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 Australian duo Yolanda Be Cool (aka the Sydney-based Andrew Stanley and the L.A.-based Matthew Handley).
How did you spend most of your pandemic time?
Matt Handley: With no gigs and travel, we’ve definitely had more time in the studio than a normal year. It was a funny one, because we didn’t love the idea at first, but we decided to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of our track,
“We No Speak Americano.” We produced our own “10th Anniversary Edit” of the track, and asked our friends Chemical Surf, JAXX DA FISHWORKS, and Sllash & Doppe to make their own remixes as well, which we’re really happy with. Other than that, lots of dog-walking, surfing, yoga, meditation… healthy stuff.
Have things changed over time?
Andy Stanley: I think at the start, when we didn’t think it would be too long, we wanted to hold releases back, because at the end of the day, we make club music and sometimes it crosses over. But it always starts in the clubs. And without clubs, we weren’t sure how to play it. But as we realized this pandemic was going to last for a while, we understood that, with clubs or not, people want music to brush their teeth to, or workout to, or jog to. So, we decided not to hold back and just release our music.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work?
Handley: We sure did. We know we’re not alone there, so there is no use worrying about what could have been. But we definitely had some epic trips planned for the year. And obviously, as touring DJs, we make most of our income from shows. I guess, on the upside, our tax return will be a lot easier to do this year.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime?
Stanley: Well, obviously, releasing music has one goal of making money, although we definitely find we get our best results when that isn’t the actual goal, but more a byproduct of the goal. For example, when we made the original “We No Speak Americano,” we just wanted to make something fun that our DJ mates would play. We try to apply that theory to all of the tunes we make, sometimes for pool parties, sometimes for late nights in clubs, and sometimes for peak-time. As for what we’ve learned in our downtime, I’ve been flexing my gardening skills, and Matt’s been working on his cooking skills.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period?
Stanley: We just released the “10th Anniversary Edition” of “We No Speak Americano,” which we’re hoping will be a nice addition to our discography. We have a tune on Lee Foss’ label Repopulate Mars coming out on December 18, with remixes by him and Audiofly, as well as our brothers Pelvis Moves and Dillon Nathaniel. Then, we have tunes for Club Sweat and Sweat It Out for early next year, another one for Repopulate Mars, and then we are busy finalizing our next EP for Mele’s Club Bad label. Plus, we’ve been chatting to our “We No Speak Americano” collaborator DCUP about getting the team back together, which could be a lot of fun.
What’s in your studio?
Handley: We’re pretty “in-the-box,” so really, apart from a MIDI controller, we just have nice, treated rooms with awesome speakers. I just picked up some Barefoots, so I’m very happy about that.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing?
Handley: Life is meant to be simple. The simple things really are often the best, and we’ve done so much to make life complicated – but have we made it better? I think maybe the answer is no. And with all the restrictions, just being able to smell the roses or swim in the ocean, things we’ve always taken for granted and not appreciated, perhaps people will appreciate more now.
Have you done anything online recently?
Stanley: We’ve done a couple of live-streams recently. They aren’t our preference, as nothing beats DJing to a crowd, small club or huge festival. We love them all, but we love DJing enough to still do the live-streams, and they have been fun. We’ve performed on live-streams for Beatport, and Insomniac. We recently hosted a Sweat It Out takeover for our brothers at GOOD TV, and we have a takeover coming up with Space Yacht on Saturday, December 12.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation?
Handley: As Guns N Roses once said, “Nothing lasts forever” – ha-ha. But really, I hope this will all be over soon enough, and we will look back and probably think we should have made more of the downtime. I always think of my great uncle, who at 24 finished medical school, and his first job was fighting in World War 2 for four years, with no FaceTime or WhatsApp, and no idea if he would ever see his loved ones again. So, I think when we compare COVID to that, it pales. But otherwise, meditation is definitely key. It’s so calming for the mind and the sanity, because all those voices in our head, we don’t have to listen to them, and meditation shows us that.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.