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 Canada, the Toronto-based electronic talent Sara Simms.
What’s it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your time? In Toronto, we were in lockdown earlier this year and it lifted over the summer – but now we’re back in it again. I focused on releasing tracks on my label Simmetry Sounds, produced a DJ video on my YouTube channel for Native Instruments and mixes for L.A.’s 6AM Group and Detroit’s Sillygirlcarmen’s Wonderful Radio. At the beginning of quarantine, I performed a few streams on my Twitch, and filmed a set for Charivari Detroit’s online festival.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? Yes, I lost all my live gigs, as all DJs have, but I am staying positive. I have faith I’ll be able to perform again after this time passes.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? I work together with Mixed In Key and I’ve been doing a lot of cool projects with them. I work with a few other brands, and post links to products I like in my YouTube video descriptions and on Linktree.
Have you learned anything in the downtime? I’ve learned a lot about music production and how to make techno this year. I’ve been learning production techniques from my mentors John La Magna, a Juno-award winning Canadian producer, and Maarten Vorwerk. These two are both such talented producers, I’m grateful to be able to learn from them. I also learned more about how to film using a green screen and stream with OBS
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? This year I released two tracks on my label Simmetry Sounds. My first release was “Finally” feat. Miami’s JEI. She’s a great artist who has released tracks on Ministry of Sound and Defected Records. “Finally” received support from Tracy Young, who is the first female producer to win a Grammy for the Best Remixed Recording. My latest release is “Bronx,” which is available on all digital platforms. It’s a unique techno track – and my dad played the trumpet on it.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? I’ve learned a lot about the power of the law of attraction during quarantine. The people who are meant to be in your life and want to be a part of it are going to communicate with you, no matter how far away they are. I think one of the most surprising things I’ve learned recently is about who wants to be in my life, and on what level. I’ve learned a lot about dating, relationships, friendship and even how to communicate better via text. It’s a fun distraction from all the music work.
Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I’ve been in the studio recently and working on promo for my new release, “Bronx,” so I haven’t been streaming as much. I’ve watched quite a few streams, and really enjoyed Charlotte de Witte’s streams and Amelie Lens’ recent “Higher” EP launch live-stream with Beatport. Tiësto performed a great two-hour stream with Beatport for a fundraising campaign a few months ago. I thought that Charivari Detroit did a great job streaming their festival, and the Movement Detroit stream was excellent.
Any pandemic-theme tunes recommended for the moment? This is a funny question! One of the most creative quarantine songs I heard was Eliza May’s “Stay Home (Corona Song),” which she made from sounds she recorded in her house.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? It’s important to be happy and content no matter what the external circumstances are. I recommend keeping a daily schedule that includes exercise, eating healthy and staying in touch with friends and family. I started more boxing this year – with a mask on! – to keep in shape physically and mentally. I recommend making the most of the time by staying busy with creative projects. Move forward knowing that the good times and show business will return one day, and in the meantime, appreciate what you have, and who you have in your life.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.