How the Royal Mountain Records are supporting mental health – Spotify for artists

In recent years, conversations about mental health have spread throughout the music industry, with a growing number of artists from on-list pop stars. Demi Lovato Like indie-rock heroes PUP– Open about their experiences with addiction or frustration. On the one hand, it’s an undeniable positive thing that artists are talking so openly about their mental health struggles, reducing the stigma surrounding it and shedding light on the often stressful, turbulent life of a tour musician. On the other hand, talking about their plight is often the only thing they can do about it.

Traveling musicians are in a perpetually weak position: their work claims to be financially uncertain, both physically and mentally, and many artists lack resources (or Their knowledge available to them) To acquire health insurance. Even in a country with a socialized healthcare system like Canada, there are gaps in the system that require some specialized treatment প such as psychiatry জন্য to pay out of pocket.

For Menno Verstig, founder of Toronto-based Imperial Royal Mountain Records, the burden that can be placed on artists এবং and the need for their mental well-being ভর has been on his mind for quite some time. Worstig originally launched the label in 2010 to release his power-pop band’s debut album. Hallerado, And anyone who has spent most of his or her adult life on the streets is very familiar with the anxious nature of travel and the lack of support available to musicians. So recently, he decided to provide a little more security for the Royal Mountain roster. This past February, the label announced the creation of a special fund that would allow its artists (including indie luminaires) Mac DeMarco, Always, And American girls) To access $ 1,500 annually for mental health care on a question-based basis. The news of the fund, incidentally, coincides with the revelation that Hallerado’s upcoming fourth album, Revenge Vacation, will end. We spoke with Verstig about the Royal Mountain mental health initiative and how he inspired his own experience in front of a band.

Spotify for Artists: In the absence of any special funding, how have you managed your own mental health during your career?

Menu Verstig: Hollerado had difficulty. We used to fuck each other. There were numerous instances of members resigning. We didn’t actually go into therapy because we couldn’t afford it, but we had a therapy session with producer Gus Van Gogh, who is a wonderful man in terms of his outlook on life. He flew for us a few times, and it was like, “Okay, we have to learn how to communicate; there’s some communication equipment here.” He’s not a certified therapist, but at the time it was best for us, and people It never helped.Many bands are ineffective and they don’t communicate among themselves and it gets excited.One person’s problems can easily become everyone’s problem.

Hallerado really figured it out – we had the same four members for 14 years. We learned to stay away from each other’s buttons when needed. And it has gotten better in the last few years, when some of us have been able to carry out the necessary professional therapy in our personal lives. I was finally able to do it and I realized that therapy is not magical – it really helps to make the band dynamic. That’s what motivated the fund – after traveling so long and not being able to carry out therapy for so long, I’ve seen the consequences.

So how does a label go about setting up a fund like this?

I just did it. I called our accountant and it was like, “How much can we afford this year and still keep the lights on?” It comes out of the bottom line at this point. This is a test time – we’ll see what happens. But since doing so, there have been really lots of responses from sponsors who want to come on board, and private donors who have offered to pay for it. And we’re going to have some fundraising events. Right now, while it’s totally out of label meaning, I’m managing it. But if another money is coming from another person, we will need a third party trust to handle it, because I don’t want there to be a single piece. [sponsor] Saying, “Oh, is the money being used for this?” I will cross the bridges when I get there. But this money is going to the people who need it. Treatments come in many, many, many forms – and some of them are not beautiful.

A fund like this is a great start. But what else needs to happen in the music industry to ensure that artists are properly supported?

You know, Canadians are always proud of our amazing healthcare, but it only covers a part of our body. It does not cover the other half, which is our mind. And it does not cover our teeth. I know a lot of musician friends who have pulled three teeth for Christmas – their parents bought their dental surgery which is much stricter than necessary, because they can’t get it when they can fill normally. But I don’t think it’s my place to tell anyone in the music industry how to do their job; All I can do is do my job, how I want to do it.

And I want to build it, to the point where I can get a real health plan for these artists where we can cover their teeth, and give them a rehabilitation cover in their hands when they hit the pressure on their wrists on the tour and it hurts them to play the guitar. It’s a real thing. I got it, I know a lot of people who got it, but they can’t go to a physiotherapist for a lot of money. People say, “Ah, it’s gravy, it’s extra.” And it’s like, “Yeah, but we deserve it too!”

– Stuart Berman

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