Boys in Mind Meets...

An Interview with Adam Volsen

By: Kit Cooper-Harrison

Adam Volsen (right) one half of The Allergies

My name is Adam Volsen, I’m also known as Rackabeat as my solo DJ name, but I’m also known for being one half of the music group, The Allergies. The Allergies is a DJ/producer outfit originally started with DJ Moneyshot, and we’ve also got a band. We make music, we DJ every weekend in nightclubs – well, we used to DJ, pre-COVID! – and we have a band which we tour with during festival season and when we’ve got an album release, going around the country and around the world. I also run music workshops, mainly for young people, also for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems. There’s lots of different stuff that I do but it all revolves around music.

Music kind of saved my life. I had my fair share of problems growing up that particularly revolved around mental health problems in my family and stuff like that. I got kicked out of the first course that I did at college for not applying myself properly and I wasn’t in a very good place overall. After going to Glastonbury Festival for the first time when I was 16 or so, I ended up watching DJs all weekend and thinking “That’s what I want to do”. I had this strange sort of shift in belief in myself that maybe I could make a career doing that. I got onto a course where I studied DJing and went on to study a degree in Music Production where I learned all my skills, made lots of contacts, and had my first music releases.

We’ve lost all of our gigs because of the pandemic which was a large part of our income. It was quite worrying and distressing at first. Our first single from a new album was released right at the start of the pandemic. We had all sorts of considerations: Should we postpone the album until all this is over? Is this a good time to release it because we are not going to be able to gig? Thankfully, it was well received by everyone and the sales were good; we got playlisted on 6music for our first single so that certified that this was the right thing to do. We’ve had to reconsider how we do everything and learn a bunch of new skills so now we DJ over the internet and do live streams every week.

There’s two sides to my work: the Allergies and the music workshops. With the Allergies, we’ve always just wanted to make happy music and uplift people through our music. Our music is designed to make you dance and feel good. There’s never a dull or dreary moment on any of our records. They are all high energy, feelgood music with a nod to the past. To me that is a mental health consideration: we’re trying to lift people’s spirits and change their mood with our music. With the music teaching side of things and the workshops that I do, mental health is the foundation of that in many respects. It’s the same thing, I’m trying to reach out to people and create a therapy through music.

I have different people in my life for different things. A lot of time you might expect to get all the support you need from a partner or a parent but actually you need lots of people in your life to give you the support that you need. You might go to somebody for practical advice, a different person for emotional advice. Having lots of different and amazing people in my life offers the broad range of support that you need. If I were to write a letter to my younger self, I’d probably say continue believing in yourself, don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. Maybe apply yourself a bit harder!

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