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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 our latest installment, this time from Scandinavia, Finland’s glitchy electronic talent Rony Rex (aka Rony Vartio).

Rony Rex, Youth Control, Helsinki, Finland
What’s it like where you are? My girlfriend and I are holed up on an island in the Finnish archipelago. We expect to spend at least a month here, so I packed a lightweight studio setup and converted an old shed into a lab. I’m surprised how busy the weeks have been so far and look forward to getting to the point where I actually feel bored. That’s unlikely to happen any time soon, as in addition to the studio setup, I also run my weekly radio show on Finnish national radio station, YleX, from here. The internet connection is a bit sketchy, though, so it’s a gamble – but, so far, so good.

What income-producing work have you lost? All my bookings have been canceled until early June. I already started to prepare for the summer being canceled, too. I also lost a few big ad campaigns that I was supposed to be a part of, as the companies have run into cash-flow trouble. Still, I’m lucky, as I’m safe, working on new music, keeping it moving with some savings, as opposed to many creatives who are getting into financial limbo or having to lay off staff.

Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? In addition to making music for release, as usual, I’m planning to run an online DJ workshop from here. It’s been in the back of my head for years so it’s nice to finally have time to make it happen.

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? This summer spot out in the Finnish archipelago is my favorite place in the world – I’m at peace here. I haven’t really had time to come here before for more than just a few times a year. It’s just silence, nature and the sea. Trying to cut down on anything unnecessary work-related, only making new music, radio and a weekly live stream. There’s no travel, no performance stress or late hours, which is a welcome change. I’m reading a lot, just sitting, staring at the sea when I can. Writing down thoughts and ideas as they come is a habit that’s never really sunk in for me, but now might be the time.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? That the world moves way too fast. I think we really don’t have to live as hectic lives as we do. Maybe we’ll even be happier if we can adapt to slowing things down?

What are you doing online now? I’ve done live streamed sets for years from all kinds of weird places like a cave, a shark tank, a warship, a plane and so on. That means I have the gear, plus I have a partnership with Red Bull available. As I’m now isolated on this island, I’m doing a weekly series of streams where it’s really stripped-down – basically, there’s no production. I’m just sitting in the woods or on a rock somewhere with CDJs in my lap, pushing buttons, playing long hours. Tune in every Saturday on my Facebook to see some flannel shirts and raw Finnish nature. In Finland, a bunch of different key players from across the scenes grouped together and created this virtual club where you create a character and then you get to interact with other clubbers, as DJs play live from their living rooms – it’s dope.

Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? One of the first tunes I made while social distancing in the cabin is called “Fast.” I hope the message holds true and we all get through this ASAP. Also, Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own.”

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Breathe, slow it down, see what’s essential in your life and work, and what might be extra. Be kind to yourself, and then allow that energy to pass on to others. Check in with friends, listen, help. We’ll get through this, and hopefully, be a bit wiser and kinder after.

To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.

DJ Times Magazine is copyright © 2020 by DJ Publishing, Inc.