After amicably parting ways with Manila Killa earlier this year, Hotel Garuda has made a name for himself as a solo act. As he prepares to embark on his “One Reason” headlining tour early next year, Hotel Garuda (Aseem) and I caught up on music, managing mental and physical health, and what fans should keep an eye out for in 2019.
Hey Aseem! I’m so excited to hear that you’re hitting the road soon and am looking forward to seeing you in Chicago! What can fans expect from your upcoming “One Reason” tour?
Hi Staley! I’m so excited to tour specifically because I get to play longer sets than I have had the chance to before. Going from an hour-and-a-half set to a two-hour set isn’t as big a technical stretch as it is a chance for me to dive a little deeper into my taste in music, along with my audience. Touring with Gorgon City as well as with Giraffage and Ryan Hemsworth gave me a welcome infusion of creative inspiration, not only to make more music but to craft my DJ sets into memorable nights.
You recently shared with us that you have Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy, and mentioned that you manage your symptoms through meditation and monitoring your day-to-day activities. I’d like to dive a little deeper into the ways in which you do that. How do you practice health and wellness as an artist, especially while touring?
So I was diagnosed when I was a sophomore in college, but upon doing more research into it, I realized the symptoms had displayed themselves when I was much younger, only much further apart in time than they tend to present themselves in adulthood. As a result of my condition I try to make the most of the time I get to relax, sleep, and manage my stress levels. I’ve been trying to eat less unhealthily on the road, though the temptation for fast food lays in wait in every city. I meditate occasionally but wish I did more of it! A while back when I was having trouble with sleep, meditation really helped me get my sleep schedule in check. Really though, staying hydrated and maintaining as much of a sleep schedule as I can is about all I do to stay sharp. I’ve also been on medication since my diagnosis and it helps a lot!
What is the most challenging part of being an artist while managing your epilepsy?
I wouldn’t really say it comes in the way of being an artist very much. It really only affects me when I stay up way too late for way too many days in a row and just get exhausted. Hence, I sleep as much as possible.
I know many of us working in creative industries struggle with health issues we might not show in our Instagram or Twitter feeds—I tend to find myself hesitant to openly talk about the ins and outs of my own mental health on a public platform, which can make me feel worse sometimes. In what ways do you think we in the music industry could better destigmatize conversations around mental and physical health?
This is something I’ve been trying to keep tabs on over the last year or two, and I think that certain artists have been incredibly helpful by being open with their audiences about their struggles with mental health. Too much social media definitely makes it worse, I think. Whenever I get in those zones of endlessly scrolling through Instagram or Twitter, especially if it’s the first thing I do in the morning, I have to try really hard to “press reset” and get myself into “adult mode.” Personally, I find it comforting that artists and creatives I look up to deal with similar insecurities to the ones I have, and in weird way, being able to relate to them helps me stay comfortable in my own skin.
The end of the year is right around the corner, so I have to ask: what accomplishments from 2018 are you most proud of, and what are some of your creative goals for 2019?
As you know, Manila Killa and I no longer play shows together, so it’s been an interesting change for me to step into the DJ booth by myself instead of with someone else. I think what I’m most proud of is the fact that Chris (Manila Killa) and I were able to cap the previous chapter of Hotel Garuda with a series of sensational festival shows—memories we will both keep dear for years to come.
Creating a body of work has been a creative goal of mine for some time now, and I feel like I’m finally at the stage in my capabilities where I can dedicate myself to crafting an audio-visual universe, something that will stand on its own. I also want to make way more music. Tons more.
Purchase tickets for Hotel Garuda’s “One Reason” tour, and listen to the SNBRN remix of his single “One Reason” below.