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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 blossoming electronic SoCal based duo, Niiko x SWAE (aka Nikolaus Becker and Mark Manchester).

Niiko x SWAE, Los Angeles, HEXAGON

How did you spend most of your pandemic time? The pandemic allowed us to focus on new productions. We were able to hone in on the sound we had been trying to achieve and we ended up creating our favorite songs ever during the lockdown. We were also able to focus on content, primarily Instagram and TikTok.

Have things changed over time? Yes, over time the quality of our music has increased. We are very proud of how these new songs have turned out. Although we have been able to focus on music, we miss playing live and miss it more and more every day. 

Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? We had to skip out on a lot of shows we had lined up this year. This included our residency at Hakkasan in Las Vegas, as well as, other shows we had planned in Dallas and San Diego.   

Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? We are just focusing on releasing music. We are also building some small brand partnerships. 

Have you learned anything in the downtime? We have been watching a lot of other producer’s YouTube channels and Twitch streams. We have been soaking in a lot of knowledge and implementing them in our own productions. 

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? We have released a few tracks after taking a one-year hiatus. We wanted to halt the releases until we fully established the music direction we wanted to go in. For us, that was house music. We have been super-stoked on the latest releases, especially getting some of them signed to a few of our dream labels. 

What’s in your studio? Currently, we are using [a Universal Audio] Apollo Twin interface into Yamaha HS7 [powered monitors]. We have a few effect pedals – Eventide Space, Empress Chorus, Aquarius Delay – that we run as outboard gear. We also have a [Fender] Road Worn 50’s Telecaster guitar, a Fender Blues Deluxe tube amp, and SWAE’s EWI [Electronic Wind Instrument]. Finally, we have our seasonal; friend in our studio – “Stanley the Snowman.” 

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? The most surprising thing we learned about ourselves during quarantine? We fully can’t sit still. 

Have you done anything online recently? We are doing a Bandsintown live-stream as well as an Insomniac one. We also post on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok frequently so be sure to keep up with us @Niikoxswae.

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? It is good to exercise and eat healthy! We have been using this juicer we recently bought. Also, maintain your relationships and check in with your friends – whether it’s a simple DM, text, or Facetime. 

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

DJ Times Magazine is copyright © 2020 by DJ Publishing, Inc.