Published Feb 05, 2019Making a career as a recording artist can take its physical and mental toll, but Toronto's Royal Mountain Records is looking to lighten the load for its artists with the creation of a fund to assist acts in getting treatment for mental health and addictions issues.
As the Toronto Star reports, artists signed to the label will have access to $1,500 to confidentially spend on mental wellness at their discretion. The paper adds that a memo circulated to the roster notes that the money "will NOT be a recoupable label expense. To reiterate, the bands will NOT need to pay the label back for these expenses."
"It's literally an everyday occurrence where you run into something," Hollerado frontman and label boss Menno Versteeg told the Star. "In every band you know, there are people who are in art because they have something inside them that needs to come out, and often a professional helping that thing come out will serve a totally different purpose than it coming out just through your art."
He continued: "I don't want to say it runs deeper in any industry — I'm not friends with a lot of bankers so I don't know — but there's a normalization of mental illness in the arts. It's like, 'Of course that person's suicidal, he's an artist.' That idea that great art comes through pain, there's a lot of truth to that, but that doesn't mean that you need to live in pain your entire life and exist in pain."
The Star reports that Versteeg has been contacted by two private donors willing to donate "significant" dollars to the wellness fund. Royal Mountain's artist roster includes Alvvays, Calpurnia, Mac DeMarco, Nightseeker, U.S. Girls, Ought and more.
"The music industry is late nights and long days and hard work for low pay and big highs and big lows," Versteeg said. "That's just built into it, and people want to be part of it because they love music and they love the emotion behind it. And these are all things that lend themselves to this stuff...It's not my job to be, like, 'You need help.' But I want people to know 'This is real, it's there and if you need it or maybe your bandmates think you need it and they can convince you, here's some money. It's there.'"
You can read Versteeg's complete interview about the label's initiative here.