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 techno talent Nico Cabeza.
What’s it like where you’re living? I’m Italian, but I live in Berlin. The first lockdown in Berlin was restrictive, but we still had some personal freedom. This second lockdown is much stricter, and it’s a harder situation for us all to deal with. I went back to Italy to play some outdoor gigs once the restrictions started to relax in the summer, but soon after coming back to Germany the second Berlin lockdown was introduced, and now everything is closed. Most of my time is spent creating new music and learning things in the studio. Not playing gigs has given me that extra bit of spare time, so I’ve been using it to improve my knowledge and skills.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? I had some big gigs confirmed around Europe, including some very well-known festivals. Unfortunately, they all got cancelled. Regarding productions, there were no interruptions to my schedule. All my releases went as planned, and I got some really great responses, plus good sales.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? In this last period, I started some masterclasses for guys, who are entering the world of club music. I found it the right time to give support and use my experience to explain how to create your own sounds. My experience is not only in the techno field, but also in the house and tech-house. This also gave me an incentive to strengthen my knowledge and not stand still.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? As for myself, I am speaking a lot with numerous artists who are still here in Berlin. My luck is to live in a city populated by a huge number of famous producers, who are open for sharing ideas. I’ve also been able to regularly chat with my Italian friends on Skype and other chat services, so we have all been able to support each other during these tough times.
Any releases during this period? I’m currently preparing new releases and started to do some free download techno edits that have been proving really popular… my first edit was of Massive Attack’s iconic “Teardrop” and my new one is Nightcrawlers’ ’90s classic “Push The Feeling On.” I thought of the edit’s idea during the summer of 2020, but it was a while later when I had finished off the first one. I’m really happy to see that it is being appreciated by so many. They have been played in the sets of big names like Nicole Moudaber, plus had many thousands of plays on YouTube and SoundCloud.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? The social distancing and lockdown has pushed everyone towards social media even more than before, and it made me realize how false the online world is. On social media, it seems many people view others with little respect, and that’s created a need for people to create a perfect persona to protect themselves. At the time, I thought everyone had gotten caught up in this and, in a modern world, it is rather hard to avoid, but the lockdown has made me be much more conscious about how I use social media, and how, subconsciously, I only post things that I think others will like. It made me decide to try and be natural as possible, and be less dismissive of people that might have an opinion different than mine. Behind every social-media page is a real person, and I think we all need to take more care of how we treat each other in the online world, as that will have a knock effect to improving the physical world. I also took this attitude with my music, and decided to make music that I personally like, without taking into account the trend of the moment. I also wanted to take more time to discover new music from artists who are struggling to find their audience.
Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I’ve done a few live-streams… in particular, one I really liked was with the guys from Deepdrive in Milan. Some of the live-streams from other people that impressed me include those by included the one by Tronic that had mixes from CJ Bolland and Vince Watson among others.
Any themed tunes recommended for the moment? Ha-ha… I’ve not had any songs on with a lockdown-themed title, but below are a few tracks I’ve found myself listening to on-repeat: Lamb’s “Gorecki,” Massive Attack’s “Unfinished Sympathy” and
Bicep’s “Saku” feat. Clara La San.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Meditation, healthy eating, exercise and drinking good wine!
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.