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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 South Florida, the Miami-based tech-house talent Doc Brown.

Doc Brown, Miami, Fla., Unlearn:Records

What’s it like where you’re living? I’m in Miami—and things were quite restricted for a while, but have started to loosen up. I still don’t see a full return to normal here until fall at the earliest, though, as summer is our off-season.  Without clubs being open for most of the past year, I’ve obviously spent quite a bit of time at home. With the influx of free time, I’ve really been able to throw myself into work as much as possible

Have you lost important gigs, or income-producing work? Unfortunately, yes. As things were unfolding in March of last year, all my scheduled gigs ended up being cancelled, including all my Miami Music Week shows and an EP release party up in Brooklyn I was quite excited about. It was obviously disappointing, but completely out of my control, so I tried not to dwell on it too much. In general, I try to make the best of every day… so it really became about focusing on what was in my control and going from there. 

Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Indeed. Back in June, I started a weekly Sunday show on Twitch, and in October we added a Wednesday night show, as well. I really threw myself into the platform and the community – and it’s honestly been fantastic. I think it’s really advanced the idea of artists being able to directly monetize their fans – which is great because it breaks down a lot of the mechanisms in place from an older industry that prevent actual artists from making money on art. And although paid remix work and royalties don’t account for a ton of revenue, right now every little bit helps!

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? Well, I think most people might think it a bit odd to start a label in the middle of the pandemic, but that’s what I ended up doing. The original plan was to launch Unlearn:Records in April, but we pumped the brakes for a bit when things initially got chaotic. In the end, it was pretty clear that the world was – and is – still consuming music, so it really felt right to move ahead. It also just seemed to make a lot of sense to launch the brand in conjunction with the Twitch show, etc. In fact, on Unlearn, I just released my two-track EP, “Business Side” b/w “Wrong Way.”

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? A time of crisis really accentuates our character traits – both positive and negative.  Without the distraction of being busy, I think everyone is really getting a good look at both themselves and the people around them. I guess you could say a few people have surprised me.

Sounds like your online presence has been a positive experience. Have you seen anything else online that’s impressed you? I’ve been playing a lot of long sets on Twitch, which has probably been my favorite part of this entire period. The community is so strong! There are also so many different ways to present yourself visually, but I find the best streams still feel personal. I appreciate the pre-recorded professionally produced streams aesthetically, but they seem somewhat cold on an engaging platform like Twitch. I think Subset has really pushed the envelope as far as what you could achieve technically, but his streams still have that personal touch. I also really enjoy an open-format DJ, so there’s Mark Oxford, who plays only from his vinyl collection – mostly rare release versions of known tunes – and really presents the record to you… showing you all the artwork and such. It’s dope! 

Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? On the dance tip, Wally Lopez & Dr. Kucho’s “Patricia Never Leaves the House” is a good one. Or Tom Novy’s “My House.” Super Flu also has an amazing catalog going back a long way. I think “Merrymaking at My Home Place” by a pre-dance Calvin Harris works, too!

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? I always try to remind myself that it is in the times of struggle that we actually find ourselves and define who we are. Every challenge needs to be viewed as an opportunity, and this is no different. How can we make the most of the time we have now and how can we prepare ourselves better for the future? I think if we can all focus on how we can make positive improvements to ourselves as we go through this, we’ll all be better off.

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

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