Apr 30

“Let The Music Free Your Mind”



Society has elevated contemporary musicians, defining them as a necessary and elite class of performers. When a person thinks of international superstar DJs, their mind may wander to: private jets, soccer stadiums filled with excited fans, clubs in Vegas, the glitz, and the glamour. They don’t think of the artist as a regular person anymore. How can they be “normal” if they are responsible for so many wonderful songs that have created so many great personal memories? “What kind of problems can they have? Not enough champagne?” Here’s a little secret. Despite finding a creative outlet and choosing to dedicate their lives to making music, not all DJs started off as socially and mentally collected as they are packaged to be presently. What changed for them? What did they bring into their respective lives in order to overcome whatever issues that might have been inhibiting them from ingratiating themselves fully with their peers? The answer is the cohesive instrumental theme that unites the entire scene, itself, music. They brought music into their lives. Are there any other potential therapeutic avenues that involve music? The documentary “Before They Were Kings” attempts to address these very questions, through a series of DJ interviews and various other approaches. I spoke with Brandon Ross, the producing partner, of Ross Moving Pictures about the potential impact the information contained in this film could have on the entire EDM landscape and the community as a whole.


When did the inspiration for this film strike? Do you remember the exact moment?

I don’t remember the exact moment, but I do remember it was after reading an article in Forbes Magazine, where the writer said DJs are the new Rock-stars.


Is your team cooperating with any institutions or centers that focus on musical therapy?

The production is working with New York Film Academy as well as The American Music Therapy Association.


Are there any stigmas that you hope to eradicate with this project?

No stigmas necessarily, but we do want people to start looking harder at the positive effects music has on the brain.


Is the true power of music, in respect to this project, able to be quantified? How so?

Yes, there are tons of studies that have been conducted by both music therapists and neurologists which prove music stimulates the brain. Stroke victims who have been treated by a music therapist are able to sing songs although they can’t speak a single word.


A dichotomy exists between the power of music in regards to performing and listening. Your thoughts?

This is understandable. Listening to music may have a more emotional impact on someone, where as performing music allows you to use your motor-skills when connected to a rhythm. Music still has power in both arenas (listening or playing music), but it is just different.


What schools of thought do you think (perhaps speculating) will be revolutionized by this film?

If we do this film right, many people will try alternative methods for treating certain conditions such as depression or anxiety rather than popping a pill first. If the stars align, it will make a impact on the prescription drug industry.


Do you think music can be integral in stimulating growth and change? On what levels specifically and what role do you think it (music) plays?

Yes, over the years, music has brought communities and cultures together. Music mogul Russell Simmons continues to talk about how Hip-Hop was able to bridge a gap between races. I too believe in this and think that EDM is currently doing the same thing Hip Hop did in the 80’s and 90’s.


Taking this project as a whole, how can you see the landscape of the electronic community being changed because of it?

I think that EDM is getting a bad name and it has nothing to do with the music. Many people who feel uncomfortable in social settings feel they have to drink or do drugs to have a good time. These same people unfortunately go to far and use violence as an outlet or hurt themselves. This film will show that electronic music is bringing people together through its positive lyrics and allow people to face certain issues they’re dealing with while surrounded by a group of their peers. We also want to explore the potential impact that DJs, assuming the role of “musical therapist” for the massive crowds in attendance, will have on the scene and, by extension, society.


What was the selection process like for contributing artists/Djs?

The DJ selection process was pretty intense. We decided we wanted to interview DJs that were more than just big brands. We only wanted DJs who had unique stories to tell. It took hours and hours of reading bios, watching past interviews, etc.


Are there any organizations that you would like to work with in the future?

We’re thinking about working with the Institute for Music and Neurological function. They are a NY-based organization that studies the effects music has on the brain. We also have a partnership with a non-profit in Ibiza named after the famed song (Last Night A DJ Saved My Life) by Indeep.


Modern medicine has been around for a very small portion of human history and the documented use of music, for therapeutic reasons, is just beginning. Trying to gauge the potential impact of this project is pretty tricky. Ultimately, there might not be a definite limit to the therapeutic applications of music. What we can do is approach this subject with an open mind and open ears. Be prepared to ask questions. Be ready to look inside yourself. Prepare yourself for the possibility that ground is being broken on what may be one of the most insightful approaches to modern therapy and social realignment.