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 South Florida, the Miami-based electronic talent LouCii (aka Louay Kouncar).
What’s it like where you’re living? How did you spend most of your time? Florida was one of the hardest-hit states in the U.S. with the COVID-19 pandemic. We had to deal with lockdowns just like most of the U.S. did. I spent the majority of my time in my studio working on new tracks for my upcoming album, Back2BassX.
Did you lose important gigs, or income-producing work? I have been taking time off from playing gigs to focus on my albums and record label in 2021. Luckily for me, I was not financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but I know a lot of my colleagues were. So I tried to help those in need as much as I could by mixing/mastering their songs and allowing them to use my studio for free.
Are you doing anything now that can or will produce music-related income? Have you learned anything in the downtime? I never stopped working on new music since I was 8-years old. I already have a catalog of over 100 new tracks in many genres in EDM. I really do not follow the “genre labeling” of my music as I am a multi-genre, multi-language producing artist/DJ. I call my music NGDM – Next Generation Dance Music. There is not one day that passes without me learning something new. The day I stop learning is the day I die.
What are you doing now that’s ultimately constructive to your music life/career? For example, any releases during this period? I am getting ready to drop my first album of 2021 titled Back2BassX that includes at least 15 or 16 tracks. I am still trying to make that final decision. I am also done with the remixes for the first single from the album, “Serenity,” and we should see that drop soon.
In the studio, what’s your set-up? I go way back. My first-ever studio was set up in Rockville, Md., when digital audio was only available with Pro Tools at the time. I used Performer for MIDI that later became Digital Performer when MOTU introduced audio/hard disk recording capability. My first studio ran an HD3 Pro Tools system and had lots of gear/synth such as Novation Supernova II Pro X and the Access Virus C, to name a few. Fast forward to the last decade, I relocated my studio to Miami, and now I work totally in the box. I own pretty much every DAW and I work with all of them in one way or another. For example, I might start working on a new track in FL Studio, and then use Pro tools to do my audio editing before bringing the stems back into Ableton Live for few other edits before I finish the track, or I could use Logic or Studio One’s built-in synth/loops to come up with an idea before I drop it back into Pro Tools for mixing and mastering. Every music style I produce tends to favor a certain DAW for the final mix and master, as it gives a certain character for that particular style.
Favorite plug-ins? I have tons of favorite plug-ins, but you will always find those in all my productions. They include Kickstart, LFO Tool, iZotope Ozone, Cytomic The Glue compressor, Slate Digital FG-X, all FabFilter plug-ins, Waves S1 imager, ArtsAcoustic Reverb and T-Racks Classic Multiband Limiter.
What’s your creation process in the studio? As I produce in many genres, I really don’t follow a certain process. Sometimes you see me start with the bass. Another time, I might have a melody in my head, so I build a drop, and sometimes audio loops can give me a starting point for a new song. I just like to have fun and the result is good music all the time.
What’s your typical DJ set-up? When I started my DJ career, I used the Technics SL-1200s turntables as all my music was mainly vinyl imports. Then Denon introduced the DN-2500F dual CD player which allowed me to play CDs and decreased the number of records I take to the club. I guess you can imagine how much easier the DJ experience has become today. Technology made it so much easier for anyone to be able to mix songs, so I can really use any DJ setup available at a venue, regardless of the brand. But almost every venue uses some kind of [Pioneer DJ] CDJ players and DJM mixers, as those have become the standard for many years now.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve realized during this period of social distancing? In all honesty, I was isolating myself into the studio even before the pandemic hit. That was the only way for me to be focused on building my music catalog. Sometimes, artists need to be isolated from the world to be able to focus on their music and it just happened that COVID-19 hit at the same time.
Have you done anything online recently? I am currently working on a weekly radio show called “LouCii’s PlayHouse” that will air in the USA and Europe and we are in talks to get it on other stations all over the world. In addition to producing my own tracks, I also produce music videos, promos, and visual effects. I also run my label and deal with the business side of things in addition to my personal life. With only 24 hours in the day, I can barely finish my daily tasks. Sometimes, when I sit to eat, I scan through social media quickly to see what’s new in audio, video, and any interesting stories about the music industry. That is pretty much all the time I have for now.
Any theme tunes recommended for the moment? I’ll go with LouCii’s “Alive.”
Any advice on staying sane & relatively positive through this situation? Keep on fighting. That is the advice I give to anyone in the music industry. This is a very tough industry and only the strong survive. Make a “to-do list,” even when you know what you will do for the day. You will feel very positive at the end of the day when you start crossing things off as “done.”
To check out more Life in Lockdown interviews, click here.
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