Ibiza retreats: Remedy State – Connecting self-care with the music industry

The music, arts and entertainment industries are often renowned for encouraging destructive lifestyles. Think long hours, late nights, extended periods of isolation while travelling on planes and alone in hotel rooms, constant pressure from peers, press, managers, agents and fans, addiction to technology – while on the outside it appears glamorous, sex, drugs and rock and roll are not always all they’re cracked up to be! The irony is, while you’re doing everything in your power to bring joy to others through music, the experience can wreak havoc on your mental and physical health. If any of this resonates with you… you’re not alone.

Remedy State is an all new platform – founded by music industry leaders Ben Turner and Blaise James DeAngelo – specifically designed to address these health risks through mindfulness, exercise, physical therapy, integrative medicine and nutrition. Inspired by the duo’s own conscious awakenings combined with a unique understanding of just how precarious life in the fast lane can be, the very first Remedy State retreat is set to launch here in Ibiza from May 21 to 23, 2018. The general premise of the retreat – which takes place in the days leading up to the annual International Music Summit – is to start a dialogue with those attending the conference, whose lifestyles and jobs may see them experiencing stress, anxiety, burnout, depression or simply feeling a lack of mind, body and soul balance.

“IMS is a very cerebral conference,” Blaise explains of the choice of timing. “There’s a lot of really important information being presented there. We thought instead of seeing people coming in hot with stresses and anxieties and being constantly on their phones, or doing emails, it would be nice to have a little pit stop first to clear the minds and get their health in order, and then go into the conference with a fresh outlook.” With ten years of experience as a DJ behind him, plus an additional five spent in the high-pressure world of artist management for Skrillex, Blaise says his own journey into wellness has seen him learn to follow his soul’s desires rather than his ego’s needs, resulting in a healthy life change.

Ben, who is well-known as the founder of Graphite, a music management and services company who count Richie Hawtin as a client among others, co-founder of the IMS, director of Bestival and Camp Bestival and now also works in Hollywood placing music into films, television, games and advertising had a similar profound experience after some minor health issues saw him step onto the wellness path. After a group called Help Musicians UK did an extensive pilot study in 2016 that concluded those in the dance music industry specifically were three times more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than others, Ben and Blaise knew it was time to team up in order to help prevent a potential epidemic amongst their peers.

“While music itself can be a really powerful, poignant, uplifting thing, the lifestyle associated with it can – more often than not – be a very destructive one,” says Blaise. “It wasn’t just us personally – it was wearing on our peers and our co-workers, and we knew we were onto something.” It seemed very clear that although the wellness industry was booming all over the world (even TIME Magazine currently has a cover story about mindfulness), the overall concept seemed to be bypassing those in the arts and entertainment field. “There aren’t conversations being had about mindfulness, exercise, sleep or diet because it’s not ‘cool’,” says Blaise. “Ben and I feel the time is right to start furthering this conversation on a broader social consciousness scale. We need it. People all over the world are waking up to how connected mental health is with health and wellbeing, and this is so important for creativity.”

In early 2017 DeAngelo had an encounter with Dr. Ahmed Ali in Kerala, India – the birthplace of Ayurveda. “Dr Ali looked into my eyes with a flashlight and he instantly knew I’d broken my arm when I was 10,” Blaise says. “From that point, I was like… whatever you’re selling, I’m buying! I trust him completely – he opened my eyes to such a wide world. I felt it was my duty to be a conduit to bring Dr Ali and his knowledge to the music industry. I had to figure out a way to channel some of the workings and learnings of people like him, put them all in one place and can let them loose on the music industry – maybe the unhealthiest bunch in the world!” And thus, Remedy State started to take form.

Alongside its focus on addressing the music industry specifically, one of the major details that sets Remedy State apart from the many other amazing wellness retreats in Ibiza is its distinct medical, scientific approach. Each and every member of the team facilitating the retreat has been hand-picked by Ben and Blaise, based on their personal experiences with them. “It’s not just yoga and juicing and meditation,” Blaise explains. “There are real doctors, real psychiatrists – whose pedigrees really speak for themselves. Throughout the experience we do adrenal testing, physical therapy and one on one consultations. It’s not purely spiritual – it’s physical and mental too.”

Dr Ali brings his lifelong experience in integrated medicine to the table – a style of medicine combining traditional Eastern medicine such as Ayurveda, acupuncture, homeopathy, Unani and yoga with complementary medicine including naturopathy, osteopathy and nutrition. In addition to personalised consultations with each participant, he will also lead daily Hatha yoga and meditation sessions. Joining him is Catherine Arnold, a highly-trained nutritional therapist whose personal experience in healing through diet led her to train in her field. Catherine offers a personal consultation to each guest, in addition to giving an educational talk and collaborating on the retreat menus.

Dr Norman Rosenthal is one of the esteemed guest speakers during the retreat – an award-winning, world-renowned psychiatrist and best-selling author responsible for first diagnosing SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and using light therapy as treatment during 20 years spent at America’s best mental health facility, National Institute of Mental Health. He is joined by Richard Barrett, the globally recognised author, speaker and leader on the link between universal human needs and creativity. Crediting Barrett as the man who helped him take the leap towards feeding his soul and leading him to a more purposeful life, Blaise is most excited to see his peers’ reactions to his learnings.

The retreat itself is held at luxury Ibiza Agroturismo Sa Talaia, just outside in the hills of San Antonio and minutes from the best the island has to offer. “We wanted somewhere that wasn’t too far off the beaten track, but was intimate, serene and quiet,” Blaise says. “It was also important to us that they’d be willing to work with us on the nutritional regiment – that was a big factor.” All meals – based on Ayurvedic principles and made using locally sourced, organic ingredients (with vegan and gluten-free options available) – are included, along with twice-daily hatha yoga and meditation, breathing workshops. A nature walk hosted by Walking Ibiza gets you into the great outdoors, while back at HQ, keynote talks by the guest speakers bring you back inside your mind.

“We’re not naïve,” says Blaise. “It’s important to note that we’re not soap box preaching. We’re not up here saying don’t do drugs, don’t party, don’t DJ late at night. We know we can’t change the music industry overnight. But it’s important to have these conversations and advocate balance. There’s something for everyone. If meditation isn’t your thing, maybe yoga is. If yoga isn’t your thing, maybe you can try and improve your diet. There are things everyone can do that will fit in with their lifestyle and values, and if this helps them achieve more balance between a destructive lifestyle and optimal wellness, it’s a step in the right direction. Everyone is on their own journey.”

Ben agrees wholeheartedly. “Remedy State is designed to create a dialogue around health and wellness in the entertainment industry. I think it’s an important conversation to be having and I feel we can no longer afford to ignore this.” Alleviating stress and anxiety, increasing mental clarity and focus, improving physical health, maintaining emotional wellbeing and understanding nutritional practices – it may not all click into place overnight, but attending the retreat activation is the first step on the right path to a better, more balanced future.