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 Asia, the recently married, Bali-based, bass-music duo ARIUS (aka Matt Nguyen and Tessa Lizz).
How did you spend most of your pandemic time? We have spent all of our time making music, shooting music videos, parenting and building our online businesses – most notably our merch line.
Have things changed over time? Things have changed a lot. It forced us to push extra hard, so we did not fall behind. Obviously, things in America have been a bit exhausting, so we left the country and are currently living in Bali!
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? We had a country-wide headline tour booked, but lost all shows of 2020, including two sets at EDC. This year was the 10-year anniversary of when we met at EDC 2010, so that was really sad – but it is what it is. Twenty-twenty is probably the year we won’t count anyways [laughs].
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? We’ve been creating merch for our fans, and they’ve been extremely supportive towards us. We signed a deal with Create Music Group earlier this year, and their support has also helped us a lot in terms of being able to afford expenses for the releases and music videos.
Have you learned anything in the downtime? We learned how to design clothes, surf, fly board, and how to think outside the box to keep moving forward. We realized how important it is to know how to stay home and make money through the internet and maximize through our social-media platforms.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? We have been creating more than ever this year – two music videos filmed in Hawaii and Bali. Adapting to the social media game every day is a job in itself!
For example, any releases during this period? We have an EP coming out on Circus Records in January, our third single with Create Music Group, a single on Excision’s new record label, Subsidia Records, and many more to come.
What’s in your studio? We are traveling abroad right now, so it’s just a Mac, guitar, set of CDJs and [Native Instruments] Maschine.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? We’ve learned a lot, but we’ve been most surprised by the fact that we are able to continue to grow ARIUS and make money without touring. As an artist, when you’re touring regularly, it’s really all you think about in terms of income… but there are a lot of other ways to monetize your business outside of performing at shows.
Have you done anything online recently? We just did a 25 Days of DJing videos challenge on our Instagram – it ran until Christmas. We also launched our new company Crystal Body Drip, which is a CBD, bath/body/wellness based company, and we revamped our second company, Lit Unicorns, which is a wigs/lashes company.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Balance is everything. You can’t be in the studio too long or work too much. Gotta get in some sun, work out, do fun activities that are not work-related. Catch up with your friends and family as frequently as possible. Find your passion, stay consistent and smash your goals!
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.