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 Belgium, the Brussels-based house talent The Magician (aka Stephen Fasano).
How did you spend most of your pandemic time? During the first lockdown in March-April-May, I spent most of my time classifying my record collection and listening again to some old music from the ’80s and ’90s, doing streaming DJ set with vinyls, composing, producing music, and cooking two or three times a day. June, July and August were months of great reflection – and then September and October were months of freedom. I became also very creative. The second lockdown in Belgium started late October. I’ve been making a lot of music since then – I have never been as productive.
What income-producing work did you lose? Yes, some tours and festivals have been cancelled, but nothing very important, though. This year was supposed to be a transition year, more focused on production and playing less shows – and that happened. This year also marked the 10 years of The Magician project, 10 years of “The Magic Tapes,” and the 100th was supposed to be released in May/June, followed by a world tour. We delayed as much as we could – you can’t cheat with numbers [laughs]. So in the end, it’s coming January 27. As for money income, I earned about 75-percent less than the previous year.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Yes, The Magic Tape 100. It’s an album compilation released in digital and double-vinyl plus a cassette, with 15 exclusive tracks created by 15 artists, including me. Also, I make a new track or remix per week – 2021 is planned and full of releases.
Have you learned anything in the downtime? Yes, I’ve learned and will learn all my life. I resource myself by learning. It can be producing music, but also cooking, traveling, reading, etc.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? My latest is “One Vibration” featuring CLYPSO. I make a new track or remix per week – 2021 is planned and full of releases. What I learned and that will be ultimately constructive for my life/career is that work and organization always pays.
In the studio, what’s your set-up? I work on Logic Pro with a UAD soundcard and plug-ins. I like the API 2500 compressor on my drum bus, the EMI Chandler limiter on my master bus. I use also the Soundtoys, as well as Valhalla plate reverb. At the moment, I use a lot the Juno 106, Moog One and Korg Monopoly. I love the LinnDrum and Roland TR-707 drum machines. As hardware, I have a Moog One, ARP 2600, Korg DW-6000 and Roland MC 707.
What’s your creation process in the studio? I usually try to find a melody/chords progression on a kick drum, then add a bassline. Then I work on a structure and add drums, pad and effects. I always leave some space for a vocal unless I’m with a vocalist when I compose – then, we work on a topline on chords before adding any drums.
What’s your typical DJ set-up & why do you choose that route? I made my skills on Technics SL-1200 turntables… then CDs and now USB sticks. I still have a vinyl-only set-up in my studio and I did some live-stream sets that I called Supervision. But it’s true – I like the ease of Pioneer CDJs and also because you can test demos, promos, etc.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? That I’m a crazy maniac of cleanness.
What have you done online during this time? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? Yes, I did the Supervision vinyl show. It was a way for me to play and re-discover some vinyls of my collection and I decided to stream this live. I watched Disclosure producing music on Twitch. A-Trak and Armand Van Helden’s interviews, Chromeo live music, Moscoman A&R Sessions.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Enjoy the mornings in the kitchen, cooking, making coffee and listening to music loudly.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.