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CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: Can drugs really fuel the creative process?

By | Published on Wednesday 17 May 2017

CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: Can drugs really fuel the creative process?

In the run up to this year’s CMU Insights @ The Great Escape conference, we are going through the top ten questions we will be answering during this year’s programme. Today: Can drugs really fuel the creative process?

We all know of great songs that were written or recordings that were made supposedly under the influence of one illegal substance or another. It was the drugs that enabled the kind of vision and creativity that resulted in our favourite music, it is sometimes said. But is that true? Or is it myth? And do such myths risk encouraging musicians to adopt lifestyles that could cause them harm?

The second half of our Drugs Conference at The Great Escape this year will look at drug taking within the music community. And it will begin by considering the role of drugs – or not – in the music making process.

Joining that conversation will be a diverse mix of music makers, each with their own perspective: singer-songwriter and former Babyshambles member Adam Ficek; DJ and producer Andrew Ferguson, aka Nomine; singer-songwriter Chris T-T; and producer and Skint Records founder Damian Harris, aka Midfield General. Jen Long with lead the discussion.

While the conclusion of that conversation may well be that certain drugs can fuel creativity, we all know that high levels of consumption can cause damage. The latter sessions of the Drugs Conference will look at addiction, continuing last year’s CMU@TGE discussions with regards to how the music industry can better look after the health of its people.

We will watch and discuss a new documentary made by Noisey in which grime MC Jammer investigates the effect that habitual skunk use has had on the mental health of himself and other artists within the scene. Then we’ll talk to musician/writer Simon Mason about his book ‘Too High Too Far Too Soon’ and his projects supporting those struggling with addiction, and to musician Jon Stewart – also now an academic at BIMM – who has been studying the pros and cons of the different treatments available.

Finally, we’ll look at projects and initiatives being run by the likes of Help Musicians UK and the Music Managers Forum that are seeking to put in place support structures to better protect the mental health of artists and everyone working in the music industry.

It should make for a fascinating afternoon of conversations and debates, while hopefully spotlighting great initiatives already underway, and identifying what still needs to be done to ensure the health and well-being of the wider music community.