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 Switzerland, the Zürich-based electronic talent Toma Hawk (aka Thomas Kolar).
What’s it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your time during the pandemic? Of course, the situation everywhere has been very difficult – and still is. But, for us as a family, it went quite well. We had so many restrictions, but not quite “locked up.” I’ve spent a lot of time in the studio and a lot of time taking care of all projects – but, of course, no gigs. That hurts.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? Sure, there were many performances planned this year and, sadly, the whole festival season which did not take place. Besides the music, I have a digital communication agency with 10 people and we fortunately didn’t run out of work. So, it has hit others much more.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? Toma Hawk and also Lakota Music are still young projects. That’s why we didn’t really expect any income this year even before the pandemic. So, we were not as dependent on the releases as others. But with all the experience we have gained this year, we have already found possible channels for the future, which can generate some income from the musical area. As already mentioned, you can’t count on gigs and label nights at the moment, so you have to be creative.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? My latest production is a techno track called “Build Love.” As we are in the process of building up, we have enough other important elements to promote. One label has become two in total – Lakota Music and Lakota Raw – there are about 20 releases on both labels until the end of the year, new artists are on board, which we strongly support and also the Lakota Radio Show has been added, which has established itself very well. We have many more ideas and plans. We are always trying to reinvent ourselves. I personally have to be careful not to do too much or want to do too much [laughs].
What’s in your studio? I’ve worked from the beginning – 25 years ago – with Cubase as a sequencer in studio. Here in my home base, I work more digital. But I do love some legendary hardware like the whole Roland palette or Novation, Virus, Moog Prodigy. On the synth/plug-in side, one of my recent favorites is Hexeract – very powerful. I also like to work with Nexus [from reFX]. I’m actually not so fussy here and always like to try something new – the same with new tools and plug-ins.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? For years, my everyday life has consisted of the digital world, which is somehow “social distancing.” For me, however, personal contact with people in real life has always been extremely important. In this time, you have really felt how strong the music of that one special moment lives in the club, at the concert, at the festival, and how feelings and memories arise from it. This is and remains almost impossible to replace digitally.
What have you done online recently? Yes, the Lakota Radio Show, which is broadcast weekly on Thursday at 7 p.m. on various Facebook pages. There, we always present guests, news from the scene, etc. We deliberately did it without live mixes a little bit. It was a real wave and since the Lakota Radio Show is also broadcast on FM stations in various countries, we stuck to the actual “radio concept.”
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? U2’s “With Or Without You.”
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Use the time you have to do things you’ve wanted to do, spend time with your family, be creative, take care of others. We will all meet again on the dancefloor!
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.