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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 Down Under, the Sydney-based electronic talent Hayden James.

Hayden James, Sydney, Australia, Future Classic

What’s it been like where you’re living? I live in Sydney, near Manly Beach, yes, we were in lockdown for about four months last year, and over Christmas and New Year’s Eve, too. I’m lucky that I have a studio in my place, so I’ve been in there writing a lot of music, hanging out with my family and cooking… lots of cooking.

Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? Yes, 100-percent. Coachella was a bummer and we had a bunch of other really exciting shows lined up, but, all in all, we’ve been very lucky here in Australia, compared to other countries around the world.

Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income?  Have you learned anything in the downtime? Writing and releasing music is income for me. I’ve just been focusing on writing as much as possible, whilst I can’t play shows. I’ve learnt a lot about cooking and mountain biking, too – ha! Big lockdown activities for me. 

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? I really enjoyed doing the live-stream sets from my backyard when lockdown first hit. It felt great to do something for fans that didn’t have anything else to do in lockdown. Think I did 10 streams or so. I also released a couple singles and remixes last year during this period. My latest release is “Foolproof” with Gorgon City and Nat Dunn. 

In the studio, what’s your set-up? Ableton Live all the way. Fave plugs at the moment are from iZotope for mastering/processing, SoundToys for FX, and I’m loving the HIVE synth by u-he. Hardware-wise, I just bought a reissue Prophet 5, which I’m completely obsessed with!

What’s your creation process in the studio? Always different, but I usually start with the Prophet 5 or 6 and a little vocal idea, and jam from there. I try and get more of a feeling/vibe instead of writing a fully formed song to start with.

What’s your typical DJ set-up? A couple CDJ-2000s and Pioneer mixer. I’ve always used Pioneer. It’s what I learnt on in clubs in Sydney starting out. I don’t have a DJ set-up in my studio, but plan on it soon.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? I kind of got used to wearing a mask, and don’t mind it. It’s like wearing a disguise – hide in plain sight.

Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I’ve been streaming DJ sets every couple of months – I was doing it once a week when we were first locked down – on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube. So epic to be able to connect with people that way. I would have to say my favorite sets are from Vintage Culture.

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Keep busy and don’t be too hard on yourself. This is an insane situation we are all in and it’s something we never thought would happen to us. Stay positive knowing we’ll be out of this shit soon and we’ll be able to all dance together again!

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

DJ Times Magazine is copyright © 2021 by DJ Publishing, Inc.