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 Scandinavia, the Stockholm-based electronic talent Discrete (aka August Ramberg).
What’s it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your time? Sweden has had a different strategy than the rest of the world. It’s been different, for sure, and a lot of stores have been closed down. I’ve spent all this time since lockdown in my studio making new music – not meeting too many family or friends.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? I lost a lot of gigs, which was my main income pre-COVID. Thankfully, I’d been good to myself and saved up money and not spent it all, which made me get through.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? I work with music full-time and, to make it work, I work on my artist project Discrete. But I also produce and write music for other artists to make it all work. I’ve really learned that there’s room for everyone in the music business and it’s important that you really work on what you love and not just jump onto the projects that looks the most lucrative. The fans and people will find you if you strive down your path.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? The start of 2020 was strange since me and my manager had put up this plan of releasing a lot of music in 2020. It felt strange at first promoting your music when there’s a pandemic going on in the world, but the amount of support I’ve gotten, thanks to bringing something to my fans, has been stronger than ever. I think people needed to escape reality for a couple minutes and dwell into music. Other than that, “Drown In Me” is definitely the biggest release I’ve had so far.
In the studio, what’s your set-up? I use a MacBook Pro 2015 set-up with Ableton Live 10 Suite. I mainly produce in my monitors and not such a big fan of producing in headphones, and then I use a pair of Adam A77X together with my UAD Apollo. For recording vocals and other stuff, I mainly use my Neumann TLM 103 with a Universal Audio Neve 1073 and LA 2A on the preamp.
Favorite plugs would probably be the Soundtoys bundle pack, which was a true game-changer for me, and I’ve been using a lot of Diva, Serum and Arturia V Collection.
What’s your creation process in the studio? I usually make the first draft on a song together with a songwriter in the room. We start talking about different topics and, from there, it’s an energy in the room which I try to follow. Committing to strange ideas and getting chords and the topline down as quickly as possible into the song, since vocals is something that plays such a huge part in a record, I really like making a beat to it while it’s recorded and not just sing over a finished beat.
What’s your typical DJ set-up? I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to DJ set-ups… but ideally, I like Pioneer’s main stuff. I’m not a vinyl dude, though. I’m not too picky with what gear I’ve got when DJing and I really like playing around with what I got.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? I’m surprised at how fragile our world is. Before COVID, I had no idea this outcome was even a possibility on what a virus could do.
Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I’ve been doing a lot of Clubhouse talks together with Tudor Davies where we talk about the music business and bring on guests from the business. Speaking of DJ live sets, I’ve not done anything myself since I want to bring something fresh when it’s all over, which we’re working on. When it comes to the DJ video streams, I’ve seen quite a lot of cool ones, but I really like the ones DJ Snake and Malaa have been doing, showcasing a lot of cool more underground house music.
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Work on yourself. Find a craft and obsess with it! Improving your physical health connects close to the improvement of your mental health! And listen to great music, of course!
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
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