Armin van Buuren opens up about mental health and the legacy of Avicii
Few stars of the dance scene can boast the longevity and productivity that Armin van Buuren has shown over his 25-plus years in the music business. While many idolize his work and would love the opportunity to share their passion with the world the way he does, the trance legend sat down to discuss the importance of mental health and the rigors that come with being an international music star.
Following a set at Ultra Abu Dhabi, Armin van Buuren discussed with The National the impact that the lifestyle can have on musicians and especially the unfortunate tragedy of Avicii and the lessons to be learned from his story. It is well documented that Avicii chose to stop touring two years prior to his death due to exhaustion and the pressures of the industry, a shocking move at the time, but one that other artists are now taking heed of, most notably Hardwell’s recent decision to step away from the spotlight for several years before returning to Ultra Music Festival in 2022. For van Buuren, Avicii’s tragic passing, as well as the 2020 pandemic, made him realize that it was time for him to make some changes in his own career.
Since then, the Dutch producer has cut back from his time on stage, once performing 120 to 150 sets a year and now capping that figure closer to 70 shows to ensure proper mental health and time with family. Furthermore, he has stopped drinking alcohol and taken to meditation on a daily basis, and will even be spending most of August on vacation with his family, a time when most DJs are busy stepping onto festival stages around the world. Reflecting further on Avicii, he said, “He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace. Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight.”
Armin finally discussed the importance of young artists to understand the need for this balance, while recognizing that a lot of industry individuals will not necessarily be looking out for their best interests from a health standpoint:
“Sooner or later, every artist will run into that wall and then you need a good team of people around you to support you so you can stay in contact with your own soul,” van Buuren said. “I’m blessed because I have a great team and great management. And they’re super honest with me and they look after me. But if you’re a young and upcoming artist, that maybe not the case. But I have a manager who says, ‘Yeah, is this what you really want?’ and checks in. I think that’s all thanks to Avicii.”
Image Credit: SNDR / Provided by Armada PR