You might’ve heard this one before: that dance music is just ancient ritual with a new skin, a manifestation of our age-old need to come together and be transported. “I always saw underground dance music culture as that,” says Luca Mortellaro, the DJ and producer better known as Lucy. “That’s what I think when I see a performer in charge of distributing energies in a certain way, and a group of people that [dance] to obsessive rhythms for hours and hours. I don’t see that many differences, just maybe in the tools used.”
Mortellaro’s contact with wellness culture began when his DJ career took off. “The shock was so big. Everyone around me [was saying], ‘Wow, this is a dream, you should be really happy.’ And I wasn’t at all, actually I was burning out quite fast.”
He began to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks before discovering a form of Hatha yoga. Unlike with Petkova, though, Mortellaro’s discovery didn’t lead him to reject dance music.
“[Yoga] became like a daily ritual. Wherever I was, in Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Rome, Berlin, something was always the same. And at some point it started to become a very synergic part of my music career. In the weekend I was putting all my energies into one direction, during the week I was putting them into another, through the yoga practice. I started feeling how that was helping a lot in fighting a certain kind of alienation.”
Mortellaro isn’t the only DJ in search of coping strategies. Roman Flügel has described his yoga practice as “a nice counterpoint to the usual weekend madness.” Xosar, a licensed yoga instructor, recently told RA’s Mark Smith how her musician students “have physical problems from making art all day… my job lately has been to help people heal their bodies and to get them more in harmony with their craft so that they’re not abusing their bodies in their creative work.” In an RA Exchange, Monika Kruse revealed that she takes two months each year for a traditional Indian form of body detoxification called Panchakarma treatment. It “gives me the power for the rest of the year,” she said, noting that Sven Väth, Dubfire, Richie Hawtin and Magda have done something similar.
“You get up in the morning and you brush your teeth—it’s like that for me,” says Tony Child of his own yoga practice. As the DJ and producer Surgeon, he’s had two decades to get to grips with the touring lifestyle. His relationship with Ashtanga yoga started about ten years ago, after a health checkup revealed a…