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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 Our Nation’s Capital, the Washington, D.C.-based mashup talent Jessa le Carre (aka dJESSa).

Jessa le Carre, Washington, D.C., Rokebae Records

How did you spend most of your pandemic time? Here in The District, I’ve been spending my time focused on music. I have completed about five original songs during that time. No one has heard them yet, but they are all very relatable tracks. One of my favorite songs I’ve completed in this time is called, “Is It Love?” It’s a song about questioning if a feeling is either love or lust.

Have things changed over time? I still spend almost 100-percent of my time locked down right now. It’s actually a relief for me to be in one place. It gives me the focus I need to complete my upcoming album. I am addicted to experiencing the world, so it can be difficult for me to sit in one place and do some of the lengthier tasks necessary in the studio. I’ve been spending a lot of time mastering and doing last-minute tweaks on tracks I hope to release before the end of the year. 

Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? I write for other artists in the industry and, yes, I’ve definitely seen a difference in work coming in. People are really hurting right now – financially, mentally, and spiritually. Also, most of my gigs lately have been sending in sets to various radio shows around the world. I think the future will involve a lot more online-based gigs. I’ve never seen this as such a bad thing, since it brings the whole world together for the music. 

Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? My “real-world” job is investment analysis and I am constantly talking to people who might be a worthy investment opportunity. My focus lately has been primarily on the music industry. It’s not great having to move interviews and research completely online, but so far progress is still possible. I’ve been in talks with some upcoming rappers and pop stars that I hope will make some serious waves in the years to come! I’ve also been licensing my own music to more resources than I thought possible before the pandemic. TV, ads, and even video games are planning to use my music. I think artists are able to be more creative in where and how to sell their music nowadays. Licensing opportunities seem more accessible than ever before. 

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period?You” came out this summer. I’ve been working on a private project lately that I hope I can launch as soon as possible. It involves my more-tame house music meshed with soothing, vocal-based meditation. I simply stripped away some of the regular vocals of a few upcoming tracks and layered them instead with instructional meditation. I plan to give this series away for free on both my Facebook and YouTube accounts. I feel the world is in desperate need of healing and that’s exactly what I was put on this planet to do. 

What’s in your studio? What’s your process for making mashups? First, I make my initial mashups on Ableton Live. I usually make an entire hour-long mix at the same time, working between each track. It all becomes very interconnected in the end. Then, I spend an endless amount of time fully mastering each aspect of the mix. I’m hoping my new Behringer Wing [digital mixer] can help my mastering process even more since there are added options to handle all these sounds at once. Once the mix is figured out, I split the entire set into 15-minute chunks that have trails in order to mix them and then I simply DJ between these. While I’m not mixing the core set, I like to incorporate live aspects. My favorite addition would be to use my [Pioneer DJ] RMX-1000 [Remix Station] to give it an extra live flavor. But, in the future, I have plans for even more live aspects, including both instrumentals and vocals. 

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? How fragile the EDM industry is. This is something I have known for quite some time now, but it is more obvious than ever. What surprises me lately are artists that have left the industry altogether because of financial reasons. I’m also surprised at how little provocation it has taken for people all around the world to turn on one another. Politics and social issues aside, we are all human beings sharing the exact same air on this planet and there is no point in making it a toxic place to be! I genuinely hope that we can all find mutual love for one another. If not anything else, music will save us – if we allow it to. 

Have you done anything online recently? I have not had a chance to stream any live sets. I primarily use my SoundCloud account to share my DJ sets. I think Twitch is a cool platform moving forward to include both video and music streaming. I plan to use this as well as my Facebook page to stream sets moving forward. 

Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? I love my own mashup of Bob Marley – “Sun is Shining.” I created it years ago during a particularly chaotic time in my life and intentionally made it sound otherworldly and brazen. When I need more relaxed vibe to settle the 2020 anxieties, I put on “How Did We Get Here” by offrami. I prefer songs with minimal vocals when trying to zone out and de-stress. 

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? I’m a huge yoga and fitness nut. I genuinely believe the body is strong enough to carry our minds through the most difficult of times. Those who deny their bodies the stretch, strength and expression required will always have a more difficult time in life. I encourage everyone to put down their phones and technology for a short time every day and focus on their personal wellness – mind, body, and soul. There are a number of meditation apps that can be helpful. To me, the biggest healer of all is always music. I think it’s important we figure out how to combine these aspects somehow in order to achieve the ultimate impact and protection for ourselves.

To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.

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