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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 England, the London-based multi-talent Dani Senior

Dani Senior, London, U.K., Sirup Music

What’s it like where you’re living? Were you locked down? How did you spend most of your time? I never thought I would see the streets of central London empty, but during the pandemic that is exactly what has happened. Most people have been advised to work from home and only travel where necessary. It’s quite surreal. I’ve been in lockdown during this time, too – yes, and I’ve made the most of the reduced distractions by taking the time to tap into my creative zone and make more music. I’ve had a chance to hone my songwriting skills, improve my vocal and production techniques, as well as work on other creative music-related projects.
Did you lose important gigs? Yes. Like most performers and DJs, I’ve had gigs postponed. I had an exciting collaboration with Tough Mudder lined-up for the Summer of 2020, and various gigs throughout Europe that I was unable to do due to the pandemic.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? A lot of my income comes from my artist, songwriting and vocal-production activities and I’ve had a steady stream of work during this time. I’ve also used additional headspace to finish off creative projects I’ve had on the back burner for a while now, including putting together my own course on songwriting – and writing a TV show, which I’m co-creating with a Grierson Award-winning and BAFTA-nominated TV-production company here in the London. I’m excited about seeing these projects come to life in 2022!

What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? I’ve continued to write and release music during the pandemic. I’ve had two releases on Flux Pavilion and Doctor P’s label, Circus Records, “Get No Better” with Eskei83 & ReauBeau, and “Way to You,” which is a collaboration with Doctor P. I also focused on my own artist material during this time, which culminated in me getting signed by the esteemed Swiss dance imprint Sirup in December 2020. They are such a great label and I’m so excited about the singles I will be releasing this year. My first one is “Unwant You” feat. Glass Keys & Menrva which dropped recently. I’ve also got an upcoming release with Ultra Records this year and I’ve been songwriting on another project in the EDM space for a production duo made up of Italian brothers, which I’ll leave up to them to announce. So, in a sentence, I’ve been keeping myself busy.
In the studio, what’s your set-up? I use Logic Pro X for writing and producing with an Apogee Symphony Interface and SSL X-Desk/X-Rack set-up – mic amp module, channel EQ and dynamics module. Being a singer, I’m all about the microphone, so I use my beloved Neumann that I bought from my buddy and music producer Rich Adlam of Replay Heaven. He tells me that a lot of “number ones” have been sung on that mic. Here’s to many more! For my vocal chain plug-ins, I like to use Waves CLA Classic Compressors, and I find the in-built reverb, de-essing and EQ compressors in Logic more than adequate.

What’s your creation process in the studio? I usually start with the melody when writing songs and, if I’m working on my own, then I’ll build a chord base with a simple drum pattern that I’m feeling and then record myself free-styling melodies over the top of the instrumental I’m working to. I’ll then piece together the best parts of the melodies. Some words would have naturally formed at this stage, so I’ll often work with the phonetics of these to create my lyrics. Alternatively, though, I’ll have a concept or title in mind that I’ll work into the melody. It varies at this stage, but I almost always start with the melodies. The lyrics will take me more time to craft as I like to think them over.

What’s your typical DJ set-up? Pioneer CDJ-2000s, USBs – plug and play!

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? That I’m beginning to enjoy a relatively reclusive style of living.

Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I took a break from socials during lockdown and focused on creating music, but I’ve been really impressed with the live-streams I’ve been seeing from my pals lately. Shout outs to Robin M doing bits.

Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? I was reminded of R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” recently by the “Song Exploder” series on Netflix. The song and particularly the lyrics have really stayed with me these past few months. It’s such an incredible song and I love the fun-fact surrounding this, which is that the band never expected the song be a hit!

Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Yes! This is another fun-fact, but I discovered that the Japanese word for crisis is made up of two characters. The first character (危) means “dangerous,” while the second (機) means “opportunity.” And that’s the view I like to take when it comes to the current world pandemic… that through the challenging times, we also have an opportunity, and a chance for growth and change – hopefully, for the better!

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

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