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Tinnitus: the last thing you want to hear...

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There are many side effects to living life too excessively. Drink too much and you’ll have a hangover.  Do it for years and you’ll need a new liver. Too much speed you won’t sleep for a night. Too often and you could end up with a serious heart condition. Too much coke and you’ll need viagra before your 30th birthday etc etc you’ve heard all of these before. Much less recognized but just as life changing is tinnitus- the permanent ringing in your ears normally obtained through overexposure to loud noise. Come back from a party and your ears will ring for a day or two, do it too often and the ringing could never go away. With plenty of remedies but no real cure, it is one of the most frustrating and undesirable side effects of enjoying music too fully. The list of people afflicted by it is endless- with Carl Craig, Richie Hawtin, Eats Everything, Rebekah, Dubfire among the more publicised ones. The ringing can be so unbearable it’s caused many an industry professional to retire. Audiologists have dubbed it the only mortal condition they encounter clinically- some people see suicide as the only way out. As one of our readers, we value your well being and want to help you avoid this problem. Together with EarPeace, MEOKO has put together some case studies to help you understand how it will affect your life, as well as some advice on how to prevent it.

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My love for house music started at 16. So strong was my attachment to this scene I decided I wanted to make a career for myself in the music industry. After five years promoting warehouse parties, I founded MEOKO. As part of my job, I spend a lot of time at clubs, in festivals, generally in environments where the decibel level is much louder than what is considered ‘safe’. Having been in this industry for so long, you can’t avoid knowing about tinnitus, hearing the stories of those affected or seeing the DJs wearing ear plugs. However, it’s something that’s always at the back of your mind, you always think never me and carry on living life more fully than you realise your body can handle. 12 years on from that first night, it’s suddenly hit me: a strange, unfamiliar noise constantly whistling through my left ear. At first i put it down to water in my ear and assured myself it will pass but unfortuantely for me, three months later and the exact same sound is with me permanently.  Sleeping naturally at night is a thing of the past and I find guided meditation tapes are the only way through it.  its scary to think i will never know absolute silence again. I do feel i caught it at early stages and so provided I protect my ears at all costs from now on, it should not get any worse.  I so wish I had heeded the warning of others and can’t put it out there enough: wear the f*cking ear plugs! Tinnitus might not kill you but a life without music isn’t worth it either!

Nicole Venter, founder of MEOKO

 

I have been suffering from Tinnitus for about 5 years. I’ve always been aware of it, as the ringing in my ears used to come and go. However, after one very long weekend with gigs 5 days in a row, it became permanent. The adaption to it took some serious work: I got myself some professional earplugs, and did a lot of yoga which helps to stretch out the muscles around the ear. I also used to sleep with earplugs in- while the absolute silence made the tinnitus more intense, it made the day much more bearable. The combination worked really well- the tinnitus calmed down and I felt a lot more relaxed about my hearing. However, I got complacent: I was using my earplugs less regularly, until I finally lost them and stupidly didn’t replace them. With the amount of gigs I’ve had abroad, along with WYS at Fabric every Sunday, Mr T has come back stronger than ever. I’ve got some new ear plugs made and use them all the time- but honestly I really wish I hadn’t stopped using them while I still had the chance. Ear plugs might take some getting used to, but the best trick I know is to put them in before you leave your house or hotel. You’ll get used to the sound being lower before you even get to the club, making it feel like you never put anything in in the first place!

Jacob Husley, Promoter / DJ and producer - WetYourSelf! at fabric

 

I’ve suffered from tinnitus for 5 years, it happened during a long night out. I could feel my ears being irritated by the sound but I did not listen to my body. I was having too much fun and I didn’t care at the time. Physically there is no actual pain, but at first it is very disturbing and stressful- a constant background noise you can’t avoid no matter what you try (mine is a highly irritating high pitched squeal). I’m told you should treat your ears as you would treat your muscles: you can’t work your ears to hard without warming them up, nor can you work them for too long. The louder the music, the less time you should expose your hearing to it- and take breaks! Additionally, wearing ear plugs is essential to preventing tinnitus. Custom made ones are great if you can afford them but there are also good earplugs on the market for less than a score. If it happens, do not stress or worry about it because it make it worse. Some people only suffer temporarily, but even then it should be disturbing enough to make you think twice about wearing ear plugs the next time.

Remi Mazet / Producer & Live Act / Colors, La vie en rose, Halucienda, Hot waves

To help you avoid becoming the next case study, hearing charity Action on Hearing Loss recommend three ways to enjoy events while preventing ear damage:

1- Take regular breaks

2- stand back from speakers

and

3- wear ear plugs!

One and two are easily done, but wearing ear plugs is the biggest change. Most people’s problem with them is that they dampen the sound at an event and ‘ruin’ the experience. This is true of foam ear plugs, which block sound and muffle the music. However, like buying a pair of good shoes a pair of good ear plugs really can enhance and extend your relationship with music. For music, you specifically want something with high fidelity or acoustic filters. These filters are designed allow sound through clearly at safer volumes. The background noise will be muted, making the music even clearer. There are plenty of brands out there, but our favourite so far has been EarPeace.  A company with a fresh take on hearing protection who address the very problems that have detered people in the past. Multiple filters ensure no loss of sound quality, whilst a low profile design and different skin tone options mean they go unnoticed when out. These linear attenuating earplugs are made out of hypoallergenic silicone, so can be reused, and won’t keep falling out of your ears, and they come in a small, stylish aluminium case. In short – these will improve your experience, keeping you free from hearing problems without having to sacrifice your nights. They are also the most value for a affordable amount. If you’re looking at custom moulded plugs, we really like ACS and Reid Audio. ACS have been around for what seems like forever, and Reid Audio have developed the technology to make custom ear plugs in 48 hours.

 

 EAR PEACE BANNER

 

 High fidelity filters, available with silicone or custom moulded plugs, allow sound through clearly yet at safer volumes. High quality brands like EarPeace make plugs out of hypoallergenic silicone, lasting years while being comfortable over long periods of use. They come in nifty little cases and only cost 15 pounds.

On the other hand, custom made plugs start at around £100. Brands like ACS and newcomers Reid Audio are among the most popular and provide good value for money.

 

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Beyond ear plugs, a good idea would be to download a decibel meter onto your phone. While not 100% accurate, it will give you a very good indication of the noise levels in your environment. Using this table, this will help you deduce how long you can stay in that environment before you need a break. Outside of events, you absolutely must buy noise cancelling headphones. Non-cancelling ones, like the iPhone headphones, force you to turn the sound up way too high to cover outside noise. Noise cancelling headphones generally have a silicone tip, which takes the shapes of your ear and acts as a barrier to the noise outside.

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We really hope these stories and advice will help you avoid tinnitus. As Nicole said: “it’s one of those things that stays in the back of your mind… and you think 'never me'”. Everyone who has it thought the same thing. The key really is to listen to your body- if it feels too loud, it definitely is. Only an idiot would think less of you for taking some precaution. A few minutes of loud music aren’t worth a lifetime of hearing sirens in your head, particularly as future events will be sullied by the fear of making it worse. Now see you on the dancefloor….!

 MEOKO has also teamed up with EarPeace to secure a discount code for you so that you can get your hands on them 15 % cheaper than usual – because everyone deserves to be protected! Just insert the discount code 'MEOKOEARS' when at the checkout...

 CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR SET OF EAR PEACE PLUGS  

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An Open Letter To….Misogynists in the DJ industry

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“You’re pretty good for a girl!”

“Are you warming up for your boyfriend?”

“Let me show you how that works….”

 

Any female DJ will have had some comment aimed at them that makes them stop and think….excuse me? During mixed gender b2bs the men will hog the decks, even at house parties the boys will unplug your phone from the aux cable and swap in theirs, proclaiming “girls just don’t really know good music!”, as they play a song produced by Hannah Wants. 

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We all know the issues surrounded sexism in club culture and female DJS: harassment in clubs, sexist comments on Boiler Room, a lack of representation in the media such as DJ Mag, and the list goes on. Although talk on the subject matter does mean progression, and workshops such as this one and all-female collectives are definitely encouraging women to get involved there’s still a crazy amount of bias with regards to club and festival bookings. 

 

I, for one, have not been lucky enough to live somewhere with any encouraging female collectives circulating, and have therefore ran in the male DJ circles, always being paid less, picked when no man was available, and generally placed in less serious nights and earlier positions. Although I love the art enough to not let this discourage I’m sure this is plenty to force some other women give up. Patronising comments and unwanted advice are the sounds of my DJ career, my personal favourite being “all you need to do is use your ears….”. I don’t even think they know they’re doing what they’re doing, it’s ingrained in their frail male egos to put me down so they feel better (of course this doesn’t apply to everyone, some have given me genuinely good advice and oppurtunities, it’s just a minority case).

 

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So let me ask you a question male DJs, why do you think you’re better? Have you done a scientific study and deduced your ears actually ARE biologically better than mine? Do you have some 5th sense that means you naturally mix in a superior way? Or is it just because you’re big and strong and can handle the technology better? Because I’m pretty sure if we were all blindfolded you would not be able to tell a male and female DJ apart.

 

There’s the other side of things, a difficult argument with regards to female DJs dressing in a ‘sexual’ way (e.g Nina Kraviz in the bathtub) and stereotyping themselves as simply eye-candy rather than a good DJ. But this is FALSE, the stereotype doesn’t need to exist unless you let it, being attractive and a good DJ is not an oxymoron surprisingly enough! Girls can do what they want, just like you can. If you can take your top of during a set (please don’t) then so can we.

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So next time one of your female friends asks if she can try out your decks, don’t laugh or patronise her, give her a demo and you’ll quickly see that we’re just as interested and talented as men, if we were just given the right level of encouragement.

 

By Laura Hely Hutchinson

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Passing Clouds - The Dying Nightlife of Dalston

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Passing Clouds is a music venue in the heart of Hackney celebrating music from around the world and playing a vital part in UK music/ culture by promoting a diverse range of artists and musicians. Passing Clouds has been doing this for the last 10 years, however like many nightlife venues and community spaces the venue is under threat. The dying nightlife of Dalton is not something we can just ignore and do nothing about.

 

The Passing Clouds building was secretly sold to property developers Landhold Developments who want to turn he building into their offices. There has been much deception and issues around this sale, with a private security firm breaking in and changing the locks. The community therefore rallied together and reclaimed lawful possession of the building and are now trying to obtain a lease of at least 30 years/ rights to the building.

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This is a wonderful venue which gives so much to the community and it would be awful for another venue to go, so please sign the petition here and donate to their campaign here 

 

The venue are also hosting a series of ten year anniversary events and could really do with your attendance and support, check out the calendar through this website

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An Open Letter to…Girls in Club Toilets

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When I begrudgingly dragged myself away from the sweaty, pumping dance floor to the equally sweaty, depressing club toilets, I wasn’t exactly elated when I saw the length of the queue. This was one of these moments in time where I wished I could’ve been born with male genitalia, allowing me to quietly and quickly slide into the haven of the mens toilets where no queue ever seems to appear and where you strictly avoid all contact with other humans apart from an occasional necessary “alright mate”. Why should my weak bladder mean I miss out on half the night?

 

I took a deep breath, looked around me…and suddenly everything seemed different. Girls complimenting each others clothes, girls holding back their friend’s (or a stranger’s) hair, offering out gum, gossiping, bitching, crying, cubicles which seem to hold 10 girls….a hundred different experiences in one were occurring around me in this dingy, dirty bathroom. 

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You suddenly feel like you’re bonding with each person in the room: shared eye contact with the girl next to you secretly laughing at someone on all fours searching for her phone, passing toilet paper under to the next cubicle, asking if you can borrow some vaseline/ gum, agreeing with the girl next to you at the sink that all the men are being extra creepy tonight.

 

Somebody asks me for advice on the boy she likes, “He keeps ignoring me tonight, he’s being really off, what do you think that means?”. Only in a place like this would she trust someone whom she knows nothing of their relationship history, for all she knows I’ve had 4 failed marriages, but come on now, nobody would break the girl code and give you advice they weren’t 100% sure would work would they?! I promise I’ll wing-woman her later, knowing full well I’d never see her hopeful face again when we entered back into the crowd. 

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This situation was actually the best possible outcome. There of course have been times, where I’ve had the unfortunate timing of ending up behind/ next to a cryer. Yes, any girl will have just had hundreds of flashbacks to crying girls in club toilets. There’s a big gap in the market for a Sociology dissertation studying how many girls cry in club toilets every night and what their general reasons (insert pie chart: romance, bitch fight, not sure just a bit too drunk, smashed phone etc.)…I for sure would be very interested to know. The drunk crier is not as simple as the basic advice situation, with this you feel you must aid her back to a mildly happy state of no tears, and if you’re especially unlucky and the girl has lost all her friends, this can involve a continuation BEYOND the toilets (WHAT?!?! Surely not) (buying her a drink/ dancing/ requesting all the powerful independent women songs you can possibly think of).

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When the time eventually came and I reached the front of the queue I felt a weird feeling I hadn’t expected…disappointment. Did I really have to leave this zoo that I had become a part of? I had started to truly feel like I belonged here, in this safe-space and men free zone. I said goodbye to the friend I had made in the queue, adding her on Facebook and promising we’d meet up for girly cocktails as soon as possible. I then quickly used the cubicle, peacefully smiling to myself as I read the graffiti and an angry girl banged on the door shouting “HURRY THE F*** UP”, and as I left the toilet to rejoin my male friends I felt older and wiser, knowing they would never experience anything like female toilets.

By Laura Hely Hutchinson

 

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MEOKO Internship 2016

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MEOKO is a forward thinking and creative lifestyle brand, with a primary focus on the global underground electronic music and events scenes; passionate about promotion and high quality event services.

MEOKO Ltd, the event and promo agency, offers event and physical/online promotional services to a strong network of London and the UK’s best promoters, artists, record labels, clubs/bars, PR agencies, artist agencies, management companies, festivals and charities. Beyond music, MEOKO opens up its interests to culture, art, fashion and food…

Some of our clients have included fabric, We Are FSTVL, Sonus Festival, Lovebox, SW4, Sunwaves14, Street Feast, Kerb Food, LWE, Egg, Fire, WYS, Spilt Milk, Oval Space, Found, DJ Mag, Firefly International, Camden Lock Brewery and Westminster City Council to name just a few. As well as promotion, MEOKO is passionate about top-quality journalism and regularly hosts reviews, interviews and features on its website written by some of London’s finest journalists.

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We are currently looking for two hard-working, passionate individuals who have a strong knowledge of electronic music and are organised and reliable.

We are willing to take on board a Graphic Design Intern and an Editorial Intern.

Both positions represents a great opportunity for whoever is interested in pursuing a career in music or events industry.

During this internship you will able to network with promoters, artists, agencies, labels, press agencies, festivals, designers and so on. You will get a very close look inside the industry across many different sectors. Moreover, you will be able to build a professional  portfolio, by being actively involved with all MEOKO Projects and by producing features/designs on a daily basis.

OVERLOOK

You should share an interest in electronic music and promotion as well as holding either a PR/Journalism degree or a Design/Creative background. Any extra skill will be a bonus.

He or she must have excellent people skills, be creative, be able to communicate well as an individual or part of a team. This is a hands -on roll so please only apply if you feel you have what it takes to work as part of an extremely busy, sometimes stressful yet very exciting environment.

The successful candidates will be supporting the team and be an effective and trusted interface for MEOKO, providing a point of contact for external collaborations and enquiries.

 

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EDITORIAL INTERN – press & social media

 Main Duties will include but not be limited to:

  •          writing features and news pieces
  •          writing events and albums previews/reviews
  •          writing mix descriptions
  •          contributing to the daily running of the magazine
  •          managing and maintaining websites contents
  •          contacting Dj's, producers and record labels (client liaisons)
  •          managing social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  •          managing MEOKO Soundcloud page
  •          copy editing texts
  •          contributing to MEOKO series (e.g. Music Through Pictures, Sound of the City, Not so Serious)
  •          organizing and writing interviews
  •          listing hottest London's event by week
  •          admin duties

Requirements:

  •          applicants must be educated to degree level in a relevant subject or have equivalent professional experience
  •          must be able to work efficiently in a fast pace environment
  •          being a great team player as well as being able to work on own initiative
  •          excellent English skills, both verbal and written
  •          must be computer literate (word, photoshop or gimp)
  •          good presentation skills, in writing and person
  •          must have enhanced multi-tasking skills, be able to work in fast-paced, sometimes stressful environment
  •          have an eye for details
  •          excellent organizational skills and the ability to cope with a demanding workload
  •          self-motivated, friendly and positive
  •          social media literate
  •          enhanced research skills
  •          be able to work on close deadlines

GRAPHIC DESIGN INTERN

Main Duties will include but not be limited to:

  •          creating banners and designs of different natures for MEOKO
  •          contributing to the daily running of the magazine
  •          managing and maintaining websites contents
  •          uploading contents on the website
  •          occasionally help with social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  •          looking for interesting pictures/videos to publish on social media or to work with
  •          helping with MEOKO series (e.g. Music Through Pictures, Sound of the City, Not so Serious)
  •          admin duties

Requirements:

  •          applicants must be educated to degree level in a relevant subject or have equivalent professional experience
  •          proficiency in Photoshop (or Gimp)
  •          being IT literate
  •          must be able to work efficiently in a fast pace environment
  •          being a great team player as well as being able to work on own initiative
  •          excellent English skills, both verbal and written
  •          good presentation skills, in writing and person
  •          must have enhanced multi-tasking skills, be able to work in fast-paced, sometimes stressful environment and respect deadlines
  •          have an eye for details
  •          excellent organizational skills and the ability to cope with a demanding workload
  •          self-motivated, friendly and positive
  •          social media literate

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MEOKO is looking for creative individuals to come up with always new and interesting ideas. If you have a good idea, we are more then happy to have you realizing it!

Successful candidates must own their own laptop and be able to work at least 4 days a week, from 10 to 6 over 4 months.

Travel expenses will be covered.

To apply for the internships, please send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. CV and covering letter, explaining why you would like to work for MEOKO, what you will bring to the position and listing  your three favourite artists and three favourite labels.

Please write 'MEOKO Summer Internship 2016 – editorial' or 'MEOKO Summer Internship 2016 – graphic design' in the subject case.

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