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 The Netherlands, the Amsterdam-based electronic talent Naizon (aka Yassine Mokdad).
What’s it like where you’re living? How have you spent most of your time during the pandemic? Here in Holland, the lockdown didn’t feel too bad. Actually, there were less restrictions in comparison to other countries – although, stricter restrictions have recently been brought in. I spent most of my time working on my brand, lots of studio sessions, creating new music and learning new techniques. The closure of nightclubs and bars has pushed me in the direction of creating my own radio show Naiz:ON AIR, which is growing globally each day.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? If so, very briefly, what kind? Luckily, as I have been working on my music production, I didn’t lose any [radio] gigs. Hopefully, the hard work will pay off once we have the COVID-19 situation under control. Until then, I will use my radio show to get people more into the tech-house genres and build my brand.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? Besides of my radio show, I have a big project coming up soon that hopefully will turn everything around… I definitely learned that nothing that’s material lasts forever. We can’t take for granted what we have and get too comfortable with it. The music industry took a massive hit due to the pandemic, it made “us,” the artists, think outside of the box and appreciate more the simpler things like radio and streaming.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? We released “Pause” back in May. And yes, there are a few releases planned in the near future. It is more difficult now to impress a good record label with a track, as a lot of artists have more time on their hands to produce music. I’m also hoping to get some big-name guests on my radio show very soon.
What do you use in the studio? I use Ableton Live. It’s very simple to use, has a very easy interface, is very intuitive and also sounds really good, too! Other go-to items include Spire Studio from iZotope, then Serum [from Xfer Records]. The only hardware I use is my sound interface from RME, but I will upgrade to a Universal Audio Apollo x4. It has such a great audio interface game changer!
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? I’m a very social person – or used to be – I absolutely love people and crowds. Since we have been forced to keep our distance when out and about, I’ve noticed that the distancing became a new normal for me. I also enjoying work more and staying at home. It’s not that boring to just stay at home anymore.
Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? My radio show is uploaded weekly on radio stations mostly. I’ve seen loads of live-stream shows online and have really enjoyed them all. I haven’t done any myself, but one of the best ones for me was from Gustavo Mota. He always manages to do the show from nice places, not just by using a green screen, and that makes it very cool to watch! Also, he’s choice of music is on-point!
Plus, I think I’ve watched all of the past shows of Boris Brejcha. I absolutely love his shows!
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” definitely! I don’t like to be touched anymore [laughs].
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Try doing what you love. If you can’t do what you love, then find something else that you love a bit less that can still make you happy. Don’t quit! In reality, no one really cares if you quit or not – whatever you do, do it for yourself. Stay positive. It’s all about the energy that we send to the universe. We attract what we feel.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.