In the first Real Podcast of 2020, we’re chatting about creativity and the idea that you don’t need something mind-altering, be that alcohol or anything else, in order to produce something beautiful and interesting.
Tobias Ben Jacob and Lukas Drinkwater are two touring musicians who work in improvisational music. Two years ago they made the professional decision to go on “dry tours”. They realised that they needed to be alert and in the moment in order to perform at their best, and that the trappings of being a touring musician were working to their detriment.
Just before Christmas, they stopped off – mid-tour – to crack open a few bottles of Real Kombucha and discuss how it feels to go from being dependent on “Dutch courage” to take the stage, and doing it in the startling light of sobriety.
“We started to notice that our performances were so much better when we were alert, switched on and sober, and we really enjoyed that so much more than the feeling of being drunk. There’s a buzz and fun from that, but the buzz from giving it you best and playing your best is so much better.”
“The clarity of consciousness of being sober, and the degree of self-awareness – being aware of the subtle details of what I was doing – I began to really enjoy. New, subtle layers started to appear.”
Along the way, they discuss the nature of giving up alcohol in an industry that has long been synonymous with substance abuse, and the way that touring without alcohol has freed them up from the emotional instability that often goes with this line of work.
“Promoters are often surprised when we don’t drink. Sometimes, as soon as we get there the first thing we’ll be offered is a beer. It is quite strange. If you were to turn up at any other kind of work and someone offered you a beer…”
“It was challenging because you’ve built this performance persona, and if you’ve used alcohol as part of that… for me, it took time to deconstruct. On the other hand, I had this feeling that I was enjoying that clarity and playing better, so it was a case of balancing that with the fears, anxieties and doubts of not being confident enough. I found it took a couple of weeks to get it out of my system, and then I felt a new, natural growing sense of confidence which had more value because it was coming from my own inner work rather than a liquid fix.”
For more info on what these guys do, head to jacobanddrinkwater.com.