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 Germany, the Berlin-based electronic talent Monolink (aka Steffen Linck).
What’s it like where you’re living? I’m spending my time between my home and my studio here in Berlin. We’re having some beautiful winter days with lots of snow at the moment, which sometimes makes it quite the challenge to actually get to the studio. The past year I’ve been working on finishing my second LP, which is coming out in June.
What kind of income-producing work have you lost? I lost all of my shows, which hit me quite hard in the beginning. I had really amazing gigs lined up playing Coachella, Burning Man, and Tomorrowland, to name a few. But I also got to enjoy the extended time off, which led to a lot of positive things.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? Luckily, I’m fortunate enough to live off my streaming revenue, so I didn’t have to worry too much. I learned a lot about myself, and what actually matters to me. I reconnected with my friends and enjoyed the long lost feeling of having free time.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? I put out “Otherside” a few months ago on Embassy One. Also, Gui Boratto’s remix of “Black Hole,” my collab with Ben Bohmer, was released on Anjunadeep at the end of 2020. My second album is coming up, which is quite an important thing for me. My latest single is “The Prey,” and it’ll be on the new album. I’ve been working on this album non-stop for over a year now, and I have no clue yet how people are going to receive it. Usually, I would be able to test tracks out on the road, but, of course, that wasn’t possible this year.
In the studio, what’s your set-up? I work and record with Ableton Live. SoundToys Echo Boy is among my favorite plug-ins. I still get surprised by how much you can do with delays, how many different forms they can take on, how you can play with the perception of sound and space with it. I have an old Korg MS-20, which I record through my Thermionic Culture Fat Bustard [12-channel tube summing mixer] and API2500 [compressor], and I really love the sound of it.
What’s your creation process in the studio? I start my songs usually on the guitar or the piano. I record a demo track with it and then start messing around. Sometimes something completely different comes out in the end, but I always need to have an actual idea before I start working on it with the computer.
What’s your typical DJ set-up? I play live shows where I also sing and play guitar. I bring a little Roland Boutique synth with me as well – an SH-01A – to be able to jam. To me, it’s most important to be flexible when I play, to keep interesting for myself and the crowd.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? I realized that I actually very much prefer having a small group of people that are dear to me around, over networking and being in touch here and there. I guess I already knew that before, but lockdown and social distancing really forced me to boil it down to the people that matter most to me.
Have you done anything online recently? I did a few live streams, but, to be honest, I’m growing tired of them… just like everybody is. It just doesn’t come close to the experience of being at or playing a show.
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? My theme tune is “Freed from Desire” by Gala… such an epic track.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Go for walks and inform yourself elsewhere than on YouTube!
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
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