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Artist Interview: How Sbeen Around Merges Sobriety with Her Evolution as a Sober DJ


Female DJ standing in a tunnel

Photo: Sbeen Around


At the dynamic intersection of creativity and sobriety, stories of transformation and passion come to life. In this feature, we explore the life of Sbeen Around, a DJ whose journey from the vibrant dance floors of Reykjavik to the cutting edge of the house music scene captures the essence of artistic evolution. Born from unexpected beginnings in 2014 and fueled by a profound commitment to sobriety, her story is a testament to the power of music as a transformative force. She invites us into her world, sharing the rhythms that motivate her and the beats that resonate with her soul. Dive into a narrative where sobriety and the pulsating world of music blend seamlessly, highlighting the extraordinary experiences of a truly remarkable artist.


"I discovered that mixing tunes sober gave me a high unmatched by any substance. This realization was pivotal, allowing me to focus and evolve in ways I never imagined possible." -Sbeen Around

Q: Let's start with your musical journey. How did sobriety intersect with your evolution in the music world?


Sbeen Around: My DJ journey began unexpectedly at a Halloween party in 2014, where dressing up as a DJ friend led to my first experience behind the decks. The thrill of mixing beats and the instant connection I felt with the crowd unveiled a hidden passion. Initially, my life revolved around the vibrant party scene, which seemed to fuel my newfound love for DJing. However, it was during this period, from 2016 to 2018, that I mistakenly believed I was balancing my passion with partying, thinking, "I was only partying every other weekend," but in reality, I was spiraling out of control. In April 2018, after acknowledging the destructive path I was on, I made a pivotal decision to get sober, marking a new chapter in my life and career.


Sobriety brought about a profound transformation in my approach to music. Initially fearful that without substances, the magic of DJing might fade, I discovered quite the opposite. The deeper connection to the music and the audience, now experienced sober, was far more fulfilling than any high drugs or alcohol had provided. This period also saw me becoming more involved with House Salad Music, contributing guest mixes worldwide, and embracing the challenge of producing my own tracks. The journey from a chaotic lifestyle to a focused, sober existence not only saved my personal life but significantly enhanced my musical career, proving that true passion is the most potent fuel for creativity and success.


Q: Who or what has been a major influence on your musical style and approach?


Sbeen Around: Well, in the beginning, after I became obsessed with being behind decks, I dove further into what my already DJ friends and producers were playing and listening to, via SoundCloud, started listening, and following DJs and producers, that I liked the sound of. What I look most up to is artists who are consistent in their musical journey, whether it's DJs and/or producers. Those who are doing it for the passion of creating. They inspire me to keep going and remind me to do what I love to do, for me, and being able to share it with others is just a huge bonus. My good friend, DJ Big Pack, owner of House Salad Music, has been supportive from the beginning and is the reason why I have been able to reach more listeners, followers, and fans because of House Salad Music's big followings on socials, especially Soundcloud. Enrique (DJ Big Pack) saw something in me that I didn’t even see myself at the start. Forever grateful!


Q: Facing challenges, especially regarding sobriety and music, can be daunting. How have you navigated these obstacles?


Sbeen Around: The first challenge was, of course, not knowing if I would be able to be around people using in the scene. It was very challenging at first, not having confidence in playing. I got my fake confidence from drugs and alcohol. So when I got sober, I was highly anxious whenever I was playing out and playing live. It consumed me, really, and it took the joy from it a bit, but I’ve just had a lot of self-talk and worked on myself and speaking to others about it, to make it known to myself and others. I have many friends who give me great pep talks, but in the end, it's me who has to overcome the anxious feeling. I’m much more confident in myself now (in a healthy kind of way). I kinda like being a little anxious before playing, and I also think that is normal for anyone, sober or not, just means you care about your craft.


Being a sober DJ does not make you any less of a DJ and does not mean you can't be successful. - Sbeen Around

Q: What guidance would you offer aspiring DJs, especially those pursuing their careers sober?


Sbeen Around:  Do you really want to be a DJ? Are you doing it to try and become famous? Or for sheer passion? I think it would not have been a pleasant journey for me if I was trying to become famous. I do share what I do on socials, put in those hashtags, and love getting new followers, friends, and fans, but that is, like I said before, all a huge bonus.


To the sober DJ, ask yourself if you are up for it. Being a sober DJ, you are still around a lot of DJs and people who are not sober. It's something to be careful about adapting to, especially if you are not fully confident in your sobriety. Ease your way into it. It took me a short time, which makes me very lucky. I decided to become a role model for others and to give sobriety a go. I don't say anything, I just do me, and that is what some look up to. There are way many more than you think, that are sober in the DJ/producer scene, that just not necessarily advertising it. I don't advertise it in a way either, but I like to add it, for some hopefully being inspired by it.


Being a sober DJ does not make you any less of a DJ and does not mean you can't be successful. Many say that they connected better with music after becoming sober, and I agree 100%!


Q: What future projects or aspirations are you excited about?


Sbeen Around: I've just been invited to do a monthly show with D3EP radio. Debut show Feb 11th - so for those of you reading this, stay tuned for a monthly LIVE radio show with my D3EP family. I named the show Sunday Groove, and it's from 8 PM to 10 PM once a month. Excited about that! Excited to continue my monthly show MUG Melodies with my House Salad Music fam. I have a few local gigs lined up shortly. I haven't been seeking gigs, so I have only been playing gigs when I'm invited to play, so definitely less than I could be playing out. I'm diving into production; I want to see if I will be able to create music to share in the mix with all the amazing tracks being produced by so many talented artists out there. It's scary, but I'm setting up a plan so that there can be at least one Sbeen Around produced track in 2024!


Q: How does living in Reykjavik influence your music and DJing approach?


Sbeen Around: Reykjavik has a very active nightlife! There are not a lot of clubs/bars that promote the sounds of the underground. So the scene is small but highly functioning. Many talented DJs. I have a few favorite spots to go to. As I said before, I don't play out a lot, maybe once a month on average, some months no gig at all. When I get asked to play, I know that they know what kind of music I play; that's the way I like it. By that, I also with confidence know I have full control of musical selection. Love that!


 I think there is a place for everyone in the scene... just be true to your craft, and you will have your place. - Sbeen Around

Q: With your experiences, how do you see the house music scene evolving globally?


Sbeen Around:  The house music scene is enormous!! I'm still discovering artists, producers, and venues, that have been in the scene for a long time, but I still haven't come across them before. Sometimes it's overwhelming haha. Many talk about the scene becoming commercial and not much talent, more of a popularity contest, with big social followers. I don't dwell on those negative talks; it's all over socials, but there is also a lot of good talk, and that's what I scroll to. I think there is a place for everyone in the scene... just be true to your craft, and you will have your place. If anyone is "faking it," it will come out in the end.


The scene has changed, but I'm looking forward to exploring some great festivals and clubs around the world in the future. One event I'd want to let everyone know about is The Forward Motion, in the UK, a daytime party concept (early evening) strictly for age +25 with loads of talented DJs, that are not necessarily big on socials but are true talent, with a master's in good vibes 101. Planning on attending soon! This is the kind of event I'd like to be able to play at,


Q: Any final thoughts you'd like to share with our readers about your journey or music?


Sbeen Around:  If you are struggling with drugs and alcohol, try to notice how you feel. Are you running away from responsibilities to get a break? (Like I was) - are you drinking "to forget"? Do you feel sad and depressed waking up after the weekend? - Most people can drink and do drugs on the weekends and function in everyday life, not having problems with it. When I finally got sober, I realized I was running away from my problems, in full-blown denial of how seriously bad things were and not admitting I had a problem with using, not admitting that I had problems in my personal life I needed to deal with - I just didn't want to deal with any of it. One day at a time, I'm becoming a better and better version of myself. I've been sober for almost 6 years now, and in that time, I've learned to tackle obstacles in my life, not run away when things get a little uncomfortable, and deal with it hands-on! It's such a good feeling, to step out of your comfort zone and be the captain of your life, not just a passenger. If I can do this, so can you.


Women comparison of before and after getting sober

Engage with Sober DJ, Sbeen Around


Further Reading and Resources

  • For more interviews about sobriety and creativity, check out our Podcast.

  • Interested in starting your DJ journey? Beginner's Guide to DJing provides essential tips and resources.

  • Discover more about the vibrant Reykjavik music scene in our feature, Reykjavik Music City.

As we part ways with Sbeen Around's compelling narrative about sobriety in the music industry, we invite you to continue exploring the intersection of creativity and sobriety. Let her story be a beacon for your artistic endeavors, a reminder that within every challenge lies an opportunity for growth and innovation. Whether you're navigating your path in the music industry or any other creative field, remember that your unique experiences and perspectives are what make your art truly resonate.


Stay tuned for more stories of inspiration, transformation, and the unyielding power of creativity on TheCreativeSober.com. If Sbeen Around's journey has moved you or sparked a thought, share this article on your preferred social media platform or leave a comment below. Let's foster a community where art and sobriety thrive together.


Until next time, keep creating, keep exploring, and most importantly, keep believing in the power of your journey.

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