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 Benelux Union, the Belgium-based electronic dance-punk act, GOOSE (aka Mickael Karkousse, Dave Martijn, Tom Coghe, and Bert Libeert).
What’s it like where you’re living? We’ve been in lockdown in Kortrijk since October. Somehow it seems to have become a way of living and it’s weird how you find yourself getting used to the restrictions. The life we all had before COVID seems like it was a long time ago. We think the best way to approach it is to lower your expectations to help make it a bit more livable. I mean, when we first heard about this, we all thought it would be over in the summer of 2020, and here we are into a New Year!
How did you spend most of your pandemic time? Luckily, we have our studio to escape to. Like in pre-COVID times, we spend most of the week in the studio working on new music for GOOSE or producing/writing for other artists. If we would not have the studio to go to – like we did in the March and April, because you couldn’t leave your house – I think we would go insane. Apart from work, some of us have kids to entertain.
Have things changed over time? I think we “flattened the curve” of our expectations. We try to go with the flow, but at the same time, we are getting better at only doing what really helps us forward and focus on the music. Actions speak louder than words, they say… well, in music, it’s the same. Too many times we are overwhelmed with blurry posts and not listening to the music. So, to answer your question. I think this period has brought the attention back to the music/the art itself.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? As with most artists, we lost the festival season, which generates most of our income. We were also working on a new project for Audi and had to cancel that, as well. So, yes, it’s been a really though year.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? We recently released a full-length album, Something New, on Universal Music. But then, we are also active in different solo projects and composing music for TV shows. Last year, we released the soundtrack for the Fox TV show, “War of the Worlds,” composed by Dave, and there are a few more composing projects in the pipeline. Bert and Tom are individually producing and writing songs for a couple of artists. Mickael is working on a solo album to be released later this year. So, basically, we see ourselves much more than GOOSE alone. We are a creative collective working under the same roof of our studio, Safari Studios. I guess that makes these hard times for a band more sustainable.
Have you learned anything in the downtime? We learned to do nothing. Laying down in the couch in the middle of the day and just look outside.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? We are re-thinking most of what seemed normal – like, for instance, the way we connect with our fans. Since the lockdown, we really engage with our fans through social media. We try to answer every question and not take their interest in us for granted. Also, how we look at live-streams changed. As it’s the only way to perform, it has to mean something, and it should be able to live after COVID. That the most important question we ask is: Would this be a good idea if we wouldn’t have COVID? And does it bring us, as a group, something of any meaning? So, I guess we are more selective again. It’s something we might have lost a bit over the years.
What’s in your studio? Over the years, we collected a lot of late-’70s, early-’80s synths and drum machines. Although we never intended to, we realize that we are lucky to be surrounded by this heritage. It’s very inspiring to be around those instruments. We also have a very cheap coffee machine that makes great coffee. We get a lot of praise for that, from every visitor. The kitchen is the heart of the studio looking down over the live and recording room. One of the latest additions to the studio was a Trident 75 mixing desk that used to belong to Étienne de Crécy – a desk with a “French Touch” history.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? Not being able to perform. The financial part is just one aspect, but not being able to express yourself to the fullest leaves you behind with a blank space in your mind. It’s like you are not really living 100-percent, you are more like in sleep mode all the time. As a singer, Mickael realized that the ability to shout out loud every gig night is a blessing. Now, instead, he randomly starts screaming when he goes out jogging.
Have you done anything online recently? We recorded a new version of our track, “Synrise,” for the 10th anniversary of the album. And we premiered it on YouTube in Immersive Sound, which gave the impression to the viewer to be in the room with us. That we a pretty interesting experiment with the help of Sennheiser and PXL Audio Lab. Right now, we are working on a live-streaming show from our studio and, therefore, we are working together with the video artist Bart Stolle, who made graphic interpretations of each track of our new EP. It’s going to be something in between an art installation and a rock-n-roll show. To be continued!
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Accept this situation and don’t think of how long this will go on. Try to see it as the new now, but know this is temporary. We will not go back to normal; we’ll go to a new place where everybody will be free to reinvent what that new normal means for you. And that’s exciting. Time for something new!
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
DJ Times Magazine is copyright © 2021 by DJ Publishing, Inc. www.djtimes.com