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 is presenting the questionnaire responses from talented music-makers from all over the world. Here’s our latest entry, this time from the French-speaking part of Switzerland, the currently Geneva-based tech-house talent Quenum (aka Philippe Quenum).
What’s it like where you are? To be honest, I’ve been working nonstop, perhaps even more than before since I have no distractions. I’ve been working on my music, working with my team on many things, taking care of stuff that I had neglected or didn’t have time to do before. In one way, I’ve been super-busy, especially with my music production.
How are you getting by? Life in lockdown is difficult to manage over time. You can’t go out, you can’t see your friends and, after all this time, I feel I am in a routine that can get a bit heavy at times. It’s a crazy situation that our generation has not known before and I hope we come out of this.
You moved in the middle of all this? I spent most of the lockdown in London, which, as you know, was not so nice. Since June, I am back in Switzerland, where I am a resident, and it’s so different. Here, everything is managed so well, all the restaurants are open, people are much more relaxed, probably because it’s been well-managed. I can do most of everything I did before, except for a few hugs and kisses, but it’s really good here in Switzerland.
What income-producing work have you lost? Like many other DJs, my gigs disappeared overnight. I lost mostly some festival dates for the summer, and I had also planned a tour in South America that was scheduled to take off in April. Like many of my colleagues, I’m sad and worried about this. I tried to make the best out of it and I’ve been able to work hard in the studio and on lots of future projects.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? I’ve been working on a lot of things on top of producing music, things that artists today have to do, especially with communications. So that involves keeping up your social-media presence. I’ve also done a photoshoot with Dan Reid – a super-cool guy. We had fun being on his parents’ farm in Hampshire. My team has been helping a lot with registering hundreds of tracks on Suisa, Bandcamp, etc. – all these platforms that will produce income in the long term, even if it’s not huge amounts. I think this shows how difficult it is for musicians today, especially when you make money from gigs, but hardly nothing from your main product, your music.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? I was lucky that before the lockdown I had been super-busy in the studio, especially working with great producers like Mathew Jonson and Rich NxT, who are good mates. So this year is super-busy for me with releases and collaborations. I released an EP, “We Are Together,” on Davide Squillace’s label, This And That. I’ve also brought out an EP, “Valley of True People,” on Rebellion. There will be a lot more stuff in the coming months. On top of the previous work I had done in studio at the beginning of the year, the lockdown was super-productive for me, as I had nothing else to do but work on music. I will also share a little secret with you: I’m working on a solo album. It’s still within electronic music, but with a wider range. I’ve worked with my son, who is a pianist, and also with a young London rapper. My musical universe is large and I’m very open-minded to all kinds of music, so that’s what I’ve been trying to explore with my album project.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? The most surprising thing I’ve realized is how much I miss the connection with people, no more shaking hands, no more kissing or hugging, having to speak at a distance. All that is very hard for me. Sometimes when I was out running, people would move out of the way, really take their distance, like if I was a super-dangerous person. That made me feel strange.
Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ’s video streams that impressed you? I haven’t done any live-streams. I’ve seen a few, but honestly, I wasn’t impressed by most. At the beginning of lockdown, I found it cool. But after a while, the interest wore off, and there was just too much of that stuff, I found it banal.
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? You could always go with “Isolation” by John Lennon. Personally, I’ve been listening a lot to my mate Christophe Calpini’s new album [OCT4V], and especially the track “The Wrong Enemy” (feat. Lyn M).
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? In normal times, I’m a big runner. That’s the recipe for my health and sanity… so even more in these times. I went out to exercise every day in London and I can tell you I’ve never seen so many people jogging and doing all kinds of sports. I’ve been running more than usual, and also added here and there a few long walks.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
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