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 Michigan, the Detroit-based electronic talent Noël Jackson.
What’s it like where you’re living? I’ve been locked down in Detroit since mid-March. I take it very seriously, and haven’t travelled or really done much more than walk a few miles outside. I can tell it’s had an effect on everyone, but for myself, my day-to-day life is not much different than before the pandemic hit. Working in technology and with music has always had me in the home lab, creating and keeping busy. The only thing that’s changed is that I haven’t been able to see the one person that I truly love, for far too long, and that’s been heartbreaking. It’s helped me to put my energy into my work; I’ve had a prolific output of material this year that should last me at least until the end of the next year.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? I don’t gig anymore. It’s never been for me, honestly. I love to be social, but the politics of dancing have always been exhausting. I always keep a long runway of work up my sleeve, so fortunately I haven’t been destroyed by the pandemic. But I’ve absolutely lost or had to alter some work, and it’s absolutely exhausting. The push to change how I work to support myself better in these new times has been terrifying and exhilarating.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? I mix and master records, program music, engineer, so all of that has kept me very busy. I release my own music, and I have a full LP ready for next year as well. My new newsletter on music, art, engineering, and acoustics is also picking up some subscriptions and will launch in a month or so. Since the pandemic, it’s increased the amount of work I have for music, since more people are consuming music while at home, and listening in different ways. I’m always learning, and have a ton of tech projects I’m working on, studios I’m consulting on, and music to make. Looking forward to putting out some of the hip-hop tracks I’ve had a hand in. All in all, it’s been a highly productive few months for myself.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? Yes, my latest release is the “Grateful” EP on Superfreq. I have released 15-plus tracks since March, with more on the way. But, that is all techno, all on Superfreq. And, I’ll continue to do that. I have an Ariana Grande remix I worked on with Mr. C that we will be dropping sometime soon as well. But, I’ve always felt that I need to push my boundaries a bit. So I’ll be focusing a lot on putting out a lot more genre-bending tracks and dipping my hands into the music world that’s far outside the realm of house and techno.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? Maybe not most surprising, but the most important is: love always wins, and the longest distance between two people is a misunderstanding.
Have you done anything online? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I think all the social networks are nonsense [laughs], and I’m reconstructing the way I communicate online. My new newsletter will soon be up and running, and I’m really excited about communicating with people directly about everything. As well, Damian Taylor runs a stream on Twitch, and you can find me there every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at 8:30 a.m., Pacific Time. He is a six-time Grammy- nominated producer and engineer, with credits from Björk to The Prodigy and so on. I sit around and chat and learn from him and the amazing crew he’s formed. I also post on his private Complete Producer Network about everything from acoustics to mixing and pictures of my cat.
Any themed tunes recommended for the moment? Lil Baby’s “The Bigger Picture” is the only track that resonates with me.
Any advice on staying sane and relatively positive through this situation? It’s the same advice as normal: love deeply, be honest, and live a life of integrity.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.