When the Coronavirus shut us down, clubs and festivals ceased, and everyone was essentially forced inside with no definitive end in sight, DJ Times wondered: How is our tribe coping? How are DJs getting by? So, we sent out our “Coronavirus Questionnaire” to DJ/producers from all musical genres to find out.
During the crisis, DJ Times will be presenting the questionnaire responses from talented music-makers from all over the world. Here’s another installment from Europe – Berlin’s eclectic studio maven Hannes Bieger.
Hannes Bieger, Awesome Soundwave, Berlin, Germany
What’s it like where you are? I am currently in the Bahamas, weighing options when and how to return home. I was on tour in the U.S. when everything got cancelled and shut down. This right now was long planned as the holiday leg of my trip, but I spent the better part of my time here dealing with and arranging a number of things, as I am deeply affected by the current situation, like anyone. Things are still mostly normal over here, but the news situation is changing on an hourly basis, and I’m pretty sure Berlin will be under lockdown once I get back home. Probably, I’ll have a handful days more here, trying to stay calm and getting as much sunlight as possible, bolstering the immune system for what’s to come.
Have you lost income-producing work? My current tour was cancelled while I was traveling, and all my upcoming shows, like anyone’s, are cancelled or postponed, too. My studio business is on hold right now, as I completed all unfinished projects before my departure, and I wasn’t planning to accept new jobs until my originally planned return to Berlin in mid-April. A good portion of my studio work always has been unattended mixing with clients from all over the world – something that technically wouldn’t be affected by a Corona lockdown. But how much work there will be in the short term, I have yet to see. At some point, all the music which people are starting to make right now will have to be mixed, but I can’t make any predictions about the near future. It is worrying indeed.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? I’ll really get back to that, hopefully, after my return to Berlin.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? The first thing right now is to stay calm and not lose my mind… trying to get at least something out of these strangest holidays I’ve ever had hopefully will give me strength for what lies ahead. I’ve always tried to see unexpected challenges as opportunities to grow somehow, and I hope this will be the case somehow this time as well. In the longer run, we’ll have to just carry on and make the most of this unexpected pause – writing music, rewiring parts of the studio, things like that. Just a small example: My studio Mac still runs on Mac OS 10.8.5, as I never found the time to do the update, I was simply way too busy. Now I will have time to take care of it.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? I have posted an adaptation of my favorite Michelle Obama adage on my socials a few days ago: “The crisis won’t change who you are, it will reveal who you are!” I was surprised how fast this would actually prove true.
Have you considered doing anything online like a Facebook Live mix? My live set gear is in storage in the U.S., and I’m not sure whether I will be able to pick it up on my way back home, or whether it will have to be shipped back to me at a later date. Plus, the internet in the Bahamas isn’t the most stable one. But I announced “Hannes’s Homework” on my socials recently – I will try and post a short inspirational video with some advice for everybody’s studio work every day, and I have been overwhelmed with the positive feedback so far.
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? Anything that comes to my mind right now is too sarcastic to share….
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? My feeling right now is that our community, as a whole, will emerge stronger from this situation. The industry can be so competitive, and right now it seems many people are starting to remember that we’re ultimately all sitting in the same boat. People suddenly start to call each other, have conversations beyond simple business matters. It is not just about taking, it’s also about giving something back, and this notion certainly has gotten a bit lost in our industry lately. My newborn “Hannes’s Homework” project and all the incredible feedback so far shows me that people want to belong, want to communicate, want to learn and grow, and if I can contribute a small part to that, it will be a great thing. Also, I’m not sure when and where this will be, but I will play my next show at some point. And picturing that energy in my mind, that sense of liberation and relief, is very powerful. What a moment that will be! Yet until then, we’ll have learned to be more humble and grateful, for sure.
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