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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 the U.K., the London-based underground talent Omid 16B (aka Omid Nourizadeh).

Omid 16B, London, U.K., aLOLa Records

What’s it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your pandemic time? My studio is in Central London, which isn’t far off from looking like a ghost town with most things shut or closed for good! Where I live in Putney is how it always is – quiet and green in most parts and people are just getting on with their lives the best they can. I finished my new album, SunTzu, during lockdown and also scored some music for a new short film that’s coming out very soon. It’s my first time composing for a film and let’s just say it wasn’t an easy task! I also moved my entire music catalogue from one distributor to another. It has been a long process, which has taken almost a year, but I’m happier where I am. I do appreciate the fact we all have to spend more time at home, but… boy, do I miss socializing like we used to!

Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? If so, very briefly, what kind? Of course, any producer or DJ would have lost a fair amount of income from gigs, etc. But that’s not the only way to survive and certainly not going to stop us from trying even harder to find new ways or developing existing ways to continue spreading the music to as many people as possible. Money is a universal concern when everyone has bills to pay and less work all round. But our spirit mustn’t be influenced by that, otherwise we have no hope whatsoever. Times like these require more strength than usual.

Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? I’m just releasing good music and making sure the style fits the general vibe of what’s going on. I’m not going to release banging techno records right now, but I may release music that you can lay back and lose yourself too mentally and visualize positivity and inspire your urges. Of course, I’m not saying, “Forget about the dancefloor,” but I am sensitive enough to know what’s going on and how we have to find new angles to keep it genuine and interesting all round.

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? We released the “Retro Retired” EP on aLOLa Records, which was a very laid-back affair and the new single, “Yellow” from my forthcoming album, SunTzu. It has 18 tracks on it – it’s fair to say it’s got something on there for almost everyone’s taste. 

In the studio, what’s your set-up? I’m a UAD man – I use an Apollo 16 [interface] going into a [Soundcraft] LX7II console. My favorite outboards are two [Empirical Labs EL8] Distressors and my dbx 172 [Super Gate]. My favorite plugs are the Sonnox Oxford Inflator and Avid’s Loom for textured sounds. My fave synths are Roland’s Juno-60 and Jupiter-6.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? I’m just getting on with my life as I can and should, trying to stay in touch with as many friends and family and not letting the restrictions bring me down! The laws are constantly changing and it’s a matter of time before some people find a way around it and get more out of life than simply surviving. We need new leaders, we need no leaders, we need ourselves, we need love, we need understanding, we need each other more than ever! 

Have you done anything online recently? I’m not saying it’s a good or bad thing, but standing in a room on your own without an audience? I guess it’s great for doing a live set of your own material, but I’m not so into doing a DJ set on my own. I feed off the crowd and it’s an exchange of energy which makes the set so fun and unpredictable! I’d feel robotic playing to a camera and constantly checking who’s watching or commenting! Maybe I’m old-school, but the whole point of performance is knowing your audience is in front of you giving you that extra bit for inspiration.

Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? The Cure’s “Faith” and Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me.”

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Find a few new hobbies and meditate every day, keep physically active and have a goal! Strategy for sanity normally lays in positive understanding of anything negative, accepting the situation and dealing with it accordingly. Not trying to escape the reality, but getting stuck right into it, being an example of what you expect, visualizing and using imagination to bring about a better world and staying strong and supportive for your family and friends.

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

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