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 Denmark, the Copenhagen-based, Danish/Egyptian electronic talent Ashibah (aka Sarah Finne Christensen).
What’s it like where you’re living? Until recently, I was locked down in Copenhagen, Denmark. Most of my days, I’d spend either in my music studio or at home. Since everything was closed, the only outside experience we have is a walk around the lakes with a coffee in your hand. I have used this time to explore my musicality and learning new things. Staying positive and trying to grow. Plus, it’s so cold here – so being inside is good.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? Oh, yes! I had almost a full calendar with gigs and travel in 2020 and, from one week to the next, it all got cancelled or postponed. That was tough! And still is.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? Yes, I am. This situation has caused me to re-evaluate the way I work with music, so I am not only dependent on gigs. I am currently working with lots of production and vocal projects through Zoom and other online ways. We are all learning and finding ways to work with what we can and also rethinking how to make money doing what we do and love. Before, I would make remixes or productions or vocals sometimes for free because, you know, why not? But I have learned in this pandemic that my time is valuable and I’ve learned how to use it better, so I can keep doing what I love.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? Yes, a recent release is “Suave,” a tech-house collab with Jean Bacarreza on Great Stuff Recordings. I’m making a lot of music, not only for the dancefloor, but for the listener in a different set-up. Expanding my releases, working on new projects and also working on finishing that album I have been dreaming of!
In the studio, what’s your set-up? In my studio, I work with Abelton Live when it comes to production, and Logic when it comes to vocals. Since I spend so much time here my studio, it’s like my living room at home – cozy, full of light and with a side of synths! I got some favorite plug-ins and hardware. They include, Novation Peak, [DSI] Prophet Rev2, The Avocador MIDI controller, Rhodes, RaveGenerator VST, Serum VST and Korg Volca FM, to name a few.
What’s your creation process in the studio? It always starts with a great cup of coffee, a good kick and a keyboard when it comes to production. For songwriting sessions, me and my partner Nikoline usually sit down – her at the piano and me at the computer – and we jam some ideas down and we take it from there.
Your approach to a DJ set? Lots of energy with a touch of surprise elements here and there. I love showing up at least an hour before my set to feel the energy in the room or stage. At that moment, I usually decide which route to go.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? How much I love and miss hugging!
Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I took a bit of a break when it came to live-streams and focused on the studio work, but got some fun stuff coming next month. Yes, I love Defected’s Virtual Festivals – they always uplift me. Off course, also Cercle – they take live-streams to the next level.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Go for long walks outdoors during the sunshine, listen to lots of music, talk and reflect what you feel with someone you trust, make sure you get the bad energy out of your body and spend time with people you love that give you energy.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
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