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 Switzerland, the Zurich-based electronic talent Gil Glaze (aka Gil Glasenberg).
What’s it like where you’re living? How have you spent most of your time? We were locked down at the start, but these days things are less strict. People are definitely ready to get back to normal. When the lockdown began, I knew I had to focus on doing things to keep busy and, most importantly, focus on stuff I basically never had time to do… new visuals, new photoshoots, renew passport, renew U.S. artist visa, get my wisdom teeth removed. After that, I really focused on studio time since I was always traveling. I found out that last year was the most efficient year when it came to my productions and we have the best Gil Glaze music ever.
What income-producing work did you lose? I did lose important shows, like opening for The Chainsmokers at their Miami Music Week party at the SLS, which I was quite sad about. Besides that, I had planned a big tour in the fall and that also got cancelled, which was the most important tour of my career this far. Regarding income, sure, I did not get any money from touring, but that’s why I shifted my focus to production and running my record label. I would say I have made more money on my releases/publishing this year than any other year, which was quite a surprise to me.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? Yes, as I mentioned before, mainly productions… but on the side, I have been working on a startup product, which we hope to be releasing early this year. I can’t talk about that yet, so you’ll have to see. Yes, I learned a lot in the lockdown, such as playing guitar and more live instruments, which I would love to bring to the DJ booth to create more of a live experience. My team’s focus last year was that and, with our live-stream in the summer at St. Jakob Park, I think we accomplished about 60-percent of what we want to do with the live performance.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? Yes, this year we had some amazing releases on Sony Music Switzerland, STMPD, Spinnin’ Records and more. I just dropped a track, “Not Like This,” with Jesper Jenset, which has some great radio support. I also have lots of new music set for release early next year and we are currently working on the music videos and release plans.
I have also been busy in the office every day running my record label, Breeze Records, together with my team based in Zurich.
In the studio, what’s your set-up? I started using Ableton Live, but have now gotten more comfortable on Logic Pro. For plug-ins, I love using [u-he] Diva and lately got into FabFilter One, as it gives you a little extra synth in the FabFilter FX Bundle, but it’s so good for some really distinctive pads and synths. Also, I’m loving all the plug-ins that DJ Swivel is releasing, especially his newest one – the BDE (aka Big Distortion Engine), which is so good at maintaining the dynamic sounds of any signal.
What’s your creation process in the studio? I have really been into bringing more live music into dance music and pop, rather than computer synths. Therefore, I have been working with lots of singers, songwriters, guitarists and traditional musicians. With that, I usually start with a melody, then get a singer/songwriter to take it from there or I occasionally work from the beginning on a vocal.
What’s your typical DJ set-up? Always three Pioneer DJ CDJ-2000 media players and a DJM-900 mixer. I use USB drives, which I load from rekordbox. I am working with a sampler [DJS-1000] from Pioneer, as well, which is brand new, and would love to bring into my DJ sets or live performances.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? I have to say this year was not as bad for me as I would have imagined it to be. I have been touring for 11 years now non-stop and to have a year where I don’t know what jetlag is has been amazing. It has also been special to get to spend time with my friends, as I was always too busy for that, due to crazy touring schedules. Social distancing is such a crazy thing to me – but, of course, I understand the importance of it. I just can’t imagine how we are going to be hugging and kissing each other when it’s been a year of social distancing. The most surprising thing to me with social distancing is that people will actually call you out on the street if you are accidentally too close to them. I get this all the time and even had an old lady push me off the escalator because I was too close. I’ve been in situations where people have been too close, but I would always just create a safe distance by myself than create a fight. I hope things will get back to normal soon.
What have you done online during this time? During the summer, I did a lot of live-streams, but then realized it’s so hard to keep people tuned in when there are thousands of live-streams happening at the same time. So I went to focus on only doing big ones in special locations. We did one in the summer in the biggest stadium in Switzerland together with a local newspaper in Switzerland. Also, a few weeks ago, I travelled to Maldives where we teamed up with WeRaveYou to do a live-stream from the Rockstar Villa at the Finolhu Maldives.
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor,” Selena Gomez’s “Hands to Myself,” Soulja Boy’s “Kiss Me Through the Phone,” The Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” and Alec Benjamin’s “Six Feet Apart.”
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? What kept me going through the current situation is thinking let’s take this year as “the worst year ever” and use it as a break in life. I have used this year to build me as a person. It makes no sense being frustrated over one year in our lives. It reminds us about the importance of happiness and being grateful for what we have. It is only hopefully one year of our life.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.