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 Indonesia, the Jakarta-based EDM-pop trio Weird Genius (aka Eka Gustiwana, Reza Oktovian and Gerald Liu).
What’s it like where you’re living? Not that great, actually. We’ve been staying home for a whole year now. We’ve been dying to get onstage again since we actually had begun a tour the week before lockdown started. Currently, doing a bunch of studio time and some video games on the side. Reza streams Valorant on his YouTube channel almost every day.
What gigs were lost? We had started a tour for “Lathi” back in 2020, and we only managed to do three spots out of total 24 before it was all cancelled. We were also supposed to go to Malaysia for Wired Music Week.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? Gerald has been doing a bunch of cooking and home workout tutorials from YouTube. It’s going pretty well and, at least, he can cook pretty good fried rice now. Other than that, we make money from several live-stream gigs and brand-related contents, not to mention royalties.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? We just released “Clock of Reincarnation,” the Chinese version of our viral hit, “Lathi,” featuring Moi Yang. We usually aim to have at least one demo every couple of weeks and we plan to make a new release every month, be it a new single, collaborative project, or a remix. We also recently released “Last Summer” in collaboration with Tokyo Machine and Lights, on Monstercat.
In the studio, what’s your set-up? The only vintage hardware in the studio is probably this Ikea chair we got a few years ago – everything else is pretty much new. We’ve been moving studios and trying out new gear. We’re really loving our RME Babyface Pro FS [interface], though – quite a workhorse, super-worth the money. Software-wise, Eka uses [PreSonus] Studio One, while Gerald uses Ableton Live – so we usually get stuff done by sending stems over and over. But we both heavily use [Native Instruments] MASSIVE and KONTAKT, so we have no trouble working on each other’s laptop.
What’s your creation process in the studio? Usually, Reza comes up with a big picture on what the song is going to be – the overall theme and whatnot. After that, we’ll take a few days to cook up some instrumentals. If we’re good with how it’s sounding, we find a singer to collab with, and it’s off to recording, mixing, and mastering.
What’s your typical DJ set-up? We use USBs and Pioneer DJ’s CDJ-2000NXS2 players because it’s what we’re used to.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? That we actually benefitted a lot through people staying at home. One of the reasons “Lathi” got really big in Indonesia and spread globally was because everyone was super-active on TikTok and they somehow created #LathiChallenge, which gave a huge traction and eventually got it to chart No. 1 on several streaming platforms for six whole weeks! We’re really grateful to everyone who jumped on the trend and supported the song. We’re also super-happy to be able to connect with a lot of producers and DJs during this pandemic through Twitter and Instagram. While we’re not able to physically meet, we still manage to be productive and do a lot of collaborations with international artists, which are super-fun.
Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? We don’t do Twitch, but Reza and Gerald stream on YouTube. Reza streams mostly FPS games, while Gerald does some studio time and demo drops for producers. We’ve been watching Kenny Beats and Chris Lake streams, both of which are GOATs at their own genres. It’s so exciting to be able to see how people have different methods of making great music.
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? Weird Genius x Tokyo Machine: “Last Summer.” Absolute mid-pandemic-depression banger.
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Keep being productive, don’t be too serious on social media, just use it to link up and have fun. Play some games. Adopt a puppy. Learn to cook, and meditate. Good luck!
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
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