Eric and Brian Nam on normalizing mental health conversations through passion project MINDSET

Eric and Brian Nam on normalizing mental health conversations through passion project MINDSET

It's about time the world tears down the stigma surrounding mental health conversations.

Brothers Eric, Brian, and Eddie Nam aim to mold a safe and judgement-free space for fans and to let them realize they are not alone in their struggles. With their collaborative app MINDSET, a compelling and relatable story audio collection told by artists and celebrities, their goal becomes a lot closer and clearer for those seeking encouragement and solace.

MINDSET gives fans and listeners the opportunity to speak openly about mental health and the hardships they face daily. "No conversation is left off the table and talking about these hard moments in our lives shouldn't be something to be ashamed of," Eric tells Bandwagon of the passion project, which also humanizes stardom as it raises awareness around mental health.


Bandwagon caught up with Eric and Brian Nam to talk about the creation of MINDSET by DIVE Studios, how fans could benefit from the audio collections, and more.

Hi, Eric and Brian! How are you guys doing in spite of everything happening in the world today?

Brian: This past year has been extremely challenging—from the pandemic to the social uprisings to the economic hardships and now bizarre weather—everyone has experienced this time in uniquely difficult ways. We haven’t been without our own hardships, but overall I think we’ve been very lucky to be able to be near family and create content that we’re passionate about together.

Eric: I totally agree, this year has tested everyone in different ways and I also think that when we look back on this time we’ll always think of the people we got through it with and as artists, what we made during the quarantine. Some of the greatest creative works were made during similar periods of isolation.

As an artist, it’s been a really incredible experience to use this time to put my head down and go to work with my brothers, Brian and Eddie at DIVE Studios and launch MINDSET. When we look back on this time, I think we’ll always remember the pain and hardship, but also what we build together and I think that’s something we’ll always be proud of.

DIVE Studios has been consistently doing well in the past couple of years, what made you decide to go in a slightly different direction and start MINDSET?

Brian: The launch of DIVE Studios has been more successful than we could have imagined. In a little over a year, DIVE Studios has gained more than 720,000 Spotify subscribers, 1.8 million followers across social media channels and surpassed more than 35 million total downloads and over 65 million YouTube views. With numbers like that, we immediately knew there was a huge appetite for what we were doing. 

The decision to tackle mental health by creating the MINDSET app and audio collections is a huge passion project of ours and a culmination of our learnings from creating podcasts and audio content. We wanted to enable meaningful conversations around mental health, in particular by opening up personal stories from celebrities.

Eric: One of the things that we noticed immediately in creating MINDSET is that the mental health challenges that celebrities face are extremely relatable—especially in this year that has tested us all mentally and emotionally.

Stories of depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, etc. are stories that anyone and everyone can relate to. So many people have suffered alone and in silence, out of fear of being judged for who they are or what they may be going through. The MINDSET app and the audio collections—think “Audible” for mental health—leverages the platform and reach of celebrities and artists to destigmatize and in turn, normalize struggles with and conversations around mental health.

The pandemic has given us time to reflect on ourselves and our lives, but it has also taken us away from people and things we love. How do you think MINDSET can help fans get through their challenging times?

Eric: What we love about the MINDSET audio collections is how open, honest, and relatable they are. Millions of people have experienced depression, anxiety, body image issues, and so many other mental health challenges. This year has amplified all of those feelings and left so many people feeling extremely isolated—both physically and emotionally.

The content on MINDSET will leave fans knowing that they are not alone in their struggles and that their favorite artists have gone through, or are even currently going through, some of the same issues that fans may be dealing with. You’ll find encouragement, solace, and a deeper relationship with artists through their collections. In addition, you’ll find their “Boosters” on the app. They are shorter in running time, but intended to really provide you with a kick of energy, help you relax, or boost your mood in whatever way you need. Audio is such a unique medium, and in my opinion, the only one that can create a very intimate and deep relationship between host and listener.

There’s something incredibly revealing and personal about audio, perhaps because listeners really focus on the words and messages while in the comforts of a safe setting. This sense of heightened personal connection, I think really allows fans and listeners to feel like they’re sitting with a close friend or ally sharing an intimate story.

Brian: I couldn’t agree more that that relationship between listener and host in audio content is maybe the most intimate in any form of any entertainment. I also think that the MINDSET audio collections can help fans get through the hard times we’re in, simply because each one is a story. Since the beginning of time, stories have been a form of escape. We’ve created some incredibly compelling, relatable story collections that fans can connect and engage with, and hopefully learn from.

There’s been a recent rise to discussing mental health issues openly in the K-pop industry, whether in songs or in conversation. How can MINDSET bring upon a change in addressing these sort of issues that may still be considered taboo?

Eric: Unfortunately, mental health conversations still have a major stigma attached to them. The MINDSET audio collections use personal stories to normalize the mental health challenges that so many people face every day. It’s a major step in having more conversations and opportunities to speak openly about mental health in a safe and judgement-free space.

I think our listeners will find very quickly that no conversation is left off the table and talking about these hard moments in our lives shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. Rather, they should empower and encourage all of us in knowing how capable we are of overcoming our challenges and in being human, Together.

How can MINDSET bridge the gap between being open and talking about feelings to seeking professional help (going to therapy, seeing a psychiatrist, etc)?

Brian: MINDSET is by no means a prescription or remedy for the mental health struggles people are going through. Through the stories in the MINDSET collections, listeners will learn about the solutions that worked (or didn’t) for hosts, but each person needs to tackle their own mental health challenges in their own way.

With MINDSET, we ultimately want to humanize stardom and normalize conversations around mental health and our hope is that the MINDSET collections will spark more conversations and awareness around mental health, and in turn, lead to more people seeking professional solutions.

Who are the artists we should look forward to seeing on MINDSET soon? Who else would you like to join the platform?

Eric: We’re so excited to already have so many great artists and celebrities creating their own MINDSET audio collections. Each brings their own raw, personal stories of struggle and growth. Listeners can obviously tune in to my collection, but can also be on the lookout for Mindsets from Tablo of Epik High and Jae of DAY6, and more artists to be announced in the near future.

While most of our activities will be restricted online due to the ongoing pandemic, are there any plans to take MINDSET beyond the online space? What else does MINDSET have in store for us in its first year?

Brian: MINDSET is designed to be a totally digital experience. While that’s perfect for the COVID-era it also has a life far beyond the pandemic. Before the pandemic, we saw audio entertainment really taking off with the explosion of the podcasting industry and platforms like Clubhouse.

Our plan at this point is to keep MINDSET in this originally intended format and to continue to sign on new voices to tell their unique stories on the platform, but as with all of our projects, we have fun twists and new features planned for the future.

What do you hope listeners will take away from their MINDSET experience?

Eric: With MINDSET, we really want everyone to know that mental health is important to our overall well being and that it’s very normal to experience challenges along the way.

We hope our listeners see that everyone has their own struggles. More than anything, we want this collection of stories to remind listeners that they are not alone. Sometimes life is really hard, this year has shown us all that, but humans are resilient. We hope that anyone struggling can find a story they can connect with and find the inspiration they need to make a change in their life, without feeling any kind of shame for needing help or experiencing these kinds of struggles. At the end of the day, we’re all humans, and we should be human, together.

Get MINDSET here.