Got the Post-Release Blues? Here are Seven Easy Ways to Re-Inspire Yourself

You’ve just played an amazing show!
You’ve just released a record!
You’ve just come back from a worldwide tour!
And now you’re at home.
And you feel depressed.
Nothing’s “wrong” per se, but you feel well, meh.

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It’s a well-documented phenomena among the musicians and creatives I know and love. The postpartum blues, after any significant artistic release. So here’s a list of things to do when you’re in that space and need help recalibrating.

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1. Relax! As artists, musicians, freelancers, we’re so busy hustling that it can feel uncomfortable when something is finally complete! Do some self-care! Rest! Pick up a book, get a massage, do something or anything that is unrelated to your usual medium and allow yourself to sink in.

2. Write a list of gratitudes, noting any recent artistic accomplishments, and read it out loud to yourself or to a friend. Take the time to literally see in front of you the amazing things you’ve already done!

3. Treat yourself to something you wouldn’t normally do or that feels fancy to you. Get that shiny new vinyl you’ve been wanting. Dress up in your favorite outfit and go for a stroll around the town.

4. Go on an adventure. The artists I know are inquisitive, with all kinds of thoughts and ideas floating around their ever-churning minds. If you’re feeling restless, why not plan an adventure? It can be big or small. Visit that strange building you’ve noticed on your way to work and really look at it. Go to that awesome aquatic store and watch the fish for awhile. Take that dance class you’ve been putting off because you’ve been too busy with your projects.

5. Reground by being in nature. Being an artist in any capacity is hard work, so why not take a walk in the park and listen to the birds chirping? Take your morning tea outside and feel the sun on your face.

6. Reconnect by seeing friends and family. Being an artist often necessitates being away from other people to focus on the craft and all of the things that come along with it. Now that it’s done, why not give your favorite auntie a call, or have that nightcap with your friend you’ve been passing like a ship in the night. People miss you when you have your nose to the grindstone, and they’ll want to celebrate what you’ve done too!

7. Do something creative that is not for any monetary or career gain. Learn a cover of that song you really love. Write in your journal. Make a silly video with a friend.

While this is not a comprehensive list, it is a good start to get you feeling re-energized again. Remember, you are the dreamer and this is your dream. Don’t let the post release doldrums get you down, babe!











X: DIA LUNA featured on HILOWBROW

 
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“To live your own history is to wake up from someone else’s dream. In Camellia, a testament of her lucid trances, the artist who knows herself as Dia Luna walks the primordial deserts and lush farms and concrete crypts of America as one simultaneous plane, threading together its collective soul behind every stone and stalk, around every corner. “This tree winds roots around my backbone/thank heaven for the stories I’ve grown”; her bloodstream travels through the fertile fields and she will harvest her future self: “vision pulls you to the seams of the landscape/closer and closer to sowing your escape”; growth is transport, across seasons or centuries. The path can take what course it will, and peoples can go underground, “crawl in the tunnels of my infinite mind,” but the deluge comes and bears us up, “birthed from the watery beds/of your own mother’s flesh.” Lies will stamp the ground of myth (“I’m a cowboy now”) but the green chaotic earth has soil on its side. Cross-border transmissions of false faith drift into the mix, found sounds of some radio evangelist’s ghost going lost again as a private hymn rises from laborers to their loved ones, those who stitched the land with seedlings and sutured it with rails, destiny sowed as amber fields and reaped as steel, binding us and bearing us away. Ancestors possess ethereal machines and Dia Luna’s unadorned voice hovers in a mist above Tomas Deltoro-diaz’ transcendent technology and tide of tones and rhythms streamed in from many lineages and landscapes. Every voice she has is heard, and you feel your own soul echo.

I went to the oracle for brief answers and the right next questions, in her earth name, Andrea Diaz…”

-Adam McGovern

For the full interview, visit HILOBROW here.

IX: Baby's First Tour: A Lady's Guide to Packing for the Road

Three years ago, I was summoned by my bandmate and partner in crime, to go on a tour around the East Coast with our band, Superhuman Happiness. It was my first time ever touring and I quickly realized even though I had traveled in the past, mostly for fun, this was going to be a completely different animal. I also had slightly different ideas of how to be comfortable on the road, where I was sardined into a Subaru full of gear (and my bros) . Luckily for me, I learned some things along the way that are sure to make any fresh faced gal’s touring experience a breeze! Here are my little tips of the trade for any budding music sisters going to tour for the first time.

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A carry on suitcase. Pack light. I’m strong enough, and I’m sure you are too, but it pays to keep your stuff on the minimal side. For two weeks, or more I lived out of a carry-on sized suitcase. It’s going to get tossed around a lot and squished between gear, so the junkier the better. This lil’ guy is from Amazon.

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A backpack or messenger bag. It is super helpful to have an extra set of hands. We are a small band with a lot of gear, so despite having no gear (as the vocalist), I was constantly helping my band members load in and out. The bag should be big enough to fit a laptop or things you would maybe want to swap out. I like something simple, like this one from Target.

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A light colored wallet that you can zip. Being on tour is all about using items that are multipurpose. I love having a larger wallet that zips because if I leave my larger bag backstage, I can still carry the wallet with my phone, cash, and ID in it without fear of something happening to it. I’ve had my purse stolen in bars before, so I’m a stickler for this, especially on the road, where you may not be familiar with the scene.

  • Pro tip-Get wallets that are light colored, metallic or holographic because they’re easy to spot on the floor in dark spaces if you happen to drop it or misplace it. They’re also good if you’re just popping out to a rest stop right quick and don’t want to haul a big purse or bag. Here’s the one I like.

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Big Headphones. Tired of listening to the van podcast? Snoring bandmate in the hotel room? Put your headphones on and get some sleep! Don’t remember that one line you’re supposed to play? Put your headphones on and listen to that shit! You’ve got a show to play! Now, because it is tour, and things often get lost, I recommend bringing a cheap pair of headphones that won’t completely ruin your day if you lose them. These JVC’s are around $20.

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All of the phone chargers in the world. But seriously though, you should have two. A phone charger that lives in the car, and a regular one that you can plug inside. There will be a lot of dead time you’ll be filling in between gigs and you will NOT want to have a dead phone. Also super important when you need to set alarms for call times, or when your bandmates disappear into the night with some new friends. A portable phone brick is also a good idea if you want to be super prepared.

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Sunglasses. It may seem obvious, but when you’re hungover, sleep deprived, and you have to drive four hours directly into the sun, you’ll thank yourself. Plus, the right ones will remind you that you’re living your childhood dreams of being a touring musician, and honestly, it’s the little things that will make a big difference in your personal morale. These cuties are from Etsy.

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Hoodie. A big one. Good for layering in rainy weather. Good for keeping warm. Good for sleeping in the van. Why not grab one that has a brilliant message on it, like this beauty from TeePublic?

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Large scarf. Venues are freezing. Rehearsal spaces are freezing. Guest rooms are usually cold and under-blanketed. Bring a scarf and you can save yourself some suffering. Here’s a fun, printed scarf from Yangtze.

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*Pro tip- If you haven’t slept well, which is often the case on the road, hoodie, plus sunglasses, plus headphones means goodnight, folks! Try not to drool on your drummer, though.

Cashmere sweater. Cashmere’s super warm, light, and great for layering in winter or summer. I’m a big fan of the cashmere sweaters Uniqlo carries because the price point is affordable and the quality is pretty damn good. I’ve also noticed a lot of thrift stores carry a variety of cashmere goods if that’s more your vibe.

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Flip-flops or slippers (or both). There are some places you will not want to be barefoot in, believe me. I usually bring both since they don’t take up much room. Flip-flops are good for unsavory shower situations you may encounter, and slippers are perfect for cold or dirty floors. I usually get my slippers in china town, since they’re cheap and easily replaceable. I would definitely splurge on these dragon slippers though!

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Nasty boots or cute boots. I keep a pair of junky boots I’ve had for ages which I bring if I know we’re going to be playing a festival out in the woods or in a more rural area. The cute boots , on the other hand, join me if I’m sure we’ll only be performing in urban or suburban neighborhoods. I personally obsess over the boots at Vagabond. Their designs are walkable, fashion-forward, and have that sprinkle of goth I enjoy.

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Towel. We once stayed at a friend’s place who was out of town. There was one towel and four of us who wanted to shower, so you do the math. I ended up drying myself with a cotton scarf I brought instead, but I learned my lesson. Towels are also a must for random swimming hole adventures, and double as a makeshift pillow. These gorgeous Turkish towels are on Etsy.

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Swimsuit. There’s always a hot-tub, swimming pool, or a lake to be sussed out somewhere. Steam rooms are also an unusually common, ( and awesome ) amenity at some hotels. In my experience, it’s better to be prepared! Here’s a great one from Topshop.

Running shoes, a jump-rope, or a folding bike. You would think that sitting in a car for hours wouldn’t suck the life out of you, but it does. That mixed with the weird food you’ll be eating, and it’s a recipe for feeling like absolute garbage. You can wake up early and go on a run, jump-rope at rest stops, or bike around after sound check. Even if you scrap all that, you can still do dance or workout videos on youtube as long as you have the internet and your smartphone. Yoga is also a fantastic way to limber up before you plop down in the passenger’s side.

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Vitamins, and probiotics. On the health tip, you’ll be in very close quarters with your  people ( and those new fans you’ll shake hands with during showtime), so you’ll need to keep your immunity up. Personally, I take Vitamin C and D every day, and alternate probiotics and garlic supplements. I swear by RenewLife to keep my stomach from going insane with all of the odd things I end up eating at odd hours. Figure out what your body needs to feel good and bring it!

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Your favorite tea or coffee ( and coffee filters). I really love a strong, black tea in the morning, since I don’t drink coffee and having my tea is my morning ritual and helps create my mental space for the day. Tazo’s Earl Grey Tea is my go-to (such lovely bergamont notes, dahhling). Harney and Sons is also one of my beloved tea companies, with packaging that makes a lady feel special.

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A reusable water bottle or canteen. On a similar note, bring a water bottle you can refill. It’s crucial to be well hydrated and you won’t want to be contributing to the van’s trash situation ( or to your carbon footprint ). Plus, you’ll save money on buying water bottles every time you pull into a gas station.

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10.) A toiletry bag specifically crafted for tour. I dedicated a bag for traveling that I know has everything I need in it, and I never take anything out. I bring my own soap and shampoo, because, again, being on the road even the smallest luxuries make a difference. You’ll want to bring the usuals: Deodorant. Hair bands. Migraine medication. Ibuprofen. Antihistamines. Safety pins. Bobby pins. Small Hairspray. Roll on fragrance (if you’re feeling fancy). Sewing kit. Feminine products and whatever birth-control you may use. Antibiotics ( just in case). Emergen-C ( never enough). Razor. Toothbrush. Small mouthwash. Small toothpaste. Tea tree oil. Natural bug repellent. Face moisturizer.

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Pro-tip- Keep a smaller toiletry bag with bare necessities. I keep hand sanitizer, spare ear buds, lip balm, tissues, and a phone charger in mine. The tissues are crucial because a lot of grimier venues, bars, and rest stops will not have toilet paper and you will want to have something on hand to avoid air drying.

Makeup remover wipes. We played a Halloween show once in full face makeup. After a long drive and an even longer night, we realized we had nothing to take all of the makeup off of our faces. The cellist in the other band saw our predicament and saved the day with her face wipes, which we used in the parking lot. I like the Burt’s Bee’s cucumber scented ones because they smell amazing and they’re gentle on the skin. These are also good if you’ve played a sweaty show and want to feel fresh again.

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Small spray bottle with lavender and peppermint oil in it. These oils are known to keep pests away from you. Spray down your bedding before you sleep and make sure you don’t bring home any unwanted friends from that gnarly motel.

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Notebook. There’s so much downtime, it’s good to keep yourself busy journaling. Hopefully, you’ll have a lot of weird stories to detail and crazy anecdotes to tell. I personally adore big, blank Moleskine journals like these, that come in a three pack.

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A great book. Again, downtime. Pick a good fiction that will keep you entertained and inspired. There will be plenty of quiet moments while you’re away, so it’s good to have something on hand. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami is one of my go-to’s. I’ve read it three times now and it never gets old.

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Spiritual accoutrements. At home, part of my morning ritual revolves around making offerings to my deities ( The Virgin Mary, Venus and others), as well as my ancestors. On the road, I bring a “mini altar” that includes a picture of St. Michael, a crystal or a stone I like, a stick of sage, and my tarot cards. I like to arrange these items wherever we are staying to give me a similar point of spiritual focus. The sage can be burned if you’re staying in an energetically funky place, or if you and your bandmates have just had a conflict. Being on the road can be tough, but bringing the mini altar helps me remember it is also a gift.

*pro tip- Even if you’re not religious, you can still make a mini altar out of items that you love and remind you of something good, or even some other inspirational musician ( hello, Bowie altar!) The point, again, is to keep your morale high and keep your energy focused on the task at hand!

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So that’s what I’d recommend to you. Best of luck to you and your music endeavors. Happy touring!




















VIII: Ancestral Meditation

 

I would like you to settle in and get comfy where you are. Close your eyes. Relax. Take a breath and ground yourself. Allow yourself to release the worries and the activities of today.

And as you breathe and settle in, really feel the expansiveness and the softness of the dark you see when your eyes are closed.

Few more breaths here.

Now imagine yourself in a warm and comfortable living room. It's dimly lit with a small lamp and a few candles scattered around the space. You're nestled on a couch surrounded by pillows and soft fabrics. The smell of fresh flowers and home cooking is drifting in from another room. You are safe here. As you sit here, cozy and at ease, you see an outline of a door emerging across from you in the room.

The door begins to open, and as it does, you see your family members, and friends who have passed on. They come in one by one, followed by your spirit guides, the angels, and animals who have also been supporting you from the beyond. They come into the room and shower you with their love, smiling, hugging you, stroking your hair, speaking loving words.

They are so excited to see you.

You are surrounded by their love, you are filled with the love of many, many lifetimes, you are filled with the Love of the Universe.

They offer you a gift. And as you look at it, you realize this gift was meant specifically for you. You take it and smile. Grateful for their presence and for the opportunity that is your life.

You thank them for this blessing and feel their light shine on you. A clock chimes and they tell you it's time for them to return. After a long embrace, they wave goodbye and exit through the door, which closes again, leaving you feeling complete and hopeful, knowing they are with you always.

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What gift were you given?

How does it apply to where you are in your life today?

Where can you bring more gratitude for your ancestors, familial or otherwise that could help you on your journey?


VII.

 
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The NAMM conference! Wow! What insane joyousness! I joined Emergency Tiara (winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest) on the Yamaha Stage, performing back up vocals and dancing some 60s moves for the outdoor audience. Inside, endless booths of fresh new gear stretched beyond the limits of my wildest imagination. Friends and family from both coasts appeared like benevolent apparitions, ( I ran into both a high school friend, and my own mother ) without any prior knowledge of their presence. So of course, the night ended with Joe McGinty, and Blythe Gruda at the afterparty in the Clarion Hotel. We sang piano karaoke like the good old days at the Manhattan Inn, joining the hordes of newly invigorated ( and perhaps intoxicated) NAMM attendees in an epic version of Bohemian Rhapsody that would have made Freddie Mercury proud. Music and its industry is alive and well, and I felt deep gratitude to witness that firsthand.

Now that I have that little nugget of motivation in my pocket, it’s time to get back to work.

*photos by the lovely John Huntington

II.

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And the Priestess spoke again and said: Speak to us of Reason and Passion.

And he answered, saying:

Your soul us oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgement wage war against your passion and your appetite.

Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord of your elements into oneness and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

The Prophet

Kahlil Gibran