Getahead Records launches with ‘Mind State Vol. 1’ and 24 Hour Mental Health Festival
Mind State Vol. 1 is the first in a series of compilations released on Getahead Records, the label from mental health charity and festival Getahead. Championed by Ben Verse formerly a member of Pendulum, the album is raising awareness for the Getahead festival which launches on June 13th to help those dealing with stress, are overwhelmed or have existing mental health issues get more balance and achieve their goals. It will be the first ever 24-hour festival on Mental Health, Well Being & Music to raise awareness for mental issues and struggles in daily life and the music industry. The program includes top-tier artists, inspiring keynote speakers, engaging panels and relaxing activities from yoga and massages to live comedy.
The album consists of 18 unreleased tracks with songs from DnB heavyweights and newcomers all shining a light on mental health in the industry. Verse turns in an ice cold cut with Calyx & Teebee that sees his calm, meditated vocal “rip through the rulebook like a rotor blade”. Chase & Status bring the noise and serious vibe with their tune ‘All Crew’, which has a dark edge and a menacing bass. Ben Verse has managed to bring together tracks from across the entire spectrum of drum and bass, up and comer Benny L turns in a broody belter in ‘Moments’, whilst genre stalwart dBridge links up with Skeptical for breaksy killer ‘That’s Nice’. Later on in the album, Artificial Intelligence has brilliantly sampled ‘SeeSaw’ by Jamie xx for ‘Say Now’, taking the floating pads and crafting an emotive piece of dnb around it. Another highlight is Need For Mirrors’ atmospheric ‘Chapel’ which seeks to move with its minimalist structure. Data Transmission is a huge fan of the album and would highly recommend listening from start to finish!
We talked to Ben about the album and his involvement in the festival and charity…
How did this project come about?
This is kind of my story, I stopped doing shows with Pendulum and realised to go back into drum and bass full time as an MC, having been away with Pendulum for the last twelve years, there is going to be an interim period where there will be eight or nine months where people have got to realise that I’m back on the scene. It’s almost like starting a new job. So previous to Pendulum I’d worked for ten years as an MC in drum and bass, working with all sorts of different people. So basically I had this period of time where I was finding something to do, I had my record label and my studio and that’s cool but I wanted to do something for somebody else, I wanted to do something for charity really. Just for vibes more than anything else, because I’ve been away pretty much every weekend for 22 years on the trot. It was really sad someone very close to me, I watched him go through mental health issues and then eventually he got sectioned a few months ago, and it was really sad to see that happen to him. So that was in the front of my mind.
So I was speaking to my old manager Joe Oakley, who used to manage Pendulum and Chase & Status, Netsky, Zane Lowe all these kinds of people, I was chatting to him and I said: “I really want to do something for charity, I really want to do something about this problem“. He then told me to speak to AEI, because Del his old friend and Risky runs Drum & Bass Arena, and they’ve got this amazing company called AEI. Basically they own UKF and all these amazing channels, and he was like why don’t you speak to them because they seem like the people who might be into that kind of thing. So I had an interview with these guys and they sent me around the office speaking to different people, and I got wind that they were doing this festival called Getahead which is being partnered by Techdept. Which is all to do with avoiding the pitfalls of being in a stressful environment, underground music can be bloody stressful. So they were already doing this event, so I approached them saying you’ve got to do an album! I said look trust me if we can get enough tracks together, everyone’s got a little secret treasure they’re sitting on that needs to be released which never really had a chance to fit on this album or that album. I was like let me ring round some people, let me see if I can get an album together, bearing in mind this was only four weeks ago! Let’s see if we can get more awareness for this festival by creating a compilation, that then can make a whole load of money for the same charities you’re supporting in the festival. So, Help Musicians UK and Music Minds Matter. Getahead is this charitable brand that AEI set up, with a twenty-five-year plan but they want to do this festival globally and create a brand that creates awareness for mental health. It’s more like avoiding the pitfalls and trying to catch it before you end up doing drugs and drinking alcohol. Because those are just things that are helping you to forget reality essentially. It’s all about mindfulness. I was like I’ve got four weeks if I can do it I can do it, they were like Ben if you can get ten tunes that would be a really good result for us we could put them out. So I was like fucking come on, I just got on the phone and went to people’s studios and basically rallied. One of the first people I approached was The Prodigy and it’s because I’ve been in Pendulum, one thing I do know is everybody, I’ve been on the road so many years. I’ve never really had any beef either, I just go around smiley Verse you know what I mean and crack on. Everybody was like Ben, one hundred percent, I’ve got something for you! A lot of people were like it’s just fallen really badly in my album cycle, will definitely help with the next one. The list was about forty people that all said yes initially and then it’s whittled down. Now I’ve managed to secure 18 tunes, not only from the dons like The Prodigy and Chase & Status and Sub Focus, but if you look down the list I’ve chosen some really cool up and coming guys. To have them involved with those big guys was everyone chipping together, no egos, creating a vibe and creating a state of unity which the public can buy into and download and support. If you’re worried about mental health and want to do something about it, then download this album of eighteen killer tunes that no one has ever heard before.
So how did your track ‘Caution’ with Calyx & Teebee come about?
So twelve years ago I did a collaboration with Calyx & Teebee, back in the day.
‘Dual Process’ right?!
Yeah, you remember that one! I did a tune with Noisia called ‘Choke’ around the same era and that was all pre Pendulum. So I thought what a great way of rallying people together and I hit them up and they were on tour in America. They were like “Ben, man are you serious you need this turned round in a week?!” I was like come on guys, I think I pissed them off a bit and eventually, Calyx was like “mate you’re not going to believe this!” and he said, “we’ve got a tune that fits the vocal perfectly.” Basically, I sent them an acapella and they just happened to have a tune that was sitting there in exactly the same key, it fitted like a glove and I was like it’s meant to be.
Hopefully, not just drum and bass but other people are going to come together. I think stuff like this is good for drum and bass, and you wouldn’t believe how generous people are with their time. I think people in drum and bass are sometimes considered as not collaborating very much and being quite in their own pockets and all this sort of thing, and I think this proves that it’s not like that at all. I think everyone is really willing to help, it just takes a bit of a spark to then cause a fire.
What do you think of the state of mental health within the music industry?
I think it’s something that everybody knows, I bet you’ve got a friend who got lost, we’ve all got a friend who went a bit far and we lost contact with them or they ended up in hospital or something. I know loads of people, because it is late nights, it is drugs, it is all these things, I think it’s so prevalent any light that can be shone on it the better! It’s more just making it something that’s normal, like an injury or an illness, it’s okay. I think the first thing people realise with mental health is you just need to talk to someone about it, you need to talk about your problems and it needs to become something that’s not a stigma – it’s not like your weak.
So this album 50% of the proceeds are going towards this 24 hour helpline, which is a number you can call, directed at musicians, and it’s a number you can call just to chat with someone. If you don’t have any mates you can approach with your problem, then we’re trying to promote this helpline to the limelight. It’s never going to go away and it’s something that is in every workspace and every walk of life. I feel like if we talk about it and we bring more attention to the problem, especially with people like The Prodigy and Chase & Status, people like that talking about it. You had this whole thing with Avicii as well, it’s very prevalent. If you do become busy, I’ve seen it, life on the road it can be pretty dark. People think this rockstar lifestyle you must be so happy and so on, but actually, there is a much darker side to that.
The other charity we are supporting is Getahead, the festival brand that we set up. It’s a not-for-profit organisation that’s hoping to grow and grow and grow. So my plan with the next compilation is to do one in potentially grime or techno or EDM, moving forward I’m going to switch genres and then we’ll be back to drum and bass as I’ve used all my favours up for a couple of years! Getahead has been set up by AEI to focus on all things to prevent mental illness and to promote mental health and mental strength.
Is there a long-term series goal with the compilations?
Yeah, there is. We’ve set a label up called Getahead Records where they will all be released through and I’m just going to see how it goes basically. What we have realised is if I can prove we can do this, I can get these artists and we can make x amount of money, if I take those figures to some leading people in other genres then I’m sure it’s going to be something that they jump at. I’ve already had offers from different people all willing to help. So I’m looking not to stop at drum and bass but use that as the platform to build off.
Mental health is something that affects us all and this project is really helping to shine a light and support charities making an active difference in people’s lives. Too often those in the music industry are negatively affected by it, by coming together we can help to effect positive change.
Here’s what others have to say about the project:
The Prodigy: We’re very proud to be involved in this project to help raise awareness of mental health & well being, respect to the initiative Getahead for making changes out there.
Chase and Status: Proud to be part of this amazing MIND STATE compilation. Great to see such a worthy cause getting the recognition it deserves.
Artificial Intelligence: Mental health amongst musicians and producers, especially those under extra pressure associated with touring, delivery and social media presence has often been something that has been glossed over with assumptions of a glamorous lifestyle. We feel that it’s really important to educate and raise awareness around the topic.
Battery: The reality of risks to mental health in the music industry is something everyone should be talking about. We all love music but don’t always appreciate the price artists often pay to create it.
North Base: When we heard Verse was compelling a compilation to support mental health issues we had to be involved. This is an issue we are all very passionate about and something which isn’t discussed or highlighted enough. We have all had friends who have or are currently experiencing or have experienced difficulties with their mental health and sometimes we’ve only known about it after due, to the stigma attached to mental health, especially amongst young men. Anything we can do to support this cause has our full backing and we hope one day means mental health is as understood and accepted as any physical illness.
Benny L: Always willing to help out to spread awareness for a cause, especially when it’s a topic so close to me. I myself have suffered from trauma in the past and things can knock on and effect you in many ways after, so to help out and support MIND STATE and Getahead is so very important to me.
Icicle: Mental health in the solitary work conditions in the studio and the intense pressure that comes with touring is not a given. It’s great that people are trying to take steps and support those people that need it, I’m happy to do my part however small and I hope everyone else does too!.
Mind State Vol.1 is out today via Getahead Records, please support the great work Getahead is doing and enjoy some brilliant drum and bass whilst you do it. Buy it here
Getahead Festival takes place on the 13th of June at Omeara in London, for tickets, lineup and more info head here
TRACKLIST ‘MIND STATE Vol. 1’
Chase and Status- ‘All Crew’
The Prodigy ( Kill Box RMX ) – ‘Invaders Must Die’
Sub Focus – ‘Circadian’
Spor Feat. Linguistics – ‘Pull the sun down’
Benny L – ‘Moments’
D Bridge & Skeptical- ’That’s nice’
Artificial Intelligence – ‘Say now’
The Up Beats – ‘Externumator’
Need For Mirrors – ‘Chapel’
North Base – ‘Over You’
Proxima – ‘Trek’
Document one – ‘Never let go’
Groves – ‘Fragments’
The Vanguard Project – ‘Too Late’
Battery – ‘Looking Good’
Koiya – ‘Bison’ (Halogenix Lordel Remix)