DJ Soc: Meet the Bristol Uni society finding mental health support through music

‘Music is one of those things that can bring a lot of people together’

Talking about your feelings can be awkward, embarrassing and frankly impossible for some. We’ve all had those moments where we really need to get something off our chest but just can’t. Chatting about your mental health shouldn’t be difficult, is what Max and Barney, the 20-year-old duo from Bristol Uni DJ Soc, want everyone to understand.

Using music to bring people together, The Bristol Tab has spoken to the pair about their charity fundraiser for Mind, and the value music has in breaking the ice and letting people have those all-important “are you okay” conversations.

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Cloakroom Cafe, Max, a third-year Business and Management student, and Barney, a third-year Economics student, spoke to me about how DJ Society and the shared experience of music have allowed them to open up and speak about mental health.

Max, who has recently lost a friend to suicide, explained how: “DJ Society brings together so many different interests and genres which can be divisive for some but, actually, you get value from people being open-minded and that friendliness. Music is one of those things than can bring a lot of people together.

“It’s a non-judgemental environment and it allows people to chill out, relax, listen to the music they enjoy and forget about any problems they have. It can make people more open to talking about things.”

Barney similarly spoke of the sense of comradeship music brings him, stating “the society is probably one of my strongest groups of friends in Bristol.

“The industry does have a reputation for unfriendliness but we’re really trying to break down the barriers. People are here to chat and make friends. We want to try and spread inclusivity and unity.”

For Max and Barney, it appears that music brings people together in a place they otherwise might not have been. Whilst some nights out can be a blur, I’m sure that everyone has at least one friend they met at a random club, on a random night out, that they now couldn’t live without.

It’s these spontaneous, unexpected connections the boys want to emphasise, “encouraging all genres and all types of people to get involved. It’s definitely a collaborative experience.”

Barney stresses that “music can just foster that little chat in a comfortable environment which is great. We really want people to be able to share stuff like that and feel supported.”

Testament to the healing power of music, Max spoke of his recent hardships that DJ Soc supported him through: “I had some quite sad news about my friend who passed, and just from being in the group of DJs that provided such good support. We met, had a mix, had a chat, and everyone was really kind.

“DJing is obviously a solo role, but the social chats you get with it we really try to emphasise. You can have a chat with your mate and then diffuse any tension by getting back on the decks. Our fellow committee member also had something similar happen recently which inspired us to pursue this charity event.”

The society is hosting a charity event at Basement45 this Friday (15th March) to raise money for Mind, a charity supporting those living with mental health problems. The Mind infoline is open 9am to 6pm, Mondays to Fridays, and all calls are treated in confidence.

Talking about the event, the pair seemed excited about the lineup: “We’ve got one of the owners of Invicta Audio opening for us. Our president hosted the Invicta Audio house party in Bristol and the owner and agreed to do a set for us for free.

“We’ve also got an Invicta Audio resident called Bennie. Students will be playing alongside these international DJs which is pretty cool. We obviously want as much money to be donated to Mind as possible. We’re aiming to sell over 150 tickets so if people could show support that would be amazing.”

If you’re interested in learning more about DJ Soc, you can access their Instagram here. You can buy tickets for the Mind fundraiser here.

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