James Blake on the impact of touring on musicians’ mental health

"There are a lot of musicians just starting out now who might not be aware of the pitfalls of touring".

James Blake has discussed how touring can often have a negative impact on the mental health of musicians.

Ahead of the release of his new album ‘Assume Form’, which drops tomorrow, Blake discussed his career so far in a wide-ranging chat with Dazed.

Describing his move to Los Angeles after the release of 2016’s ‘The Colour in Anything’, Blake says it triggered a “classic combination of depression and anxiety”.

As he subsequently opened up on his mental health battles, the Mercury Prize-winning producer admitted that it’s often harboured by long periods of time on the road.

“There are a lot of musicians just starting out now who might not be aware of the pitfalls of touring, and the pitfalls of a musician’s life. Mental health on the road is something which has generally been left until this generation to really deal with”, he explained.

James Blake
James Blake

“I think we’ve seen the effects of the artist’s life laid out for us in previous generations, and I think we’re just starting to go, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t use these methods to cope with it, maybe I should talk to somebody.’”

But while Blake believes that the stigma on mental health is lessening, he think that musicians have never been under more pressure.

“Coming up at a time when the internet destroyed any chance of selling lots and lots of records meant there was a lot of pressure to tour, and you couldn’t really stop without taking a huge financial hit,” Blake said.

“I know a lot of bands that just stayed on the road really. I don’t think it helped anyone, apart from financially – and I think that one of the things you learn after a bunch of touring is that the money is no good if you come back home and you’ve got no one to spend it on.”

Earlier this week, Blake finally confirmed that ‘Assume Form’ is released tomorrow, which features collaborations with the likes of Andre 3000 and Travis Scott.

He’ll also return for a UK tour in April, with dates scheduled in Manchester, Bristol and London.

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