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 both U.K. and Spain, the British techno duo Dense & Pika (aka the London-based Alex Jones & the Ibiza-based Chris Spero).
How did you spend most of your pandemic time?
Alex Jones: Home-schooling our children. We both have two each, four in total. Takes up a lot time with the schools being shut.
Chris Spero: Same as Alex, really. We both have two daughters each, so there’s plenty to keep us busy. Home-schooling was a tough one, to be honest, and at the start it wasn’t easy to juggle with studio time.
Have things changed over time?
Jones: The pandemic brings new challenges monthly. You’ve just got to adapt. It can be tricky, as we live in different countries. England can be in lockdown, whilst Spain isn’t and vice versa. Again, learning to adapt is key.
Spero: Yes, my life has changed beyond recognition due to the pandemic. I’ve spent every weekend for the most part of the 18 years touring. It’s definitely made me re-evaluate my life and realize what is important to me. My health has hugely improved, although I am definitely keen to get back out there.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work?
Jones: Yes, we were meant be touring the globe, playing our album live, so we’ve lost plenty. At least we have our health.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income?
Jones: We’re both muddling away in the background, again adapting.
Spero: I’ve been working on lots of music during lockdown and working on some non-techno-related projects.
Have you learned anything in the downtime?
Jones: Yes, life can be incredibly boring!
Spero: I’ve discovered more new and exciting music than any other time in my life, to be honest. It’s completely inspired me in the studio. Sometimes being forced to take your foot off the gas can benefit you in more ways than you realize.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period?
Jones: We’re running our Kneaded Pains label, which keeps our toe in the scene. A&Ring has kept us fairly sane as it’s great to be close to like-minded people. We have some superb stuff coming out this year, albums from the likes of Ourselves, Roberto, Harvey McKay, Robots With No Soul, singles from Dubfire, Will Clarke, and A Sagitariun – the list goes on.
Spero: Writing lots of music every day. Trying new things out in the studio that I never would have had the patience for before. Learning the piano finally! We’ve also done a few new Dense & Pika remixes that should be out soon.
What’s in your studio?
Jones: Too much, to be honest – the majority of it doesn’t get used! It ranges from modulars to vocoders. The majority of this album, we used a lot of the Elektron stuff and Moog delay pedals, plus the Dave Smith Prophet 08, which features heavily throughout most of our productions.
Spero: Loads of stuff old and new. I go through lots of kit and sell it if it doesn’t work for me, and keep it if it does.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing?
Jones: The amount of selfish people that don’t socially distance.
Spero: The whole thing is so sad for so many reasons on so many levels – the way it’s destroyed industries and torn families apart. The most surprising thing? I would say it’s the absolutely mental conspiracy theories I read every day on social media.
Have you done anything online recently?
Jones: We’ve done a couple of live-streams. I guess the United We Stream was the biggest platform taking place on the Brighton i360 [observation tower].
Spero: We’ve done some live-streams; but we live in different countries, so it’s tough. Apart from that, we have done a few podcasts and some new remixes.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation?
Jones: Dive headfirst into the music. It’s always helped both of us whenever we feel lost!
Spero: Try and make something new every day.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
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