• Steph Landreville

Behind The Shield 003 - Ari Kapner

Ari Kapner [He/Him] – Using his words as a means to support EDM acts and their art, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Heard It Here First Blog, Ari Kapner, joins us to share his experiences as a writer.

We asked Ari some questions related to mental health and how he manages to cope through stressful situations. Like anyone else, he has experienced some difficult times and had to adapt quickly as the music industry is extremely fast paced.

Having learned some valuable life lessons in his years as a writer, Ari was excited to share his perspective on the state of blogging in the EDM scene.

Q. Why did you decide to work in the music industry? A. Sharing music with others is something that's really important to me. It's one of the ways I bond with some of my closest and oldest friends.

Q. What makes you passionate about music?

A. My answer to the first question is kind of the same as this one, but it was that love and my time working at other blogs that pushed me to build HIHF. I actually got laid off from my job at Tesla on my ride back home from Bonnaroo 2018, and in my time unemployed, I decided to start the site and pursue my passion in both music and writing.

Q. What would you say is the “harsh reality” of being a writer in the EDM scene?

A. My harsh reality as a music writer is that not many people read or share your work. Harsh, but definitely true. I hate sounding salty, but it's a reality. It's certainly a thankless job, especially from the artists and their teams who we cover. To the labels, artists and teams who do support and share our work – shout out to you! That retweet or IG story share honestly means the World.

Q. When facing challenging moments, what helps you stay on track with your work tasks?

A. When facing challenging moments, taking a break and coming back to it always helps me out, big time.

Q. Do you experience stress or anxiety when it comes to your work? If so, how do you cope with that?

A. Absolutely. People back out on agreements, or bail last minute on a mix. People get upset that we don't cover enough rising talent when that's something we do a ton of. Another big stressor is ensuring I’m teaching my team in ways that help them progress. I have a lot to work on in terms of being a leader, but managing a team is HARD STUFF! There are tons of stressful situations that go along with running the blog.

Breathing exercises are big for me. If I ever get overwhelmed, which happens quite frequently unfortunately, I breathe. I am a therapy regular as well. I've been going weekly for about six years, so that is also extremely helpful. If you aren't in therapy, I suggest finding some sort of therapy that works for you! It may be hard to find but it's out there. In my opinion, everyone needs it, not just those who struggle with anxiety or other mental health-related issues.

Q. What kind of changes would you like to see in our industry that could positively impact industry professionals and the state of their mental health?

A. Honestly, as specific as it is to my situation, I would like for more artists and teams to share blogs like Heard It Here First. There are lots of great publications out there currently pushing new music and supporting the underground dance music community. Shout out to some of our favorite EDM blogs - FUXWITHIT, Electric Hawk, Moon Landing, Dubstep FBI, Let The Bass Get You, and so many more.

Q. What methods have you found most effective in coping with your mental health when it’s at a low?

A. Calling a friend, speaking to my mom, practicing deep breathing, getting on the peloton or elliptical, as well as smoking and listening to dubstep or watching my comfort shows (Always Sunny, The Office, Community Etc.)

Q. Can you name 3 people who have made your life better this past year?

A. I'm going to go with my two brothers and my mom. I lost my father at the beginning of 2021 and it's brought my family much closer. The blog wouldn’t be what it is today without their support. I’d also like to mention my girlfriend, Camille. I would definitely have lost control of my mental health much more had it not been for her support. Honorable mention to my golden retriever, Bella.

Q. What’s a valuable life lesson you’ve learned recently?

A. Don't sweat the small stuff. My dad taught me that and it has resonated much more after he passed. P.S. It's all 'small stuff'

Q. What’s a song that makes you happy?

A. Song that makes me happy -- I'll have to give a few lol. "Dancing In The Moonlight" by King Harvest always puts a smile on my face. Then my go-to relaxation songs are "Healing" by Supertask and "Dissolve" by Liquid Stranger.

Q. Please share one mental health-resource of your choice and let us know why you chose it:

A. My mental health resource will be NAMI. They do some really good work! https://www.nami.org

“NAMI, the Nation Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s larges grassroots mental health organization dedicated to buildingg better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness”

Thank you so much to Ari for joining us and allowing us to see what goes on behind the scenes of the blogging World. We appreciate his willingness to discuss mental health and tell things as they are. We hope to see more people open up about these types of topics in the future!

“Mental health is a #1 priority, always.” -Steph.