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 northeastern Spain, the Zaragoza-based techno talent Gaston Zani.
What’s it like where you’re living? Were you locked down? How have you spent most of your pandemic time? I believe that it was the same here as most countries, as everything stopped in Spain in early March. Since then, all the clubs here have been closed. In the summer session, there was only some open-air events in the day time, but under strict safety regulations with no more than 300 capacity allowed. In my case, the local restrictions meant I could not move outside the city limits of Zaragoza. Apart from that, my life did not change too much, and I’ve been spending most of the time in the studio or working on my label.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? If so, very briefly, what kind? Unfortunately, yes. I had a summer tour planned with lots of festivals performances in Spain, France, Peru, Chile and Argentina, plus others. But due to the pandemic, I have not played a gig since early March. I have still been releasing music, but the industry’s overall income from music sales has fallen… DJs don’t have gigs and people have less expendable cash for non-essentials such as music.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? I am actually working on my first sample pack focused on raw techno, and I hope that many producers will find it useful for their own projects. I haven’t learned anything totally new during the lockdown period, but have spent time improving my existing skills. Some of my main focuses have included production skills, making videos, Photoshop, and polishing up my social-media pages.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? My latest release is “Nelu,” and I’m actively working on a lot of new music and collaborations and the latest tracks I’ve put out were on strong labels such as 1605, We Are The Brave, Octopus, EI8HT and my own one we(R)aw. I’ve been working really hard to keep my standing in the industry, as not playing gigs makes it much harder to keep interacting with fans.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? I’ve started to buy some synths and other production gear to change how I put my tracks together. In the past I’ve done tracks using only plug-ins and samples, but it’s my plan is to start building a live set-up and work on something different for the future. I want to do a live show where I can improvise to create new bits of impromptu music while I’m playing.
Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I’ve done a couple of Facebook and Instagram streams for Spanish event promoters, and also re-streamed some of my past shows that I have recorded from when clubs were still open. To be honest, I haven’t actually watched any live streams myself though, as in order to focus on my own music I decided to minimize distractions.
Any themed tunes recommended for the moment? Actually, my own track “Something 4 Your Mind” is probably one that I created recently that has an a cappella sample from C’hantal’s “The Realm.” It’s quite an inspiring vocal that reminds of how powerful music is even without dancing. So, in many ways, it was a very inspirational thing to hear during these months of relative isolation… especially as it talks about the mind being a realm, as to keep sane, and imagine a world with normality. I think we have all been living in our minds to some extent!
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Stay active and use social media to connect with people you can’t see in the real world. Try to stay away from negative thoughts, and be patient, as one day this will all be over. Try your best to enjoy the simple things in life and use this time to reconnect with inner yourself… I wish everyone all the best for the end of 2020, and hope everyone stays healthy until the vaccine makes the world safe again. The end is in sight, so stay strong!
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.