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 the U.K., the London-based trance talent Kolonie (aka Kane Harris).
What’s it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your time? The U.K. has been in and out of lock down since April. There has been some relaxation of restrictions, but the Prime Minister announced recently that oversees travel is now forbidden, unless essential, until June at the earliest. I’ve been spending most of my time working on new music and reading, and I’m looking forward to the gyms reopening soon, so I can start training again.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? If so, very briefly, what kind? I had some bookings lined up across Europe last year, which were either put on hold or cancelled. Thankfully, I’ve managed to cut my outgoings considerably, so I’m seeing that as a positive. I’ve also worked on several music-related projects, which have brought in some extra cash. Hopefully, the worst is now behind us and there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? I’m always trying to learn new skills, whether it be to do with mixing, marketing, or just generally how to live a better day-to-day life. I’ve been spending more time practicing the piano since lockdown and intend to carry that on when things open back up again.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? Any new releases? My latest release is “Way of Life” (Extended Mix) on Black Hole Recordings. At the start of lockdown, I decided to hold back with a lot of releases. EDM nowadays has a short shelf life and tracks seem to be forgotten after a few months due to everything being digitalized. I decided with no venues to play my music it would be best to limit my releases. This year the plan is to release consistently, ideally every four to six weeks.
In the studio, what’s your set-up? Everything I use is in the box and I don’t own any analog gear. However, that said, I do have the Waves bundle, which includes digital versions of various classic compressors, etc., which are great and, to the untrained ear, sound no different to the real thing. Logic is and has always been my go-to DAW. I did think about switching to Ableton Live last year, but couldn’t quite take to its interface. My new favorite plug-in, which I use all the time and I honestly think is a game-changer for the bedroom producer or anyone, in fact, working in a non-treated studio environment, is Reference by Mastering The Mix. It enables you to drag and drop professional-sounding mixes directly into it and compare whatever you are working on in your DAW at the same volume, which I think massively helps. You can split the track by frequency as well to really focus on the low, mid and highs. Another great plug-in I’ve started using, which I think has been out a few years now, is Trackspacer by Wavesfactory. This is a great, easy-to-use tool for cutting out certain frequencies which may be clashing. I like using it on pads, so they don’t clash with the lead sound, for example.
What’s your creation process in the studio? The Kolonie sound evolves around vocal chops… so, for me, I tend to start here. After finding a suitable vocal, I lay down the chords, then melody or bass – usually in that order. I have 10 or so go-to kick drums, which I tend to use in all of my tracks and so far they’ve not let me down. I tend to bounce around when working on a track. For example, if I get stuck writing a bassline, I might work on the drums or lead or vice versa.
What’s your typical DJ set-up? Standard CDJs from Pioneer and either a Pioneer DJM or Allen & Heath mixer. I learned to mix on vinyl and a set of cheap belt-drive turntables before saving up enough money to buy some Technics 1210s. But today it’s much easier and practical to DJ with USBs – hence, that’s why I do.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? To value your own time and to utilize it much better.
Have you done anything online recently? Have you seen any DJ video streams that impressed you? I’ve done a few live-streams to tie in with different releases. One was to support my track, “Inception,” which was out last year on Cosmic Gate’s label, Wake Your Mind. Another one was with the Gallery Club, who is a promoter based in London at the Ministry of Sound, where I was playing regularly pre-COVID, along with Luminosity beach festival in Holland where I was booked to play last year. Facebook has made it harder to do live-streams and it’s almost impossible to play a set without at least one track being flagged up by their algorithm. I see that David Guetta recently did a live-stream on-top of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah Hotel in Dubai. It looked incredible. I can’t see anyone topping that!
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? D:Ream’s “Things Can Only Get Better.”
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Read more. Avoid excess social media and exercise regularly. Try to stick to a routine where possible and avoid negative people.
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
DJ Times Magazine is copyright © 2021 by DJ Publishing, Inc. www.djtimes.com