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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 this period, DJ Times will continue presenting the questionnaire responses from talented music-makers from all over the world. Here’s our latest entry, this time from Germany, the Hamburg-based, house-music maker Tensnake (aka Marco Niemerski).

Tensnake, True Romance/Armada Music, Hamburg, Germany

What’s it like where you’re living? I am currently living in Hamburg and, in Germany like most other countries, we still have a lot of restrictions affecting our public life.

Have you lost important gigs, or income-producing work? I took it easy at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, as I knew that I would be touring again to promote my album, which comes out this Fall. Then, the pandemic kicked in and all my gigs and tours were cancelled. I am in a lucky position, as I’ve always written and produced my own music, so I do have income from streaming, digital sales and doing remixes for other artists. It does not really make up for the lost live income, but it certainly helps a lot. Otherwise, I would not know what to do right now. I am really worried that a big part of the arts-and-entertainment culture will be wiped out and won’t come back for a while.

Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? I did a bunch of remixes recently – for Duke Dumont, Oliver Helden, and Dua Lipa, to name a few – and I am very grateful for these opportunities. Other than that, I have my own label True Romance, which continues to release music, mostly from other artists. I’ve kept on writing new music myself as well. Hopefully, next year we will be able to do some gigs in countries that are not as affected by the pandemic anymore.

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? I am in the middle of releasing an album, which is keeping me quite busy and it certainly is exciting – hopefully, more people will be checking out my music. Apart from that, I try to learn something new here and there, checking out other DAWs or plug-ins, etc. I am also learning Blender at the moment. It is a fantastic, open-source, 3D-design program – the possibilities are endless. It has a pretty steep learning curve, but as it is open-source, it is free and worth checking out. I’m not sure if it will help my music career, but it is fun and it’s also keeping me sane.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? I already had a glimpse before, but I realized that I need way fewer things to be happy than I previously thought. When the lockdown happened, I cooked every day at home for four months straight, I started going for walks, discovered the nature around me and checked in on friends and family more frequently than before. Suddenly, I spent less money on things like eating out, buying new clothes – wearing PJs on the sofa was fine – and felt weirdly happy even though the world felt like it was falling apart left and right. I’d like to think that amidst all of the bad stuff happening right now, there is also a real opportunity for change, and I really plan to do a few things differently when things hopefully get back to normal.

Have you considered doing anything online like a live- stream? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I just did my first streamed DJ set. It was for Secret Project – the L.A.-based festival put on by Insomniac. I’d just moved into a new place and my studio is not fully set up yet. So, I recorded it in the living room and, unfortunately, my neighbor was not too crazy about the bass. I had to turn it down a lot. If I had to choose, I’d prefer to play in front of people and spend my time now working on new music. Apart from that, I checked out a few streams in the beginning of lockdown. I really enjoyed the D-Nice and Love Generator streams.

Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? “I’ll Be Back” by Kindness, and for the time where most planes are grounded… “Astral Traveling” by Pharoah Sanders could work too. Also, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk.

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? I feel like everyone is on-edge lately. I can only speak for myself, but I try to stay off social media. I think it can get very unhealthy to be caught up in your own bubble. Meet your friends, go outside, do fun stuff. Life has not stopped – it is just very different right now. I just hope everyone is doing well and we will see each other again one day for a big, big party.

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

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