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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 Italy, the Naples-based electronic duo Alaia & Gallo (aka Elia Alaia and Aurelio Gallo).

Alaia & Gallo, Naples, Italy, Various Labels

What’s it like where you’re living? Fortunately, in the region where we live, the situation has never been too bad, even in the worst moments. But we have been locked down for a long time, just like everyone. We spent a lot of time in studio, working on our new music, but, most of all, we re-discovered the pleasure of enjoying our families, after years of a frantic lifestyle.

What kind of income-producing work did you lose? Well, just like everyone, we lost a lot of gigs last year that, as everybody knows, are the most important source of income for a DJ/producer. In Italy, our professional category didn’t get support from the government so, to be honest, it’s not been easy.

Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? In this moment of emergency, we had to re-organize a little bit our studio work. In the last year, we focused mostly on ghost productions – this work, fortunately, kept things rolling and gave us new kind of satisfaction, producing music for newcomer artists. At the same time, we have been forced to approach a more relaxed lifestyle and we have been really happy to spend more time with families and friends.

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? Our latest is “Get Down” featuring Pablo:Rita on Mother Recordings. But, with lots of time in the studio this past year, our musical production has never stopped. We have had tracks released on key labels such as Defected, elrow Music, Strictly Rhythm, Mother Recordings, just to name a few. Also, we had the opportunity to remix some milestones in house music, such as “He Is” by Copyright, “He Is The Joy” by Donna Allen or, more recently, “Most Precious Love” by Blaze and Barbara Tucker.

In the studio, what’s your set-up? Since Day 1, our favorite DAW has always been Logic, even though sometimes we use Ableton Live in ReWire as well. Our favorite plug-ins are FabFilter, SoundToys, Waves and, most of all, UAD – studio essentials for us! Our home-studio equipment is pretty basic… just a Roland TR-8, a Native Instruments Maschine and a Moog Sub37, but we’re thinking to buy a Roland Juno 106 as soon as it’s possible.  

What’s your creation process in the studio? Usually, we start to work on an idea separately. Everything begins with a sample or from a groove construction. Once the idea is at 60- to 70-percent, the other one listens to the demo with a fresh mind and puts in his touch. Finally, last phase is done in an external studio together with our sound engineer on a full analog equipment.

What’s your typical DJ set-up? Honestly, our DJ set-up is really simple: Four Pioneer CDJs to play with four hands and a Pioneer RMX-1000 to perform some tricks in our sets. But basically, we focus on the music. We play a lot of personal edits to deliver a DJ set that’s as unique as possible.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? How much we’re missing the contact with the people. We’re talking not only about the DJ/crowd connection in a club, but, more simply, the chance of meeting new people and talking with them without worrying about an unknown virus.

Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? We did a streaming for Radio FG. But, honestly, we’re a little bit tired of performing in front of a camera without a crowd. Everything seems so cold and unreal. Maybe we’ll do some new streams, but it will be very informal… just like an hour with friends from our room. A DJ video stream that really impressed us was Melvo Baptiste’s Live from London for the Champions League re-start last summer. The location was amazing and the tracklist… simply awesome!

Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? We want to be optimistic, so our choice is Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.”

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Guys, try to get the few positive things of this pandemic: stay home, enjoy your families and take care of the people you love.

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

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