SoundJam’s Jo Youle caught up with the club and music legend that is Brandon Block to check out what has been happening. SoundJam user Brandon gives some real insight into the many mental health issues that are facing people especially in these somewhat difficult times…
Check out the full video below or keep on scrolling to read the interview in text…
So for instance, we can’t live as apes, because we don’t have fur. So we need warmth. We can’t…
It looks like you are doing a pretty good job!
So we are here with Mr Brandon Block. Good afternoon.
Good afternoon to you and lovely to be here.
How are you, sir?
Very good. Cannot complain. Thank you very much would be rude to complain. So yeah, I’m all good. Lots of great things happening since we spoke two years ago. Yeah, you know, lots improved in numerous ways, but you know, I think this situation we’re in now has been a real eye opener.
It’s helped me see my path again and realise my values. I think which is nice. Obviously, I, my heart goes out to people who have lost loved ones and people have lost their lives this horrible disease. But, you know, the other the other side. I mean, but I mean, the other side of that is that we’ve all had to adapt in ways that we never expected we would. And hats off to everyone who’s you know, stayed safe, done the right thing done follow the rules.
Even if you haven’t, you know, I mean, you’ve dealt with it your own way. So I think it was this situation was an accident might to happen as such, I think beforehand, you know, what we’re talking about when we last spoke was all the stuff that around mental health, and this now will cause After Effects and ripples with mental health in everyone’s life.
Okay, I mean, considering your line of work currently with Happy Days and the mental health kind of outreach work that you do and which will clearly not doing probably quite as much of it.
From obviously career changing from your previous life, I guess as a DJ, a superstar DJ all over the world and particularly obviously the beef though, which is where we met. I mean, it kind of feels like a good time, a moment in time where, you know, you can be of service more than ever before, and I’m guessing you’re kind of getting a better feeling from do what you do now, in some ways than where you were previously.
This is what I mean, this is what I was, you know, I, although I was on that journey before, I’ve liked that personal development journey. I still, if I if I delve deep into here, I still probably fundamentally believe that the work I do I should be giving away you know, so I always struggled with that sort of creating a program of coaching and then charging people for it because you know, I didn’t do that self however, tons of change.
We need to use our money but my, my passion led me now to where I am right now and very fortunately been offered a job which I didn’t expect to be not only not offered but is a shocker I got the job and you know, what was I she wasn’t and I often do this because it you’re right, the DJ and it’s been my love of my life and it always will be my music as you know, saved me so many times for emotional, you know, torment and trauma and all that stuff.
So but moving forward, you know, in lockdown, I’ve been doing these things on Facebook every day, which I called the tune up, which meant that I just woke up one morning I thought, you know, what would make in this, you know, they’re locked down and it was like two or three days after being into lockdown. I thought, this is going to be tough if you don’t do anything and I’m not. So I just thought I’d play some records on Facebook and share my you know, share a Facebook Live, and, you know, loads and loads of people joined it, and we got requests and then I invited guests on And by now then either then I had a program for each day of the week, and I had certain guests who came on every week.
And I’ve contacted old friends, DJ friends who own sponsor for, you know, a long time who had many memories with back in the day. And now we sort of talk each week which has been, you know, wonderful and playing the records for people and you know, we have a little community and watch what I watched build was, you know, a lovely thing, people’s comments and they were all talking to each other and it was like a ‘How are you today? Nice to see you’ blah, blah. I was like, uh, you know, no, do lockdown. Very, very well done because before locked down and COVID we were using social media for all the wrong things.
We were living in worlds of comparisons, expectations, not living our true lives. I look at other people’s lives and I mentioned to you this to Joe two years ago, not changed, and probably got worse. So we you know, constantly, you know, getting the notifications and I was getting overwhelmed with it, I was getting taken out well overwhelming, I just felt God’s put his down. Now I was intentionally looking at, you know, just holding the phone for that long, or even a computer but you know, mostly the mobile phone, and you take out your hand for, it’s a strange thing to do. Put your phone down.
I think really what you’re talking about is this process of disconnect. And that’s what happens when we’re always on our technology, what you created during lockdown was connection. And that is what we’re all missing during lockdown that ability to, you know, tap into our own community.
And then that’s exactly the kind of work that you have been doing ever since. electronic path is more of a DJ on the kind of international stage and dive a little bit deeper into, you know, the situation that’s evolved throughout your personal life, which has been difficult and you navigate a bit with a set of tools that you’ve kind of picked up along the way, which I mean, hats off to you there you have done some amazing work and you’re still continuing to do that. So I’m very, very pleased with your new website, which actually noticed as well, which is looking fantastic.
Appreciate, thank you for the intro, done a fantastic job. And I’ve been a bit fussy actually, but you know, it can be, it’s worth actually coming up. Incredibly well done by SoundJam. Yeah,
website is a looking superb but I just had to drop that in there but I you know, it really demonstrates the kind of journey that you have kind of, you know, travelled upon and the way that you’ve infused what you do now, as you just sort of shown with your idea that for the tune up, it’s great, you know, getting that connection with all your old friends, people that you kind of want to, you know, catch up with and kind of really connect to, obviously, just increase your general happiness levels when we’re all in isolation.
I mean, have people reached out to you because they’re typically suffering in the aftermath of that.
To be honest, I mean, yes, I’ve had a few people reach out some people have delved into all behaviours, I won’t mention what they are It’s all confidential but you know people have, who may be on a different journey have dipped back into our behaviours because of the isolation and vulnerability and uncertainty.
I’ve not been overwhelmed by any means but you know, I’ve always put the message out there that people need to reach out but it’s difficult people don’t want to they find it hard to say that you know, even though we’re breaking the stigma with mental health and you know, men’s and women’s and you know, breaking you know, being able to say that or not feeling great. You’re allowed to say it now is not a big it’s not sorry, not because one word so it’s not.
It’s not taboo anymore. It’s out there. It’s, we have a mental health, every single one of us has a mental health, it’s how healthy is it? And if we’re mindful of how healthy I’m in that, you know, I heard someone say I heard it many, many times. You know, we if we, if we put weight on if we if we’re not feeling physically well will go to the doctors and say, can I have some wherever or go to the echo Gestalt riding my bike or going to some exercise, or I’ll do, you know, we know how to take care of his body.
But without our brain working well, that’s not going to work, edit that runs everything our brain runs is our powerhouse our engine controls every part of our body. So if that’s not working well, it’s going to be difficult to manage the other stuff. So we have to be mindful of our mental health. And that’s it.
But it’s, you know, it’s been a time where we’ve all used our sort of, you know, emotional crutches to obviously escape this kind of feeling of loneliness and disconnection and, and boredom. I think a lot of people just been bored. And that’s kind of an interesting thing, because I think you know, that initial mental process that you just described is one of need and desire and basically patch work to cover up and you know, if anyone has dug deep into that hole, it’s you.
You know, you’ve been there. God knows how you managed to get out of that big dark mess but it’s a miracle. But you’re still standing here before us. And, you know, great that you are now doing the work that you do so if anyone you know, had some tips and tricks to sort of at least start that journey, who, you know, maybe people have been drinking a bottle of wine a day extra than they were, when all of this started about how do you get this addiction under control?
Well, you know, I think there’s Look, there’s always going to be the language of love language for us as well. You know, addiction is a word that describes actually describes the human condition. If you think about that, right, what you just said, going back to the needs, right, we are humans, we have certain needs anyway, we require so for instance, we can’t live as apes because we don’t have fun. So we need more. We can’t…
Good job. sort of focusing on what you Do you have what you don’t have so you wake up in the morning and go god you know you open it to granny like price you know Jojo next doors got a brand new Ferrari turns out the rose got a, you know, a nice Winnebago, you know, they’re all material external but if you focusing on what you do have in your life currently your family your friends will help you, you know, car outside the door maybe it’s not Ferrari, or Lamborghini whatever.
But you know, ultimately you bring all abundance, you know, internally and the external is exactly that and focusing on what we do have is exactly that gratitude for what is and I think that that is always for me step one. When things get out of whack. It’s like, you know, as you said, it is external stimulation that causes this, you know, desire, a need to look outside for that cover up that addictive tendency that keeps us going back into the same patterns of behaviour.
Think about is right. We are human beings and we are addicted by nature. And that’s not the oldest. It’s not a disease. We are all adults. In some way, right? We are creatures of habit, we create routines because we like doing them, right. So they’re going to give us something when we do as a routine will give us something to feel good about, right?
There’s no point in doing it if we don’t, the thing is, I will take you to the other side with substances, and substances are dangerous because they can make you ill, right. There’s lots of bad behaviours and routines begin to which don’t make you ill, which we do continually. And sometimes we obsess about them, if they make us, we have underlying trauma. And I’m not saying we you can open it up and deal with it because the people could let go if you could let go of it and just say that that was accepting that that wasn’t necessarily your fault in any way. I mean, it’s easy done. But you have the capacity to do that. And that that underlying trauma will come up and bite your nails because it’s, this is quite right.
So this is the biological side of that answer. Our body, so we have a chemical, an emotional reaction to something right. We’d have a chemical release, right? And if it’s a good emotional reaction will have a release of dopamine and you know in serotonin and endorphins and oxytocin, which will make you feel good in their own ways.
If it’s a negative reaction, we’ll get the release of cortisone, cortisone which we all turn, which is our stressor, which, which is makes us fearful, which is going to protect us and get a sense of survival. Come in Avon calling, and then it’s going to get into survival mode, which if we don’t get rid of the cause, by fighting or running or flight in or freezing will, will make seal because it’s not meant to be in our bodies for longer and we what are we often function with now is lots of cortisol because of the world we live in.
All the media we watch and all the stuff that stresses out, it stresses us out, you know, if we’re looking at Instagram, so first in the morning, so you know, I haven’t got that. Or then I look and you’re not living your own life and feeling bad about yourself. So we have to live in the moment, which is great. If you can do that. It takes practice all the time. I’ve taken practice job because it just takes us out of our routines.
And if we can get back above or if we can break all our routines and also all of them, some of them are really great and you know the timings and you know the stuff you the time you put on certain tasks you do for the day that works for you, that’s great. But the old routines and thinking badly about ourselves, judging ourselves comparing ourselves and living on that other expectations of targets and unachievable results.
That’s what the world is setting as goals we can’t achieve because it moves so fast and we’re expected to be like it’s how you look at success. What do you I mean, I was always thinking, Oh, I need to be wise either. So those flats while I do think you know, and it’s all about money, and I was thinking, you know what, I’m happy now what does it matter if I have enough, why early enough, you know, my, my girlfriend is beautiful, gorgeous. And when we went back in love, and I wouldn’t have met her if my life had been anything If I don’t if I in different paths are meant to be, you know, there’s lots of stuff I mean, I just think we have to be mindful. We’ve gotten home for ourselves, that’s the key.
That is because without our cell being healthy and mentally stable, physically, okay, or whatever, something to manage, whatever, is it within our power to, to, to change or to do, we have to do that, because we, you know, it’s not going to get easier unfortunately, it’s going to get infinitely tougher. I think for many, many people in the next years to come because of the drag changes have taken place in the world. It’s a mental
You know, on a on a bad day when you wake up, and yeah, you can’t see the wood for the trees. All you can see is this big pile of uncertainty. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You can’t make any plan. You can’t put any trip to come you know, you just can’t do the things you want to do.
You can’t see your friends. You can’t see your family. You can’t hug your parents like you know, the world has been very challenging for a wee while now. But you know, once you get out of the way, and as you said, like look at all the things that are possible and, and form some sort of positive routine, which is what um, you know, you use that word quite a lot in the last in the last paragraphs and I think that you know, having a go to system to claw your way back to where you were previously I remember you telling me when we last met that you know, morning times are not your you don’t always wake up in a good mood. I mean, who it sometimes it takes a little resets button to kind of get back to where you want to be.
And maybe that’s a cup of coffee, though that’s yoga, maybe that’s meditation, maybe that was a pop to the gym, whatever it takes. You just got to take a pause and a step back and instead of being sucked into Oh, my God, the world is a disaster right now you’ve got to just wait and you know, give yourself a moment to re-evaluate the situation and I think it’s just so easy to want that instant gratification, that instant dopamine hit that you’ve just described on Instagram or whatever It’s just time to take a little pause before we act. And I think that that’s probably clearly, you know, what you’ve managed to cultivate.
And, you know, that’s what impresses me most about you is the fact that you’ve gone from, you know, out there, with consumption of, you know, whatever it was that you were up to lots of naughty things. No doubt. I’m just kidding. But you know, it’s hard. It’s hard to change behaviours, it’s not easy to change habits. You know, we’ve all picked up some bad ones in the last sort of four or five months, and there’s a single personality and a sane and meditated every day and then they go and drink green juice. We’ve all been through a rocky patch, we’ve gone fuck it.
I’m just going to eat that chocolate bar, drink that bottle of red wine. And what’s important, whatever you know about me personally, just the general public out there that might be watching, but you know what it is, it’s just all those little habits that pop in from time to time that are very unwelcome, but it’s the noticing when they come back and getting that pause in place to basically have a little moment to say No.
But you know what, right? Well, you were saying about these little bad habits, there is a need for them. Right? And I’m going to explain to you why because what you said was that a dip into the old bad habits, let’s say the reason you dip into the bad habits right and this is because this is what I worked out this is for me my experience is that so going back to the cortisone release, right, right so you imagine this, I work this out if let’s just say for instance, right.
Our levels of interaction in the world right are mostly and I’m not saying Marie, I’m not saying all the time by not generalising, mostly slightly stressed, not saying massively but and you know, they say the mornings you wake up in a in some mood, whatever it may be. Chances are if you’ve gone to bed, thinking about anything you haven’t done from the day before, or you’ve got something stressful on telly or you know you’ve wherever you go to bed with if you don’t do it Something to switch off chances are you’ll wake up and you’ll go along don’t go do that and you’ll be like oh my immediate slight stressors right?
But we’re so used to that we’ve been used that for year’s right and more so with the technology and stuff now because of the information we’re fed a lot of nausea is all bad by any means. It’s just how it affects us but we will get and we need a certain amount of stress to get into the world right to get out of bed to do to make the bed to go make the coffee to do this stuff. You need a certain amount of adrenaline to get you going.
So our bodies or our mind, there’s a great neuroscientist, Dr. Joe Dispenza you need to watch him he’s fantastic anyway many times right so he was my go to because I you know, although I’ve been off the drugs for many, many years, I still wasn’t feeling emotionally fulfilled, who truly fulfil bond, you know, a more stable, so I saw this giant purchase letter I wish I was that I knew I knew the whole thing about I’m not even years in before I met you heard of him on way back because they weren’t around when I’d stopped doing drugs, but I couldn’t articulate Yeah, I couldn’t find a way to explain why I felt the way I did at certain times and what it was. Because I never believed in the addiction model, let’s say, because I think its language we use commands our feelings. So the judges benefit. Oh my god, I’m so glad I watched this.
This is exactly what I’m like. This is actually one of the reasons I did what I did. And for many years, I felt sort of, so now I knew I tend to work with and I could learn to deal with and I knew what’s happening. So what I’m saying is that often our because of our environment, our go to default, is slightly stressed. So to change that feeling from slightly stress, which is what we like to do because we’re human rights and be experimental.
We like to change the way we feel. Because we’re always feeling slightly stressed and not completely happy because happiness, we know comes from inside. But we have to often tell ourselves because the world to be happy with the time. So if we’re at that level of stress, the easiest route for us to get a change of that feeling will probably be a negative thought, or a negative feeling because it’s quick. It’s quick, and it’s, we’re used to it, because we’re used to those negative patterns of thinking. So we’ll go Oh, I know. I’ll think about your mind your body goes, Well, I need that fix of chemicals. Are we going to do it without your mind telling you your body’s already said, right? I’m going to feel this way.
Because I’m getting the chemical release on it and then you start feeling a certain way. Your mind is going to go Oh, that’s think about why we feel that and then you’ll be on that the whole world will go into that, that the anxious thinking process, and you’ll get your feeling you’re sick and the uncomfortable now I’m stressed. I’m stressed. That’s where I’m comfortable. And you bring down stress now. How many people have you asked many people? Do you feel stressed? Are you happy? Oh, do you know what? All right. It’s in it Happiness is in it, we know that happiness inside of you. So I’m happy, I’m happy, I’m happy I’m happy I’m happy you’ll end up feeling much better than you did before.
I think Feeling is a decision and you’re only one decision away from feeling good because in every given moment, you have a, you know, you have the opportunity to decide what your next video is going to be. And I just don’t think anyone, a lot of people that are, you know, really unable right now to switch on their happy juices. It’s just they just don’t know that, you know, everything that goes on upstairs is not real, you know, it’s just, it’s our mind.
And once we decide who the master of our sort of destiny have a feeling and sensation and, and living is, you know, obviously not the mad, crazy, you know, monkey mind, it’s us. It’s down to us to take responsibility to change the game essentially. And I think there’s a cheesy song actually, that this songwriter wrote, called too blessed to be stressed. And actually when I get really, really stressed, that generally tends to go round around in my head number you’re not really stressed, like you, you know. And you only just like one deep breath away from resetting your nervous system and changing the game. So it might be a cheesy song, but it works because we are all blessed. We’re all still here.
We’re not dead, we haven’t died. You know, and a lot of people are really suffering out there with, as you pointed out at the beginning of this interview, a lot of lost a lot of grief and a lot of sadness. And we’ve all got a lot to be grateful for and me in particular, because you give me another little chunk of your time today. So thank you for joining us here on your wonderful new website made by Thomas Watson. And it looks absolutely spectacular peace [inaudible] there.
I love it. I’ve always thought I needed one which I just haven’t got around to and Tom’s done a fantastic job is exactly what I want. It’s easy, it’s easy to navigate, you can just press a button and get where you want to go.
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