Atish Mehta: Authenticity, Anxiety, & the Artist

Life is a Festival 022:

Atish Mehta (DJ atish)

Have you been enjoying the intro music for Life is a Festival as much as I have? That song, “Peculiar Colors”, was written by Atish Mehta, my guest on today’s episode. Atish is a former software engineer turned full-time DJ, producer, and label boss.

Atish is a thought leader in the festival world and his earnest ideas and opinions always inspire me. Atish’s story about a difficult Burning Man experience became the foundation for an article I wrote in 2015: “Sometimes a Bad Burn is a Good Thing”. When Atish and I traveled to Poland’s Garbicz Festival together in 2016, it was the first time I had heard someone speak openly about the challenges of punishing performance schedules (sometimes called “DJ heroics”) and the strain on mental health that so much travel, self-promotion, and substance use can have on a person.

On the podcast, we go behind the curtain of managing a DJ career. Atish speaks openly about anxiety, the pressures of social media, and how the theater of success has evolved into a theater of vulnerability.

Atish still considers DJing to be the greatest job in the world and has absolutely no regrets about going from hobbyist to professional. He’s also a strong believer in the idea that we must all support each other in nurturing mental and physical wellness, even as we make heroes out of the women and men who create the party.

My multi-disciplinary design partner Andy McErlean

And the most delightful dj atish for the truly festive theme song: “Peculiar Colors” [Manjumasi]