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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 Los Angeles, the hitmaking electronic talent Deorro (aka Erick Orrosquieta).

Deorro, Los Angeles, Calif., Panda Funk/Ultra Records

What’s it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your time? I’ve spent the majority of my time trying to stay busy and not really stress about what was happening. I started doing new things, like calligraphy and playing the cello – stuff where I can still be creative, but not bored. It’s allowed me to work on a ton of new music, much of which I am starting to roll out for my upcoming Latin-infused album. 

Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? When the lockdown happened in March 2020, we were going from 200 shows a year to zero, so it was definitely a big change. A lot of things had to get pushed back and, to this day, it just keeps getting postponed… COVID kinda messed things up.

Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? Yeah, definitely. I’ve gotten back into the habit of being able to produce. You know, before the pandemic I didn’t realize how much stress I was going through and how much it was affecting my ability to produce… so the pandemic, in a way, was sort of a blessing. I was really able to focus on my mental health.

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? I changed management. I changed practically my whole team and I changed the direction of my music. I’ve been working on a Latin album and I think that’s definitely gonna push me in a much more comfortable direction… having the right team and having basically an aim that I feel more suits me. My latest release is a collab with Lua called “Si Tú No Estás Aquí.”

In the studio, what’s your set-up? I’ve never really been much of a geek for the traditional [musical-instrument] stuff. Don’t get me wrong – whenever I do get the chance to mess around with instruments like that, I do. But I wouldn’t even know where to start if I were to get any of my own. I love Abelton Live. I used to use [Propellerhead] Reason. I love Abelton because it’s a lot easier to warp samples. I’ve seen other DAWs, but I’d say whatever works for you – but my thing is Abelton.

What’s your creation process in the studio? My creation process is having no creation process. There is no set order in the way I do things. I don’t have a routine or anything. I’m very open and just make sure that I have all of my tools. For example, I’ll make sure I have all of the colors, my brushes and my canvas and make sure I have them all accessible and let my creativity take hold. Who knows what colors I start with or what sounds I end up putting on the screen first? But I think that’s what makes it a little more fun. Music can really stem from anywhere.

What’s your typical DJ set-up? My typical DJ set up is two [Pioneer DJ] CDJ-2000NXS2 players. I use USB drives. For the longest time, I used to just load my music onto the USBs and just started playing it, so I didn’t have any cue points until recently when I started using rekordbox. It’s a very easy setup and if I were to lose a USB, I could just plug in a new one to my laptop and then I can just reload all of my music back on there. I also use Audio-Technica headphones – ATH-M50s. They’re very durable and they’ve lasted me a long time. And I use monitors to protect my hearing.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? The most surprising thing that I’ve realized is how unprepared we all are for a pandemic and I’m hoping this pandemic kind of teaches us to prepare for the future. But I’m sure if it doesn’t happen for another hundred years, people will let their guard down once again. I think that’s what happened this time. Nothing has been this big in such a long time that we didn’t think it would happen to us.

Have you done anything online through all this? Yes, I started doing the live-streams early on. I figured that would be a great way to still stay connected with fans, but I’m a musician, so I needed to make music. That’s why I took a break from all of that and started focusing on mental health and started producing a lot again.

Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? There are a lot of good TokTok songs that are just, you know, classic. I love music and listening to everything, so when it comes to theme songs, I have a wide range, from Bob Marley to Pink Floyd, to Rage Against the Machine, to Slipknot, to Sublime. The list goes on and on. I love it all.

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? I think it’s a matter of keeping the right people around you and making sure that the people around you will take care of you. If you don’t have those people, don’t worry. There’s plenty of people in the world. It just takes time to build good relationships, but you always have yourself. We are all human and, just as much as we try to take care of others and love others, we should be willing to take care of ourselves and love ourselves. You need to do all of those nice things for yourself the way you would do them for others. Make sure you take care of yourself by surrounding yourself with people that will love you and care about you. That way they can keep your head up if you can’t keep it up yourself. I think it’s really important to pay attention to what negative energies are not you and distance yourself from that. I think that’s really important. That way you don’t find yourself in a dark place and end up feeling hopeless. 

To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.

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