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 England, the Leeds-based electronic duo, Prospa (aka Harvey Blumler and Gosha Smith).
How did you spend most of your pandemic time? We spent most of our time making music, as we always do; however, we were living away from each other, which had its positives and negatives. I would say the positive side of it was that we didn’t have any shows to play; therefore, we had way more time to be able to experiment with new technology and reinvent part of our sound. The list of negatives is endless. For example, we couldn’t switch between each other’s rooms when we wanted to work on something in precise detail – and we missed the shows!
Have things changed over time? Everything has changed. I feel like the lack of gigs can really affect how you make your music – at least for us – as we take a lot of that inspiration from the live side straight into our production. With the lack of shows, we have had the opportunity to explore new creative ventures within us, as musicians, and it has really benefited the progression of our sound. Incorporating acoustic instruments and structured songwriting has been fun.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? Yes, we lost the whole summer and we had a special event lined up in Ibiza, which really meant everything to us – 2020 was looking to be a year that really stepped up our live game. We had not just DJ sets planned, but also live performances with synthesizers, drum parts, modular synths and the rest. We also lost extremely important income-producing work, which put a massive stress on everything.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Streams and radio play are the only viable source of income at the moment. We were really planning to try and get into making music for media and film, but, as there are barely any operational workplaces, we weren’t able to get anything.
Have you learned anything in the downtime? We are constantly learning and evolving on an ever-growing path that is music. If the downtime of lockdown has taught us anything, I think we would both agree that, when it comes to creativity, we have to step outside of our comfort zone. For example, there may be something in the track that we’re not particularly used to and don’t like because it’s not something we have done before or we may believe that it doesn’t fit our aesthetic. Yet, we have experimented with this mindset and proven to ourselves that when listening to the finished result, we loved it more than we could’ve ever imagined.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? Creating a body of work that stylistically has a huge variety within the dance music spectrum and organizing our live show. These things are absolutely vital to us and always have been. The body of work and the volume of work gives us more time to be able to focus on creating a great live show without having the pressure of needing to constantly put music out.
Any releases coming up? We have an EP out at the end of February, which we are really excited about. This year, 2021, is the time to showcase a side of our sound that we believe people haven’t heard enough of. This is the club sound. Ironically, we are probably not going to have many club shows this year, if any at all. But we’ve been sitting on this music so, so long, and we are absolutely dying to get it out there and give people what they’ve been waiting for.
What’s in your studio? Roland JX-3P, Roland Kiwi-3P, Eurorack Modular with countless modules, two acoustic guitars, a Fender Strat, a guzheng, a bouzouki, a Minimoog, and a Roland drum pad.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? The most surprising thing was that socially distanced raves could actually happen and be successful in the fact that many were managed very well. Of course, we had a few planned before tighter restrictions came into place.
Have you done anything online recently? We have been running a live virtual-warehouse virtual-reality rave based in a crazy dystopian abandoned bunker where you can literally move your screen around to our own Prospa world, and everyone who wishes they were at a rave can connect all at once. We really did this for all of the people needing an escape and for those who haven’t been able to properly party for a long time.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? It differs for different people, but, for us, I think we would say that keeping in touch with your friends is very important, as well as doing exercise, and also not putting too much pressure on yourself and your career. The world has been an uneasy place with this pandemic, so we hope people are looking after themselves.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.