love vegan food, just ate at Vegan Soul in Detroit, it was insane! We will research before we get to each city so we know exactly where we want to eat.

Lastly, what do you like to do on your days off?

Eli: As we tour a lot, I balance my days off, firstly with with making music… that’s always been a hobby so I love to have time being creative, even if it’s just on my guitar or my bed with a laptop. Then finding time to see friends and family, usually you will be out DJing on a weekend which is when most people are around, it’s always fun to get mates along for gigs.

Fur: I like to take it easy, chill out at home with friends and family.


Steve Lawler

In the midst of a busy summer of touring, what keeps you motivated? Do you have any routines that you try and stick to in order to stay healthy whilst you’re on the road? (such as going to the gym etc)?

I would love to, and I have tried it, but it’s impossible, even if you had the time you don’t have the energy and I think it would be un-safe to do so – doing extreme work in a gym after late nights, especially if drinking any alcohol, I think this would lead to health risks.

And any pre-set rituals to get you psyched up?

I just go through music for hours and hours before the shows, to make sure I know where to go musically on the night. I have always said this, the more you know your music, the better the performance.

Whilst touring you are constantly on the move. Do you have any tips for catching sleep on the road? How do you switch off?

Again, something else that is near impossible, I can’t sleep anywhere but lying down, there are some lucky few that sleep sitting up. But not me.

Netflix is how I switch off…get in bed no matter the time, draw the curtains and watch some Netflix and hope I fall a sleep! If I have time I try where I can to get massages – this really helps me – or spend time in spas, water therapy is very good for me and often brings me back to earth.

And do you have one item that you can’t live without whilst travelling?

My laptop. It’s my life!

What books do you like to read whilst travelling? How have they opened your mind more?

I’m more of a documentary man than a book reader. Don’t have the concentration span for reading!

What’s your basic day to day diet like when working through a busy gig schedule at the weekend?

This is something that is hard to control on the road, when most European airports only sell bread! Especially Spain!
I try my hardest to stay as healthy as possible whilst at home, so the weekends becomes cheat days and I can eat what I want.

Lastly, what do you like to do on your days off?

What I like to do, and what I do is completely different! What I would like to do it NOTHING, but that isn’t the case in real life. There is never a day off.. there is always something that needs doing..


UNER

In the midst of a busy summer of touring, what keeps you motivated? Do you have any routines that you try and stick to in order to stay healthy whilst you’re on the road? (such as going to the gym etc)?

Sometimes it’s not easy to find the motivation or inspiration, especially if you’ve had a long weekend, full of delayed flights like we had last week thanks to our beloved Vueling! The people who surround you are certainly very important. My girlfriend, my mother and my friends. Also, the time when I have the chance to sit down in the studio to make music is very important for my motivation. I try to have some free weekends from time to time and of course, I try to have a “normal” life during the time I’m home (going to the gym, to the supermarket, some quality free time with the family, movies, laughs, etc…).

And any pre-set rituals to get you psyched up?

Of course. I have rituals even to go take a shower or to go into a plane! For me, meditation is a very important pre-set ritual in order to get focused. It is not the same kind of meditation you’d do when you’re stressed out, but those moments (10 minutes is enough) are very important for me.

Whilst touring you are constantly on the move. Do you have any tips for catching sleep on the road? How do you switch off?

That part is the most difficult challenge for us. Moving through airports, sleeping in different hotel beds — sometimes you need to choose between eating and sleeping because we don’t have enough time to do both. But honestly, it is not a problem for me nowadays. I can fall asleep while walking haha. To me, it is all about catching some sleep whenever and wherever you can, even if it’s just a twenty minute power nap. Flights are perfect for this, then you can work the rest of the time. When I’m home (Spain or USA), I try to keep a normal sleeping pattern but on the road the tip for me is go to sleep when I feel I need to sleep. Then my mind is 100% ready during the time I am awake. The worst thing you can do is force yourself to stay awake!

And do you have one item that you can’t live without whilst travelling?

Sure! Swedish Fish (candy)! Do you know about it? Try to find it.. the rest is normal (my laptop and my Roli keyboard to make music everywhere).

What books do you like to read whilst travelling? How have they opened your mind more?

I love to read about spirituality, UFO’s, and horror books. For sure they’ve opened my mind. In these books there are so many different stories of people’s lives that inspire me. My inspiration is not just coming from myself but from the stories I read or I listen to while I’m touring. Books are really important to keep our mind in a good shape! So please, read, but not just social media!

What’s your basic day to day diet like when working through a busy gig schedule at the weekend?

Definitely protein. At the end of the weekend, I really need some carbs so any kind of pasta or pizza is perfect. I try not to eat too much before a gig (I used to do this before but not now). I sometimes have some candy or chocolate for the moments when you need a pick up. What I prefer to do most (when the time permits) is to eat small snacks during the whole day to keep the body activated. And of course, as much water as I can!

Lastly, what do you like to do on your days off?

Relax and unwind. Do you know how it feels when you can stay hours on the sofa, with your girlfriend watching horror movies and eating French fries and fried eggs? Heaven! I also really love to go shopping, visit friends, take walks, or just go for an ice cream. Those moments are the real moments and the moments that make me feel ready to continue, happy with my life, blessed for every second and connected to reality. You need to be relaxed to find your own inspiration and express yourself through the music.


Francisco Allendes

In the midst of a busy summer of touring, what keeps you motivated? Do you have any routines that you try and stick to in order to stay healthy whilst you’re on the road? (such as going to the gym etc)?

Since February, I have been doing Crossfit. I got addicted very quickly as I felt the benefits on my health right away. I’ve done some gym and running in the past but neither are close to Crossfit. I also did ashtanga yoga for many years which I loved, but it was too difficult to sync with my lifestyle. I train five days a week and if I miss a day I really feel guilty, I’m hooked! Of course, when touring though I normally can’t go training so I bought a jump rope – it’s the simplest, smallest and most complete device to exercise anywhere in the world. So even if the hotel where I staying has no gym, I can still workout on my own.

And any pre-set rituals to get you psyched up?

It’s very important that I can take a nap before playing. I’m not a kid anymore, and getting to the DJ booth with full energy just won’t happen if I can’t rest a bit before the party. After waking up from the nap, I will iron the t-shirt that I’ll wear for the party. Eight years ago, I decided I never wanted to fly again with luggage, only with a carry on bag, so my clothes while traveling are always a mess!

Whilst touring you are constantly on the move. Do you have any tips for catching sleep on the road? How do you switch off?

I am very lucky that I can sleep everywhere, otherwise I think my life would be very difficult. If I have a very long flight, sometimes I take melatonin to be sure I will rest, but normally I don’t need it. I’m good at sleeping in planes, cars, chairs and floors. If there’s a bed available, then great!

And do you have one item that you can’t live without whilst travelling?

The extra battery for my phone.

What books do you like to read whilst travelling? How have they opened your mind more?

I think I am pretty open minded. I’ve travelled around the world, practiced yoga and spirituality. I think that 2012 marked a new beginning for humanity, I believe in bitcoin, conspiracy theories, laws of attraction, and I’m certain the earth is not flat. So some of the books I bring with me on the plane help me go deep into my beliefs sometimes, and others are there just to entertain and help me kill some time when I want to just relax.

At the moment I have four books in my bag: a police thriller called I Am Pilgrim – soooooo good; – another called Sapiens – brief history of humanity – incredibly good but a more complex read and not the best book for the day after a party; third is the Crossfit Level 1 certificate course handbook and fourth is The Real Frank Zappa Book. So depending on my mood, I can switch between books and try to stay intellectual whilst traveling. In fact, I almost only read when I’m travelling.

What’s your basic day to day diet like when working through a busy gig schedule at the weekend?

I’ve been trying this diet called The Zone Diet. It’s explained in the Crossfit handbook as the optimal one to match the training and basically what you have to do is on every meal have a 40-30-30 proportion of carbs, proteins and fat. Sounds complicated, but if you try it you learn its very fast and simple. Whilst travelling, breakfasts are mostly in hotels so it’s easy to do, and dinners also. It’s the airports where you struggle the most – with or without diet – since quality and healthy gastronomy is not very common there. Normally you will find chocolates, fast food, sodas and horrible sandwiches where the vegetarian ones are even worst- I forgot to mention that I don’t eat meat – so I bring some snacks to help me in the hungry-airport moments (nuts, almonds, bananas, even a sandwich made at home).

Lastly, what do you like to do on your days off?

My days off normally are focused on spending time with my family – a good pool day with my lady and our kid, or the beach, or something different if it’s winter. If I get a day off whilst touring I’ll sleep as much as I can – it may sound boring but it’s the best way to recharge batteries on the road – and maybe do some sight-seeing wherever I may be.

ANTS ‘Hack The System’ for their sixth year as Ushuaïa’s Saturday residents. For more information and line-ups please click here.

ANTS Ibiza 2018 Events