Leftfield’s Neil Barnes on being a therapist: ‘The more we talk, the better we get’

Leftfield’s Neil Barnes spoke to NME about the importance of counseling after training as a therapist, as well as how it influenced the dance pioneers’ new album.

The duo released their fourth album ‘This Is What We Do’ last week, with tracks inspired by Barnes’ exploration of the shaping of his mental health. The musician describes his path to becoming a therapist as “a natural process of self-discovery.”

“It was years of depressive thoughts and things I didn’t fully understand that led me to therapy,” Barnes told NME. “My experience gave me a unique insight, especially into the world of acting and how and why so many people in the industry are down a lot. It seems to attract people with problems.”

Barnes underwent a course of therapy before starting a master’s degree which he later put on hold to finish working on his latest album. He plans to resume his master’s degree, but his studies and new side job definitely influenced the album.

“My interest is in attachment theory, thinking about our early attachment relationships and how important they are to our happiness,” she explains, “and there are a lot of those ideas on the album, which are about understanding on ourselves and listen to us. . There are also many subtle nods to great people from different fields of therapy.”

His interest in mental health is common to many other people working in his genre and in the DJing world, Barnes explained.

“I’m not the only one; Ed [Simons]from The Chemical Brothers, he is a qualified therapist and I know a number of people, especially from the electronic music world, who have done some form of therapy or counselling,” he says.

“It’s an interesting question about art: is art a way to push those feelings away, live with them, or make sense of them? Many artists are on the brink of life. Much of our work is solitary. because we spend so much time in studies in the dark, analyzing our work alone… or on the way”.

Discussing why there were so many mental health issues in the electronic music world in particular, Barnes described “the loneliness of the long-distance runner” as a key factor.

“Isolating yourself from people, staying up late, long periods of unsanitary conditions, meeting the demands that people expect, and the individual nature of the activity can be harmful,” says Barnes. There are people who cannot stand it. You feel euphoric when you’re in front of a crowd and then you go back to your normal life.”

And he continued: “It seems great to balanced people, and it should be because it’s an unreal world, but it’s a fantasy world. We know there’s an infinite drug casualty in the music business and people who can’t quit. high”.

Barnes referred to the acts of creation and performance, in which artists “put themselves out there,” allowing catharsis, or new problems to emerge.

“Most artists are very sensitive people and they like to feel like they can handle whatever comes their way, and often they can’t,” he says. “On a deeper level, are you wondering if people are drawn to music because they are depressed, or if the music itself is making you depressed? I know a lot of people who struggle with their mental health, and it can’t be a coincidence..”.

Referring to touring and the stress of life on the road, Barnes spoke of “what it takes on your body and mind.”

“I recently had to cancel four nights of a tour because of my health and the health of the people around you,” he revealed, “it’s nobody’s fault, it’s your expectations of what you’re going to do when you put a piece out. You’re under pressure, you have to explain your art, then travel everywhere and play four concerts in a row… it’s a privilege, but it’s very tiring.

“And suddenly you come home. If you are not in a good moment, it can be very difficult to deal.”

The first time Barnes received therapy, before becoming a therapist himself, he noticed a significant improvement in his happiness and understanding.

“The more we talk about the reality we’re going through, the better off we are,” he says, “that in our culture people resist it, and it’s very sad. I often meet people who are struggling and I say, ‘Go! to therapy! It’s ‘me time’. It doesn’t mean anything bad is happening to you, it’s just an opportunity to express things to someone who is very talented and very supportive.”

“Otherwise it interferes with life. Many people use their friends as therapists. Don’t we all? Don’t we all know people who are just overwhelmed by life? Therapy is interesting because it allows people to discover who they really are.”

Then, Barnes dispelled some myths about therapy, arguing that “the old adage about cutting a problem in half really works.”

“People think they’re going to go to therapy and in six weeks they’re going to be someone else,” she says, “it can be very difficult and sad, but I also think it’s great in the long run. courage to do it. No. It’s easy to open up and reveal yourself, so I understand people are reluctant.”

“It’s not for everyone, but what I would say is that there are many different types of therapy that you can pursue that may be right for you.”

For those in the music world, Barnes said therapy has helped him creatively, as well as helping him manage his mental health.

“There are also people who say they can’t go to therapy because they think it will destroy their artistic process… That’s complete rubbish! In my case, it made me more creative. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it would loosen things up and give you a chance to discover who you really are.

“If possible, try to treat success and failure as two sides of the same coin. Don’t be too bitter when things are going well and don’t be too upset when they’re not great. between the reality of real life and unreality the acting world, where everyone tells you you’re brilliant.”

Artists aside, Barnes encouraged anyone feeling down to talk to someone. For those struggling and considering seeking help, Barnes suggested that “the first step is to invest in yourself and find someone to talk to.”

“There are free places to call and lots of ways to get help,” he says. “In the north, in particular, there are more and more groups of men who come together to talk about the problems they have. People are starting to express themselves and that can only improve health. There are working class people like me who talk about terrible things that have happened to them and share them, and keep them alive”.

And he added: “He is no longer an unknown, and now it is better understood that he does well. He can really do wonders. Give him a chance, don’t throw him away.”

Mental health help and advice:

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I am Dan/ Anime/ K-pop/ ARMY/ Stay

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